Let me tell you: this was a real journey.
Hey y’all, my name is Pernell and I don’t usually do anything for St. Patrick’s Day because well, I’m not Irish — I know that’s hard to believe. But I recently came across this $3 beer bread mix from Trader Joe’s that they put out for the green holiday, so I figured I’d try it out.
The only ingredients you need with the mix, according to the box, is beer and butter. Any beer should suffice, though my local Trader Joe’s was kind enough to put the beer bread mix next to their recommended $7 Guinness stout beer.
While you only need the bread mix, 12 oz. of beer, and half a stick of melted butter, it’s optional to also throw in shredded cheese as well. I appreciated that not much was needed, because I don’t enjoy cooking and my cupboard is bare.
While waiting for the oven to pre-heat to 350°F, I got started on prepping the bread. First, I poured the excess Guinness into a separate glass because I only needed 12 oz. of beer and had bought a 16 oz. can.
Next, I poured the 12 oz. of beer I needed into a larger bowl that I would mix all of the ingredients, which again, is only three things.
Then I poured the beer bread mix into the beer. And for a brief moment in time, I felt like a chef. I remembered I was literally dumping unbleached flour (among other things) out of a box.
And then I mixed it all together and got the best of both worlds — oops! I mean a moistened bread dough. I was very careful to not over-mix the bread, because according to the box, it’s meant to be a little lumpy. This was easy because I mixed it all with a fork.
Okay, so this next step I would later regret: I added the shredded vegan cheese. If you’d like to use cheese in your own beer bread, I’d recommend shredding the cheese yourself or cutting the strips into smaller pieces.
Here’s what the dough looked like before I transferred it into a loaf pan and added the melted butter.
I transferred the dough into a cute little glass loaf pan. And then I melted half a stick of butter in a cup, and poured it into the pan. I pretended to not see the random strips of cheese.
As you can tell, I was totally pleased with how it looked. The oven was hot and ready, the dough was moist and buttered, and I was unimpressed and over it. That’s part of the process.
I slipped my new friend into the oven, set my microwave timer for 50 minutes, and prayed to Liza Minnelli that the dough would look better when it’s done.
Then, I waited. I contemplated my life choices. I was happy. I was sad. Most of all, I was hungry. I tried a bit of the dough. It was savory.
I checked it halfway through, and I’ll be honest, it didn’t look super promising. The dough looked lumpy, sandy, and like it was drowning in butter. At least it was rising.
I’m so glad I waited though, because when I pulled the beer bread out of the oven…she looked crisp. She was cooked. She also had random strips of cheese on top, but I chose to look past it (and so can you).
I wanted to make the bread a bit more presentable, so I struggled with a spatula for a bit to scoop it out of the clear dish without breaking it. When it did come out, I gasped.
My beer bread, that I made by myself because I was now a professional chef, looked immaculate. I then sliced it with a knife, because beauty shouldn’t last forever. It broke intro crumbs and I immediately noticed the inside was dense and moist. This was a good mix!
And finally, it was my time to taste it. I sliced a piece of the $3 beer bread and took a bite. It was chewy and mostly savory, with a hint of malt. It had a toasted earthiness to it. I couldn’t taste the beer, but it definitely added to the bread’s aroma. The edges as predicted, were the best part — butter will do that for you. But overall…it was just okay. I mean, it’s bread.
So here are my final thoughts: It’s worth the $3 price tag. It’s hearty, it’s filling. It’s perfect to have on the table if you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with booze. I would recommend using a cheaper beer though, or whatever you already have. And if you don’t drink alcohol, opt for another carbonated (and cheaper) beverage.
What are some other Trader Joe’s products you’d like me to try out? Let me know in the comments!