Room Temperature Beer Is Good For One Thing - Making The Best Bread

We all know that beer is at its best when it's ice cold. However, room-temperature beer does have one very specific purpose: making the best beer bread.

When it comes to making beer bread, a common mistake is taking the beer out of the fridge, then adding it right to the batter. If you add cold beer directly into the batter, the melted butter may seize up and cause the emulsion to break, ultimately leading to a lumpy, uneven batter. Emulsifying simply refers to mixing two ingredients that don't naturally combine, such as fat and water. With beer bread, this undesirable emulsification includes the butter and the beer (which mostly consists of water). Room temperature ingredients are a surefire way to ensure that the emulsion is successful. 

Room-temperature beer also helps the bread rise in the oven. You may have heard that beer bread doesn't need to rise. This refers to the fact that beer bread doesn't include yeast, unlike many other beers. Beer bread doesn't need yeast because the beer itself contains yeast and, in combination with another leavening agent (such as baking soda), there isn't any need for extra yeast. The bread will rise without it. The emulsion process also contributes to the rise as it traps air, which expands in the oven to form the fluffy texture of the bread or pastry.

What type of beer should you use for beer bread?

Now that we know that the beer needs to be room temperature, there's one key question to address; what type of beer should be used for beer bread? Really, it comes down to personal preference. Lighter beers, such as lagers or pilsners, are fairly mild in flavor, so this is a good pick if you don't want an overwhelming beer flavor in the bread. Light beers will also provide a bit of a yeasty flavor that you wouldn't get otherwise. If your favorite type of beer is an IPA, you can certainly choose to use that, but just keep in mind that IPAs are quite bitter, which may not be what you want for your bread. Finally, if you want to make an Irish beer bread, you'll want to use a stout, such as Guinness, which will give the bread a bit of a molasses flavor.

Your choice of beer also depends on what type of beer bread you want to make. A flavored version, such as a cheddar beer bread, will likely work much better with a lighter beer because of its more subtle taste than something with a more pronounced flavor, such as a stout beer.