“You have to try this beer. ”
“It’s only 7:30 in the morning. I think it’s a little early for that.”
“Well, I didn’t mean you have to try it this instant. It’ll still be here later. But you really do have to try some. ”
We open the refrigerator door.
“Pyramid Apricot Ale? I used to live pretty close to their brewery, although I’ve never had that flavor before. It actually sounds really good.” Pause, in which the bottle is examined. “I bet I could make some really great bread with that beer.”
This – more or less – is how I decided to make beer bread this week. In fact, it is very similar to the way I am inspired into making many things. A lot of refining happens in between the initial idea and the finished product, of course, but it all happens relatively quickly.
This bread, too, happens quickly. It takes only two minutes to stir it together before going into the oven. Once it is baked, you end up with an absolutely fantastic loaf that smells and tastes like it took hours to put together, not just seconds. It has a very light texture, somewhere between a standard “sandwich bread” and a soda bread, that gives it versatility, too. For instance, the texture is light enough that it could be used for a sandwich bread, as well as simply eaten on its own, which cannot be said for most quick breads, since they tend to be a little on the dense side.
The most remarkable thing about the bread is the yeasty taste that it gets from the beer. It is a flavor that usually only comes from repeated proofing of sponges and doughs, and even then, those types of loaves still take a lot of skill and precision to turn out properly. The addition of some sweetness from sugar and dried apricots keeps the yeast flavor from being overwhelming, as well as providing the additional bonus of making this loaf a good choice for both breakfast (toasted, with butter and/or jam) and dinner (untoasted, with butter and/or dipped in soup).
Apricot Beer Bread
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp vegetable oil
12-oz apricot beer (such as Pyramid Apricot Ale)
1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
In a very large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and add in vegetable oil and beer. Mix. Stir just until no streaks of flour remain, then quickly mix in dried apricots and pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed. Loaf should be light or medium gold.
Turn out of the pan and allow the bread to cool on a wire rack before slicing.
When cool, store in an airtight container.
Makes 1 loaf