Saturday, May 15, 2010

Waste Not, Want Not: Spent Grain Bread

Spent grain bread? You may be wondering what that is... Well, let me explain! As many of you know, my boyfriend Mike homebrews beer, and I have joined him several times in the beer brewing process during the past couple years. Last year we found a recipe for spent grain bread, which uses the leftover grains used to make beer. And it's sooo good! Whenever possible now, after brewing, we try to make a couple loaves of this bread so that we don't waste the the title of this post says, waste not, want not! The only problem though is that typically you might use upwards of 12 or 13 POUNDS of grains in a batch of beer, and the recipe for this bread only used 1.5 to 2 cups of grains to make two loaves. That's a lot of leftover grains still! At least we use some of them I guess? Another typical thing that brewers do with spent grain is give them to farmers to use as feed for their animals. There aren't too many farms in Boston, but maybe one of these days we'll venture out and find a farmer that could benefit from our leftover grains. :)

Now I realize that many of you might not have access to spent grain, but you are welcome to ask me for some anytime! Or, you can just read this recipe and hope that I'll make some to give to you one of these days. ;-)

Want to see a couple pictures of us brewing our delicious beer? I thought you did! Here I am, pouring out all 13 pounds of grains!!!

And here's Mike, later on in the brewing process (during the boil), checking in to make sure everything's doing what it should be! And he's making a silly face, as he often does. :-P

And here's the key bread ingredient...the GRAINS!

Next, here are the bread ingredients and instructions for ya!
-¾ cup warm water
-2 Tbsp. yeast
-¼ cup butter
-¾ cup milk
-1 cup apple juice
-¼ cup molasses
-¼ cup sugar
-1 Tbsp. salt
-1 and ½ cups ‘spent’ grain
-1 cup whole wheat flour
-4 - 5 cups white flour

Put warm water in bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let dissolve. In saucepan, melt butter with milk. After the butter is melted in milk, remove from stove and add apple juice, molasses, sugar and salt. By now the yeast should be working (foaming), add in the butter/milk mixture, and then add the spent grain and whole wheat flour.

Start to mix and add white flour gradually til the mixture is workable and does not stick to your hands. Knead dough for several minutes. Dough should not stick to your hands. Cover and let rise until it's doubled in size.

Here is the dough before I let it rise....

And woah! Like magic, it is now ginormous! (I also made this picture be larger than others to exaggerate how much it grew... ;-))

Knock back to its original size. Form two loaves and place on a sheet pan that is covered w/ parchment paper that is sprinkled with cornmeal. Brush loaves w/ egg wash, and sprinkle w/ spent grain (in addition to amount in recipe) and let rise. Bake at 325 for about 45 minutes.

As you can see here, I made one loaf in a regular loaf pan and the other I just shaped into a round loaf on a regular baking pan. This recipe makes a lot of bread!!

Here is the round loaf, fresh out of the oven! Mmmmm, I just love bread. It's such a comforting food, especially when you make it yourself!

I brought some of the finished product up to my sister's when I visited her for her recent 30th birthday...  We went on a hike together, and we ate some bread as part of our pre-hike nourishment. Yummm!

You can see my breakfast of coffee, spent grain bread with jam, and a green monster smoothie here. :) 

This is such a delicious, hearty bread. It is best served toasted, I think, with a little butter/margarine, jam, or peanut butter... I wish I could just send you some electronically so you could taste it too! One of these days technology will make that possible, I bet...or, maybe not. That's a bit of a stretch. ;-)

And here's one final pic of the master brewer, Mike, and master baker, yours truly! See you next time, friends!


  1. It is delicious; I can definitely attest to that!! Sista, I LOL'd when you made the picture bigger to exaggerate its rising, hehe. I'm sure I can find a farm(s) around here (or back home) that would love your spent grains! Let me know if you want me to investigate.

  2. Hello again from Jeannie, the Adirondack Baker! Thought this post on spent grains is very interesting! I never do breads - always baking the sweet stuff. My brother-in-law owns a beverage center and brews his own beer at home. I just might ask him to save some grains for me! Love your blog. I'll check back often!


  3. Hi Jeannie! You should talk to your brother-in-law about his spent grains... This bread is very easy and tasty! I tend to steer away from breads too, but they're so yummy. :) Thanks for stopping by! I hope your exercise program is going well. I keep up with it on your blog! I need to comment on your posts one of these days too...sorry! Talk soon. :)

  4. Oh my goodness, I'm so glad to have met you yesterday! As I read down your blog I came across this husband, Mike brews all grain, as well! I've always wanted to find something to do with those delicious smelling and tasting (yes I've tried it after it's been soaking in the mash tun) grains. Seemed like such a waste to toss them out. Can't wait to try this recipe this weekend after he brews again. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes with us!
    ~Heather Anderson (Jason's sister)