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.