Eat Your Beer

Beer is liquid bread. They discovered it in Ancient Mesopotamia, when someone was grinding barley (some sources claim it was wheat), and the rain started. That “someone” ran into the house, got busy with other household chores, and forgot about the unfinished job. A few days later, she happened to walk by that place (yes, it was a “she” – most sources agree on this), and a new enticing smell wafted from the forgotten clay bowl with almost-ground grain. An intrepid adventurer, she picked up a straw, stuck it into the bowl (good thing she did, since it was full of all kinds of debris), and sucked.

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Perhaps she was Ninkasi, the Sumerian goddess of beer, or maybe one of the lesser deities (they had a bunch in that region, you know), but the poem Hymn to Ninkasi contains not only the requisite praises, but also an actual beer recipe http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/section4/tr4231.htm. Beer became a staple in Mesopotamian diet; I would venture a guess that the entire civilization might have perished because of everyone being perpetually drunk. Another famous poem, Inanna and the God of Wisdom, reveals the dangers of intoxication, as the two deities are drinking beer together, as depicted on numerous clay tablets, and Enki, “Mr Wisdom,” gets so drunk that he blurts out the sacred MEH – laws of civilization (https://www.jamieoliver.com/features/baking-beer-bread).

Ancient Egyptians had their own deity connected to beer – Hathor, the goddess of music, laughter, the sky, and gratitude. An inscription at Hathor’s temple reads “The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with beer” (I have many friends who could relate to that!). However, just as in Mesopotamia, beer brewing was a female trade. Records state that the builders of pyramids were issued beer three times a day, as a part of their rations. Do we have any volunteers to go build pyramids? Anyway, when Cleopatra, who had instituted the first beer tax in the world (clever administrator as she was!) brought her fondness of beer to Rome, the Romans tasted it, collectively pronounced “Meh…” and continued drinking wine. Disappointed, Cleopatra went back to Egypt, and we all know what happened to her.

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From that point in time, beer and bread, even though they are brothers, have parted ways. The Mediterranean world stayed with wine, but the Celtic people took to beer like to mother’s milk. Let’s not forget, however, that beer as liquid bread has started with Hymn to Ninkasi, the first recorded beer recipe in the world, and Ninkasi herself starts by making beer bread:

Ninkasi, it is you who bake the beerbread in the big oven,

and put in order the piles of hulled grain.

Beer Bread 1.jpgTo make my variation of beer bread, you need only three ingredients: flour (I use spelt, which for our purposes is gluten free, but if you have an allergy to gluten or a caeliac disorder, please ask your physician), agave syrup, and beer (duh!). My son, who travels to Dublin on business frequently, has informed me that beer bread requires Guinness Stout; it’s a law in Ireland. As I don’t know the first thing about  beers, I trust my son.

Beer Bread 3.jpg

Dump all this into a bowl without ceremony and do what Ninkasi did:

… handle the dough with a big shovel, mixing, in a pit,

the beerbread with sweet aromatics.

Unless you make beer bread for the entire Mesopotamian region, you don’t need a big shovel; regular mixing spoon will suffice.

Beer Bread 4

Shove it in the oven for 30 minutes, and divine aroma wafting throughout the house will make it a challenge to wait for your delectable, soft, sweet and nutty bread to be topped with your favorite spread, while still hot. Feel free to give it to children, as it is not alcoholic. Why? Because alcohol bakes off, so you can eat your beer safely.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups flour (white, whole wheat, or gluten)
  • 1 bottle of Guinness (or any other stout beer of your choice)
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup

PROCEDURE

  • Preheat oven to 325 F. Mist loaf pan with oil.
  • Mix ingredients thoroughly, pour dough in pan.
  • Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, check doneness by inserting toothpick in the center.
  • Cool in pan until easily inverted.

Enjoy!

 

59 Comments Add yours

  1. tidalscribe says:

    Thanks, another good story from the past. When we emigrated to Western Australia in the 1960s, the way to earn big money was to leave your family in the city and go ‘Up North’. There was no way Mum would have let Dad go and no way he would have wanted to. Good money because it was tough and very hot. There was a beer allowance to make sure the men did not get dehydrated!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for contributing to my research; I would’ve never imagined that beer would be made a part of rations in our days!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. randyjw says:

    Yum. I like beer-infused recipes. I just ate some kettle-cooked beer and cheese flavored chips; they tasted Meh, by the way, and didn’t agree with me. But, I like the beer/cheese combo. I bet your bread would be great as a grilled cheese. Oh, man, oh, man, oh, man…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It probably would be, as it takes easily to any topping, sweet or savory, but I have to stay off cheese, unfortunately. My pancreas doesn’t like it.
      I had this bread with jam or with chocolate syrup (are you surprised?), while my husband had it with my olive tapenade or with homemade hummus. Both versions worked.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. ren says:

    Wonderful info, history and great recipe!
    Like you, I know nothing about beer and will have fun experimenting with different beers in this recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let me know how it turns out with different beers, darling!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ren says:

        It’ll be a few months before I will be able to attempt this, (right now, I have no kitchen)….and I will bounce over here and let you know the results, for sure!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am sorry to hear you have no kitchen, darling! I cannot imagine surviving without the ability to cook, even if it is by campfire.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. ren says:

        (Forgive, I said that wrong) I am one of several boarders in this family’s home. (renting unused rooms is a ‘thing’ here in Cali) Yes, I have kitchen privileges and can cook my meals. But fun time baking and doing what I want to do in a kitchen does not happen here. Too many people for one kitchen. And THAT is all changing right now! Many beautiful changes are ahead for my son and I. Yay!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Your situation is challenging, but it still isn’t as it used in be in communal apartments in soviet Russia, where in my friend’s apartment, for example, the kitchen was equipped with 4 stoves, 4 burners each, to be used by 18 families. There were some nasty people who would shear a dirty shoe brush into someone else’s soup, to chase them off a burner.
        I wish your and your son best of luck, dear Ren, and I pray for you every day! His Kindness is without bounds!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. ren says:

        Ah. Yes. You are right about our situation being ‘small’ in comparison. And that is one of the Life’s Principles. When you think you have it rough, just look around and you WILL find others, much less fortunate.

        Thank you for sharing another perspective of what could be. Oh and what an experience of your friend’s kitchen. I am blessed for what I have.

        My son and I are surrounded by a bubble of His Kindness and are grateful each and every new now moment. We are blessed to be in this warm and loving home.

        Prior to being here, we had no stove for a month as we traveled west from MI, while living in a GMC Jimmy. And as ‘rough’ as that may have been, we ALWAYS were shown others who had much less. We had little food or sometimes no food and could still feel His Kindness all around us. We are forever grateful.

        I look forward to our virtual tea time, Dolly and thank you for your daily prayers. We are about to embark on another adventure of the ‘unknown’ as we move away from this communal home, into our own home. Stay tuned! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I am well aware of your adventures and misadventures, dear Ren, and I am always amazed at your resilience and the warmth of your soul, regardless of all the challenges.
        I wish you and your son the best in your upcoming move. I pray that your new home is full of His Light and Kindness, a blessed joyful place.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. ren says:

        Ah, true, you have been with me a long while. Thank you for your compliments. I am growing from my rookie days into bigger and betters.

        My dear sweet Dolly, I thank you for your blessings. And may your days ahead be blessed with an ever-working oven. Hugz

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Thank you, darling; you are precious! Amen!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A_Boleyn says:

    I’ve made beer bread in the past but the recipe always included some sort of leavening … baking powder (or baking soda). Does your beer have any still living yeast settled on the bottom of the bottle? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sure it did, as I ran across the street and bought fresh extra stout. I was contemplating trowing in a pinch of baking powder, but I don’t know the first thing about beer, and my son, who has a micro-brewery as a hobby, assured me that fresh beer would leaven on its own. I was ready to throw away the first batch and start a new one with baking powder, but it worked beautifully on the first try.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A_Boleyn says:

        I don’t think any of the beer I’ve ever had was THAT ‘alive’. 🙂 I’d go with the baking powder.

        I recently tried an ‘artisan’ beer bread … baked in a dutch oven like a sourdough … but I think I prefer just drinking my beer straight. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. De gustibus non est disputandum, dear friend! In my mind, beer goes only with “taran’ka” (Russian dried salty fish), and “Taran’ka” is not good without beer. It’s Batman and Robin or Dracula and his cape…
        Whatever works for you, but I am happy that mine came out very well without any additional leavening agent. Next try will be in Boston, with my son’s homemade beer – let’s see how that works!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this! I’m always amazed by your recipes AND backstories! 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, darling; you are so sweet!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure always!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I usually make savory beer bread, but love the idea of making a sweet one. Will give it a try next time I’m in the mood for beer bread! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Ronit! That was also my son’s idea. He didn’t like the savory beer bread he had in Ireland, and he heard about a sweet one, but never had a chance to taste it. I promised to bake it for him next time I go to Boston.
      P.S. I am trying to get rid of chometz in the house! Don’t like to throw things away needlessly.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s been a long time since i’ve baked beer bread, it is so good i have to remedy that soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is the first time I made it, dear Mimi, and now I’ll be making it all the time, because my husband loved it!

      Like

  8. Love this!! Shabbat shalom (a bit early)! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Jen! Shabbat Shalom!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow this is history in all her true essence and it was just amazing, Dolly. Too good and what a bread it must be awesome. Thanks so much for this wonderful share. Loved the post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for a lovely comment, dear Kamal; I am so glad you enjoyed my post.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Welcome Dolly it was awesome.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I hadn’t known tis history of beer, and had forgotten the film I saw on the big screen more than half a century ago. Thanks, Dolly

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Derrick. Life acquires a whole new meaning when we start measuring time by centuries, rather than years or decades; I do that as well, of course.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, darling!

      Like

  11. What a wonderful posting. Heared about the origination of beer in the past, but never something related to a goddess. Here in the village since some years are local private brewers again. But i prefer more Guinness. 😉 Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment, Michael! I am not a beer drinker, but my son has a micro-brewery at home as a hobby. I promised him that next time I visit, I’ll bake bread with his beer.
      He claims that different kinds of beer lend different taste to bread, which makes sense.

      Like

  12. lghiggins says:

    A 3 ingredient bread! I love the simplicity of this recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Linda; I am glad you like it! However, as I don’t know anything about beers, I was told that ether the beer has to be young – whatever that means! – or you have to add some baking powder. I guess I was lucky with “young” beer, and we’ll see what happens on the second try.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. lghiggins says:

    I have no idea what that means either. I hope it works out for you next time too!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Christy B says:

    I learned about the link between Cleopatra and beer – who knew?!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They say she was practically an alcoholic – would you believe?!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Reblogged this on koolkosherkitchen and commented:

    Today everybody is talking about Luck o’the Irish and baking soda bread. I couldn’t resist temptation to make my contribution by repeating another famous Irish recipe, beer bread. Enjoy, Beuatiful People!

    Like

  16. Dolly, do you carry all of this information around in your head? This is so much fun to read 😀

    One of my teachers from Pardes in Jerusalem makes beer bread – it’s very good!

    Yours,
    David

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What size do you think my head is? LOL
      I have always considered history the most fascinating reading in the world, so yes, some of it I know off hand, but I still research to verify information. Most of the time it takes me to produce a post is spent researching, and I usually cite sources.
      I am glad my post has elicited good memories, David. Thank you for commenting!
      Be well and stay safe,
      D

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Mmmm…I love beer bread. And Guinness

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Go for it, darling! Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

      Like

  18. CarolCooks2 says:

    It looks delicious, Dolly and yes Guinness is the beer to use for Irish bread…The bread I could eat the Guinness I was forced to drink a glass of this every night by my mother in law when I was breastfeeding my son and she stood over me to make sure I drunk it…That was the last time I drunk Guinness but in bread I would give it a go 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You were forced to drink beer while breastfeeding? What about the “no-alcohol” rule?
      I see some comments that I should’ve used green beer, so I asked my son, the beer expert. He workls for a complany whose headquarters are in Ireland, so he travels there 2 – 3 times a year. He said that green beer does exist, but it is imperative to use Guinness for making bread. The bread is light, moist, fluffy, and very tasty.

      Like

      1. CarolCooks2 says:

        Apparently it made for better milk.. A glass of stout albeit it wasn’t a pint glass.. Just a small one… The bread looked lovely.. X

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Brewer’s yeast does make for better milk, as well as many other health benefits, and now it is sold as a nutritional supplement, but in the 70’s, when I was post-op, my father would buy it smuggled from a beer plant, and I was made to drink it – the yuckiest thinkg you can imagine!
        I would think your mother-in-law simply didn’t have access to brewer’s yeast.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. BERNADETTE says:

    Well this is pretty interesting and, as always, enjoyed the history lesson.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Bernadette.

      Like

  20. :-)) With Guiness always delicious! :-))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Michael.
      Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

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