Cherry Berry Beer Bread

Last week, the lovely Jaymee Sire posted a recipe for Oatmeal Cherry Chocolate Banana Bread. There are only a few foods that make me instantly buckle and go weak in the knees, and one of them is freshly baked bread. Especially banana bread. My mom used to bake it all the time when I was younger. (Plus, we're all aware of my love for bananas by now, right?)

I rummaged through my kitchen to collect the ingredients for this latest E is for Eat creation, but I was saddened to realize...I was out of oatmeal and chocolate chips, and Jacquelyn ate the last of the bananas. Another time, O.C.C.B.B., another time. But now I couldn't let go of this craving for freshly baked bread. So you know what I did find?

Cherries, berries, and beer.

I thought back to my recipe for Pumpkinhead Bread. It's one of the easiest breads to make, and as long as you've got a bottle of beer, you're good to go. This recipe gets a Summer makeover with the addition of Blackberry Tart Ale, fresh berries, and sweet red cherries!

To review, the original dough only required flour, baking powder, salt, beer, and some form of sweetener (sugar, honey, etc.).

After pouring on some melted butter and baking at 350 degrees, that dough becomes a soft, delectable bread with a crunchy crust. You can serve it in place of rolls at the dinner table or use it to soak up any of your favorite soups.

For this version, I used Blue Moon's Blackberry Tart Ale.

Have you ever walked into a BevMo and been greeted with the huge display of seasonal beers? (Those boxes get built into some serious fortresses...pretty hard to ignore.) A couple of weeks ago, the Summer sampler from Blue Moon was on sale and it came with a Blue Moon-San Francisco Giants pint glass. Sold the second I saw it. Flash forward to where we are now, in bread-making mode, and this Blackberry Tart Ale was the last of the bottles. It's not too sweet, with a tart finish, making it an ideal pairing for the cherries and berries.

I recently bought a bag of cherries and a basket of blueberries from Pedrick Produce. They added beautiful color and flavor to this bread, and that little pop of juicy fruit in every bite makes for a bright surprise.

Whenever I drive from Sacramento to the Bay Area and vice versa, Pedrick Produce is always on my list of stops during the summertime. It's right off of I-80 and conveniently next to a gas station. More importantly, Pedrick Produce has so much to choose from. (There's an entire wall of shelves dedicated to hot sauces, too.) If you love markets and produce stands as much as I do, this bread is a great way for you to use up seasonal beer and fruit in one easy recipe.

Simply add the fruit to the bowl of dry ingredients, and lightly toss to coat.

Make a well in the center of the bowl, and pour in a whole bottle of beer.

Then, fold all of the ingredients together just until combined. The dough will look lumpy, so don't worry about putting in too much elbow grease to work it smooth.

Pour a couple of tablespoons of melted butter in the bottom of a loaf pan, and pour the dough in right from the mixing bowl. Gently spread the dough out to fit the pan, then top it with the remaining tablespoons of melted butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. The bread will almost double in volume, and the top will be golden-brown and crisp.

After baking, immediately transfer the loaf to a cooling rack. Let it cool slightly for about 10 minutes.

Once you do slice into it, the inside is moist and studded with the red and purple of the cherries and berries. The outside is buttery and crunchy, and the small bits of fruit poking out have slightly caramelized. But, before you start to expect something exactly like a banana bread or even similar to a pound cake, I'll have to dissuade you.

There is an irresistible aroma of butter and earthy yeast that fills the kitchen, and there is no mistaking what freshly baked fare just came out of the oven. Bread. Chewy, crusty, yummy bread. It's not overly sweet or dessert-like at all. Serve this loaf alongside vinaigrette salads, make roasted turkey or chicken sandwiches, and even top it with your favorite brie or triple-creme cheeses. Enjoy it all Summer long! :)

Cherry Berry Beer Bread (makes 1 9" x 5" loaf)

Print Recipe

2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup Bread Flour
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Fine Sea Salt
3 tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Chopped Fresh Blueberries or Blackberries
1/3 cup Chopped Fresh Cherries
1 12-oz bottle Blackberry Tart Ale (*Or a berry-flavored ale of your choice)
4 tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. Whisk together to blend well and to break up any large clumps of brown sugar. Next, add the chopped berries and cherries. Toss to coat the fruit, then make a well in the center of the bowl. Pour in the beer, and fold all of the ingredients together with a spatula just until combined. (The dough will be lumpy.)
  3. To prepare the loaf pan, pour half of the melted butter into a 9" x 5" pan and spread it on the bottom. Add the dough, and spread it out to fit the pan. Finally, pour the remaining half of the melted butter right over the top of the dough.
  4. Bake for 50-55 minutes at 350 degrees. The bread will almost double in volume, and the top of the loaf should be golden brown and crisp. After baking, immediately transfer the loaf to a cooling rack. Cool slightly for at least 8-10 minutes before slicing.
  5. Serve warm or room temperature. Enjoy!