Saturday, November 12, 2011

Spent Grain Bread

If you are a home brewer and are interested in how to put some of that spent grain to good use, I highly recommend trying this recipe.  It took about 30 hours from start to finish, but man, was the end result worth the wait.  The tender inside of the bread makes it great for sandwiches or spreads, and the sweet and malty spent grain really shines.  If you are not a home brewer, find a friend that is, and go ask them for some of their spent grain.  Seriously.  Right now. 

*Note that you can freeze spent grain, and then thaw it out again before using in this recipe. It’s best to bring it up to room temperature before you start baking.

1/2 tsp active dry yeast (not rapid rise)
3/4 c water (room temperature)
3/4 c spent grain from brewing, still damp and at room temperature
1 1/2 c bread flour

4 cups bread flour
1 cup water (room temperature)
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp salt

For the Sponge:
Mix the yeast into the water in a medium bowl until it’s dissolved. Mix into the flour and spent grain with a spatula and create stiff, wet dough. Cover and let the sponge sit at room temperature for at least five hours, if not overnight. I let mine sit for 24 hours.

24 hours later

For the Dough:
1. Mix the water, honey, flour, and the sponge in the bowl of a mixer, using a spatula. Mix the dough with your dough hook attachment on a slow speed for about 12 minutes, then add the salt. Continue mixing with the dough hook for another 3 minutes.

During the course of this process, the dough should be sticking to the bottom of the bowl, but easily clearing the sides. Check about halfway through by pushing the dough off the hook and seeing how it sticks to the bowl. If it’s really gluey and damp, add more flour in 1/8th cup increments, mixing between each addition. You want a dough that’s smooth and tacky but not actually glue-like.

2. Transfer your dough to a big lightly oiled bowl, and cover it with plastic wrap that’s been greased. Let it rise about two to four hours, until it has roughly tripled in size.


After about 3 hours

3. Grease three 9 x 5 inch loaf pans. Put your dough on a lightly floured surface. Working with floured hands, press it out into a rectangle, and use a bench knife to divide it into three equally sized pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a tight 9-inch cylinder and pinch the seam closed. Place the loaves, seam side down, in the prepared pans. Set each loaf into a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Cover loosely with a cloth or greased piece of aluminum foil and let the dough rise until it almost doubles in size, about 45 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, put a deep metal pan or cast-iron skillet on the lowest shelf of the oven. Heat your oven up to 450 degrees F. Heat up two cups of water (not quite to boiling) and keep it on hand for your baking cycle.

5. Cut two or three slashes on top of each loaf using a sharp serrated knife. Cut almost parallel to the top of loaf, not very deep, and without sawing or tearing. Put your loaves in the oven. Pour two cups of hot water into your pre-heated pan or skillet, to create steam.

6. Bake for 15 minutes, then, if the loaves are browning unevenly, rotate each loaf 180 degrees. Bake for another 5-10 minutes (or until tops of loaves turn dark brown) and test the temperature with an instant read thermometer — 205-210 degrees F is perfect.

7. Take your pans out, let them cool 10 minutes, then put loaves on a cooling rack for an hour or two. Voila! Serve with local honey and/or butter, or make delicious little sandwiches.

*Adapted from a recipe from The Heavy Table.


Lisa Ann said...

Looks great! Any experience in freezing the sponge after sitting the 5-24 hours? (I made a double batch of the sponge before realizing just how much bread that adds up to!)

Sandy said...

The bread freezes wonderfully- bake a ton and either make friends or save for later.

Laura said...

Lisa, I haven't tried freezing the sponge before. If you ended up trying that, please let me know how it worked out for you. Also, I agree with you, Sandy. It's always nice to have a little extra bread on hand -- you never know when you might need it!

Audra Majocha said...

This made a lot of dough! I have it rising now and about to put in the oven. Looks fantastic and just LOVE the smell of bread baking, especially on a gray, dreary Sunday morning...Thank you!


Lisa Ann said...

Experiment results: sadly, the frozen sponge didn't cause the dough to rise - but it did make a tasty flatbead pizza dough at least!

Patrick Mann said...

I've made this twice over the last month. Love it.

Chrissy B said...

Have you ever tried making bread with beer yeast? Ive always wanted to but didnt want to end up with messed up bread...its too much work to end up with bad bread lol

Anonymous said...

I made this today and I don't think mine rose enough because it's three tiny loaves! Maybe next time I will let it rise longer. Which stage is most important?

Laura said...

My guess would be that the second part is probably the most important (letting it rise for 2-4 hours -- it should get REALLY big and puffy) and then of course letting them rise again once you separate them into loaves. I wonder if maybe they weren't in a warm enough place for you? Or maybe your yeast was the issue? Sorry yours didn't turn out that well -- hopefully they still tasted good even though they were small!

Dishing Gourmet said...

My husband is a homebrewer, and I can't wait to try this recipe after his next batch! This is exactly the reason why I will never be able to give up carbs :)

Brett said...

This bread is pretty good. We intended on proofing the sponge for 24 hours, but then we didn't have time to make it the next day. We put the sponge in the fridge for one more day, and the recipe still turned out great. I would add more salt to the dough, though, and maybe more spent grain. I also used a pastry brush to coat the loaves with water before baking, to help with create steam.

The Beer Goddess said...

Hello. Have you tried using All Purpose or Wheat Flour? Just wondering if using either of these will affect rise/texture.....

kirstyn shaw said...

This is the first time I've ever made bread and these turned out AAAAAMMMMMAAAAAAAZING! The best part is the crustiness, next time I think I will try making smaller little loaves to increase the crust ratio. Thanks for the fantastic recipe!

breatnac said...

Awesome Recipe! everything came out great, had just brewed a batch with Bohemian pils and Honey Malts, this made it have a distinctly lager-like flavor in the bread! Just a thought, and I didn't think of this until I was finished, however, have you tried reconstituting the yeast with some left over sweet wort that's about 1.012?

Only thoughts I'd have about that would be the extra sugar in the wort may lead to infection?

Julie said...

@The Beer Goddess -

I've made this a few times using all purpose flour, sometimes adding a cup or two of whole wheat flour. It always turns out well! Not sure how it compares to using bread flour since I never have that on hand, but you can definitely just use all purpose and get good results.

ducksinthewindow said...

I had the tiny loaf result as well, but had really long rise times and good amounts of rise in each instance (16 hours, 3 hours, and 1 hour respectively). Do you think it could be that I don't have a stand mixer and kneaded by hand? Or that my roommates keep yeast in the freezer and I used it straight out?

Text and pics of results here:

JohnG said...

Could there be a much higher grain content version of this if additional sugars and or yeast were used?

Scorebig tickets said...

That looks ideal for a day of sports and beer. I make wine, not beer but if I move on to making beer, I'll know what to do with the grain after the beer is ready. I can just imagine how good this must taste on a Saturday afternoon.

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