I love baking. It's usually relaxing for me. Measuring out the ingredients and mixing them together is satisfying. When it's time to pour the mixture into the pan, I smile knowing soon we'll have some yummy for our tummies.
Today I decided to bake some bread. Normally this time of year, I bake my delicious sourdough bread, but today I was in a hurry. I hadn't kept my sourdough starter going since we moved, so I'd have resort to my next favorite - beer bread.
Now don't freak out! I'm not an alcoholic, it's just a quick and easy way to make bread without the hassle of using yeast and allowing for a first and second rise. The alcohol in the beer cooks out so you can't taste it. I'm not lying, it's true. Try it yourself and see.
It's a quick and yummy bread that can be zazzed up or eaten plain. Normally, we eat it plain, but sometimes, I add garlic and shredded cheddar or herbs. There are a variety of ways to use this recipe.
Bread is filling. It can also be comforting if eaten while still warm from the oven with a big bowl of homemade vegetable soup or some chili. Since we're having company for dinner, I thought a hearty loaf of bread along with soup would hit the spot.
Everytime I bake bread, I think about the Bible. Bread was a staple back then, just as it is today. Although their breads were vastly different than ours, they were an important part of every meal.
All through Scripture, Jesus talks about bread. Just use a concordance and you'll find many references. My favorite one is found in the book of John-
"Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." John 6:35
Jesus knew the people could relate to bread so gave them a visual picture of what He was explaining. He wanted them to understand that if they'd allow Him to be all they needed, they'd never be hungry for anything - either physically or spiritually. I love that!
The smell of the baked bread is wafting through the kitchen. Even though I've taken the bread out of the oven and have the loaves on cooling racks, the wonderful aroma fills the house reminding me that my bread is nothing compared to the Bread of Life.
Jesus is all we need, every single day. I'm so thankful He has made provision for not only our flesh but more importantly, our spirits.
If you'd like to try my quick, crusty beer bread, here's the recipe:
3 cups King Arthur Self-Rising Flour
1 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, to taste
4 tablespoons butter, melted, divided*
1 1/2 cups beer or (you can use plain seltzer water if you don't want to use the beer. You can also use Sprite if you want a sweeter bread.)
*Substitute 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for the butter in the batter and omit the butter topping to make a vegan version.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.
Mix the flour, sugar, 3 tablespoons of the melted butter, and the beer, stirring until fairly smooth; don't worry about a scattering of small lumps.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter.
Bake the bread for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted about 1/2" into the top of the loaf comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out onto a rack to cool.
Wait until the bread cools completely before slicing. Store airtight at room temperature.