Everyone is hearing about the coronavirus, and, of course, Corona beer is not having any of it. Maybe they’ll try renaming it, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. I’m going to assume that you probably know that a coronavirus isn’t called that because of the beer. It’s called that because of the Latin term for ‘crown,’ which the virus looks like.
Fun fact though: did you know that lagers–and especially Corona–are one of the best beers to make bread with? It’s because a lager is a sugar-filled, very yeasty beer that fluffs up the dough that it works with. In beer, yeast is the agent that turns sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide, which is the same creation process that produces its doughy friend, bread.
I know all this because I’m a home brewer and have made multiple beers in my lifetime, as well as drunk and used a few in some signature dishes. I’ve also tried baking beer bread using different types, especially since I’ve been lucky enough to have other brewer friends bring their wares over to sample and judge, often leaving a few behind. After a while, I found myself with a ton of leftover home brews from friends. If the taste of the donated beer seemed a little off, I wrote down what I guessed the beer to be, and then baked a small loaf of bread with it.
Brown ales make for a very malty taste in bread. Pale ales would make for good pizza dough. Belgian wits are just nasty, as they’ve gone bad after a few weeks, due to the different sugars present within the liquid (or solution, if we really want to get science-y). But lagers? Because of the higher amount of carbonation in this type of beer, and it’s general lack of a strong flavor, they’re good for baking bread.
But don’t forget you need a leavening agent, such as baking soda (or in my recipe, powder) to make the bread expand. Otherwise, the yeast and flour combination will make the mixture clump together, no matter how carbonated your Corona Light might be.
Rule of thumb for the scientist/baker/brewer: if a recipe calls for an agent to give a starchy material (such as flour or panko crust) some rise, it’ll probably taste pretty good and give your food an extra bit of fluffiness if you use beer. This is a combination of the yeast and carbonation mixing with the flour. But be wary: certain beers are best paired with certain dishes. I’ve made both a Guinness chocolate cake and a Guinness chocolate waffle, but due to the stout’s rich taste and lack of carbonation, I would never use it in a bread.
Here’s my very simple recipe. Enjoy!
Recipe for Corona Beer Bread:
1 bottle of Corona beer
2 cups of regular flour
1.5 cups of cake flour*
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
- Mix all ingredients together, including the beer.
- Cover the bowl with a wet cloth for 10-15 minutes. You could use some of the bajillions of paper towels you got from the panicked buying at Costco like the rest of America, but let’s be eco-conscious and use something that can be re-used, like a tea towel or your Pi-Day Run shirt from 2018.
- Put it in a well-greased bread pan. I like to use butter myself, but any fat agent will do.
- Put it in the oven at 375 degrees F for 60 minutes
- Take the bread out of the oven, and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes. Once it’s done, cut up and slather it with what-have-you. I love mine with butter and honey along with my morning coffee, or dipped into hot soup.
*You can use 1 cup regular flour, but mixing cake flour instead gives the bread a bit more rise, and makes it less dense as well.
Disclaimer: This is not a paid advertisement for Corona Beer, but hey, if ya’ll wanna throw some dollars at me I wouldn’t mind!
Kristen Vogt Veggeberg, Ph.D., is a science educator and content writer based in Chicago. Find her on Twitter @KrisVeeVee.