When I was a small child, I joined one of those “Cookbook of the Month Clubs.” I wasn’t cognizant of the fact that it was basically a scam, but I did get to choose 6 different cookbooks for one dollar a piece. One of the books I selected was a bread making book. Boy oh boy, was I stoked to get that book. 8 year old me was filled with visions of homemade sandwich bread and carefully crafted cinnamon rolls.

Until my mother killed my dreams.*

The issue, she explained to me, was that making bread was “too labor intensive,” “finicky” and “easy to mess up.” For those reasons, and many others, I would not be making any bread in her house.

I carried this sad and listless outlook on bread making long after I reached adulthood and moved out of the house. In the past year or so, however, I’ve started dabbling in bread making. One of the earliest – and easiest – bread recipes that I have come across is this recipe for beer bread.

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This recipe is great for a number of reasons. First, I always have everything I need for it in the house. Second, it comes together quickly and bakes in the amount of time it takes to thaw and warm a container of chilli. (That is, if you do it in miniature loaves, a standard loaf takes about an hour to bake.) Finally, you can customize it however you want with different beers and various add-ins.

Ways to Customize Your Beer Bread:

I’ve made this bread hundreds of times (What? Why experiment with something if I can keep churning out a pristine product?) using all sorts of flavor combinations. Here are a few that I’ve enjoyed best:

  • Sam Adams Cherry Wheat Beer with Dried Cherries. (This particular beer tastes like Faygo mixed with Coors Light, so nobody actually likes to drink it. It goes well with the bread though.)
  • Cheap beer (think Natty Lite) with Italian seasoning and garlic butter poured over the top.
  • Guinness with onion powder. It sounds weird. It is weird. It tastes good.
  • An India Pale Ale with golden raisins.
  • And so many more!

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And look! It goes great with chilli!

*She always told me that “one day [I’d] find a reason to take her on Geraldo.” Where you at, man? I want to talk about how my mother quashed my artisanal bread career before it even started!

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