This is just about the easiest sweet bread I know; it takes precious little thought to make, tastes wonderful with sweet butter or cinnamon sugar, and, as an added bonus, this bread keeps for several days. Why I have no idea. A few pointers on making this beer bread: The Guinness must be cold, the self-rising flour must be relatively fresh (like men, its rising power diminishes with age), and the loaf pan needs to be well-greased. If your self-rising flour is more than 6 months old, add a tablespoon of baking powder.
Can you sub in other beers and sweeteners? Sure. For a lighter beer bread, try using Harp and light brown sugar – it’ll still be Irish. I initially learned this recipe using Budweiser and white sugar, so your possibilities are endless. One caveat: Do not use hoppy beers such as a Pale Ale, as the bitterness will taste odd to you, unless, of course, you are into serious bitterness.
This is fantastic eaten fresh, and nearly as good the next day toasted with some more butter. Do not use stale beer for this recipe, you want the carbonation.
- 3 cups self-rising flour*
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup molasses
- A pinch of salt (roughly 1/8 teaspoon)
- 12 ounces of Guinness extra stout
- Butter for greasing the pan and painting the top, about 3 tablespoons
* If you don't have self-rising flour, you can substitute using a ratio of 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, plus 1/8 teaspoon of salt, for every cup of self-rising flour. Have made both ways though and got better results from the self-rising flour.
1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan well with butter.
2 Pour the flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl and whisk to combine.
3 Slowly pour the Guinness into the flour mixture. (The “pub cans” are larger than 12 ounces, but they have better carbonation, so I pour most of it out and leave a swig to drink. This has never failed me, but if you are a stickler, use a 12-ounce bottle of Guinness instead.) Start stirring the beer into the dry ingredients, and when you are about halfway done, add the molasses. Mix well, just to combine. Don’t work the heck out of the batter – because that’s what it’ll look like – but you don’t want lumps, either.
4 Pour into the loaf pan to no more than 2/3 full. Pop into the oven immediately and bake for 50 minutes. Since ovens can vary, check the bread after 40 minutes and see if a toothpick inserted into the deepest part of the loaf comes out clean. If it does, you’re done.
5 Let the loaf cool a bit, maybe 5 minutes, and then turn it out onto a rack. Paint it with lots of soft butter, which will melt as you go.