Easiest beer bread recipe EVER

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Ahh, beer! There’s so much to love about beer: drinking it, making beer battered fish, beer can chicken, beer goggles (ok, those have a downside, I suppose), and one of my favorites, beer bread.

Have you ever been suckered into purchasing a beer bread package from one of those home tasting parties? Don’t get me wrong…I think they have good products, but I also think you should save your money for something they have that isn’t as simple as 1-2-3.

When I told my friend and fellow writer, Jeff Roush, that I thought beer might be my topic tonight because beer is just wonderful like that, he replied, “Good call! I agree: beer and its wonderful, versatile beerness” is a great topic. He has a delightful way of overstating the obvious.

Overstating the obvious can be fun and, since it’s free, a little excess won’t hurt–but paying extra for simplicity seems ridiculous to this down-to-earth Angel.

Here is my Grandma Tylutki’s recipe that she passed down to my mom to me. Ready? It’s unbelievably easy. Put some real butter on it while it’s still warm and pair it with a nice soup and you have simple, beautiful comfort food.

Beer Bread

3 c self-rising flour
3 T sugar
1 room temperature beer

Mix well. Use spatula to scrape into greased and floured bread pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. Remove from oven, cool on wire rack. Slice. Serve. Serve with more beer if you like.

That’s it. Isn’t that amazingly easy? Do you really want to spend $6 PLUS shipping, PLUS around a dollar for a beer? No, you do not. You read http://www.downtoearthangel.com so that means you like doing some things the old-fashioned way AND you like being frugal. It also means you are too smart to ever pay $7 or more for a loaf of beer bread that you still have to bake yourself and then wash the dishes!

Just in case you need some numbers to convince you of the super-duper frugality of this recipe, let’s hash it out:

A 5 lb bag of self rising flour is going to cost you somewhere between $3.00 at Walmart and $8.00 for Bob’s Red Mill. Let’s call it $5 for simple math. That will give you about 15 cups of flour. That’s enough for 5 loaves of beer bread. Your 3 cups per loaf cost $1. A beer costs about $1. An extra beer to drink while making it is another $1. But make sure that one is cold. Warm beer is good for bread, not for drinking, in my opinion. And 3 T of sugar is practically free. You can even “borrow” 9 sugar packets from the coffee shop if you’re really, really cheap.

And let’s not forget how your friends will just gasp with delight when they hear that you’ve made the bread yourself–no, not with a mix–a friend’s old family recipe. Yes, that’s right, a friend’s old family recipe, from scratch. Yup. You just scored major kitchen points, my friend, and all for about TWO BUCKS! You can spend the rest of what you would have paid for the mix on, wait for it…BEER!

You’re welcome.

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Stone Soup

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I thought of calling this “FREE SOUP” but I decided a plagiarized title might catch your eye. 🙂

Having grandparents who lived through the Great Depression can teach a girl a lot if she will only listen. Here’s something I’ve learned:

When you buy chicken, buy the whole chicken.
Roast it for dinner and save the carcass and the juices. If you’re not ready to make soup, freeze the carcass and juices. OK, they didn’t have many freezers during the Great Depression, but this blog is subtitled “Taking the best of the past for the present” so just go with me, here.

When you cut up vegetables, wash them well and save the bits, peels, and ends of carrots, celery, potatoes, and onions–even onion skins, herbs and whatever else suits your fancy. Freeze them, too.

Boil the chicken carcass with your saved vegetable peels and ends and salt for about an hour, then take it out and let it cool a bit, take all the remaining meat off the carcass and set it aside in the refrigerator. Put the bones back in the water and boil everything either in a crock pot or on low for 24-48 hours, adding water as necessary. Or, if you have a pressure cooker, you can use that instead for probably 30-45 minutes.

Pour everything out into a big bowl through a fine mesh sieve. Let it cool and then skim some or all of the fat off the top according to your taste. You can use that chicken fat to cook other things in if you like. You can give the carcass to the dog now, he won’t choke on it because the bones should be very soft. Toss the mushy, overcooked veggie peels and ends into the compost. Do not eat them. All their nutrition and flavor is now in your stock.

You now have the most fantastic broth you can imagine. It is full of gelatin. That is why it looks like chicken jello in the refrigerator. THIS is the kind of chicken stock that cures colds. Not that crappy chicken water you get in a carton or can from the grocery store.

Next, take the chicken that you’d set aside plus the prettier bits of vegetables you’ve saved and/or fresh ones. Add more salt to taste and some noodles (you can make noodles by just mixing flour with egg and a tiny bit of water, rolling it out and slicing it up) or rice and voila…almost free soup.

It’s delicious.

You’ve made a huge pot of the most nutritious soup for next to nothing, reduced your garbage output, increased the quality of your soil by composting, and given your dog a free meal.

Hooray!