For the un-intiated, one way to make beer is to soak malt grains in water. The resulting malt-sugar laced water eventually becomes beer, but there’s lots of life left in those 10-plus pounds of spent grain.
This bread recipe, adapted from the Snappy Service Café, makes a loaf that is light and chewy with a good hearty grain texture. It toasts beautifully, and it great too for soup-pairing and sandwich making. Shape it into loaves or rounds to your liking.
Spent Grains Bread
adapted from the Snappy Service Cafe
- 1¼- 1½ cups water
- 3 tablespoons oil (coconut, light olive oil, or vegetable oil)
- 3 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup.
- 3 cups Bread or all-purpose flour, unbleached.
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups spent grain*
- 2¼ teaspoon instant yeast (rapid-rise) or one package of active dry yeast, bloomed in warm water and drop of sweetner.
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, stir with a whisk. Then add the water, oil and liquid sweetener. Stir with wooden spoon (or plop in stand mixer with dough hook.)
- When the dough comes away from the bowl without being too sticky, continue kneading with the dough hook until the dough ball is elastic and shiny, about 5-8 minutes.
- Transfer to an oil-coated bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Shape into whatever shape you want — loaf, round, rolls — cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise about another 30-40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, turn on the oven to 410 degrees. Adjust racks to middle and lowest position.
- When dough is ready, place in oven and throw a handful of ice into a metal baking pan (like 8x8 or round cake pan) and immediately but into the bottom rack. This creates steam, which gives the bread its outer crusty texture. (Putting the ice in a pan saves you from messing up your oven, and works fine in both gas and electric)
- Close the door immediately and bake for approximately 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your loaves or rolls.
- Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- It will turn rather golden brown and have a chewy eating consistency. Saves for 2 days in a sealed container, but will dry out quickly after that. Lasts a few days longer if stored wrapped or in sealed container in the refrigerator.
*You can freeze 1 cup portions and thaw as needed.
**For bread-maker machines, Snappy Service recommends using the bread cycle. After your machine stops, remove dough and start from the shaping instructions.
Spent Grains Flour
Love to bake, but maybe bread isn’t your thing? You can dry out the grains and grind them to make flour. Use it the same way you would wheat germ—add it to baked goods, breads, pancakes, even pasta. It adds a nice nutty warmth to these foods…plus fiber.
How-to, adapted from Brooklyn Brew Shop.
1. Until you’re ready to dry, store the grains covered in the refridgerator. They will sour quickly if left out.
2. Set oven on lowest setting possible, usually 170-200 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Spread out grains on clean, ungreased baking sheet in ¼” layer.
4. Place in oven and dry for about seven hours. A food dehydrator also works.
5. 4 hours (halfway) into drying, pull out grains and stir with long handled spoon or spatula.
6. Drying time depends on your oven and the environment. The spent grains are dry when you feel absolutely no moisture left.
7. Grind into flour using a coffee/spice grinder (best for small batches) or a food processor or grain mill. If using a food processor, you’ll need to keep an eye on it and stop at the desired coarseness. You can also sift it to get a finer flour.
8. Store the spent grain flour in airtight container in the pantry or refrigerator. Use as wheat germ.