“Two of the more dubious achievements of American culture are white bread and light beer.”
— Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly (Real Beer and Good Eats)
Of all the cooking up of things my family does, one of the guys’ favorite activities is making homebrew. Hardly a weekend goes by when they’re not mashing, sparging and fermenting some sort of grains. (Of course, one of their other favorite things to do is drink the beer they make, thus setting up this constant effort to keep the fridge full.)
Each batch of beer begins with around 11 pounds of malted grain … all in completely different levels of maltedness. From a light, toasty pale malt to a dark, chocolate-colored malt these grains are used to provide the sugar that the beer needs to ferment. After that, the beer makers discard the spent grain to either the birds or the garbage.
Naturally, as a bread maker I was saddened by the loss of all that lovely grain, spent or otherwise. I knew I could use it for bread, but the recipes I found on the internet really weren’t all that appealing to me. Most were developed by beer makers and seemed a little on the heavy side.
It took me awhile, but I finally developed a recipe that is light and chewy at the same time. I like the texture of the grain, but it’s not overpowering. This is a good bread for toast, since the grains get crunchy and the toast stays tender. It’s a good loaf of hearty bread with just the right amount of sweetness. After all, man cannot live by beer alone.
- 1¼- 1½ cups water
- 3 tablespoons Oil
- 3 tablespoons Agave Syrup
- 3 cups Bread or AP Flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup spent grain
- 2¼ teaspoon instant yeast or one package, bloomed.
- 2 teaspoon salt
- Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the water, oil and Agave syrup (this is if you’re using a stand mixer to mix it with the 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.
- When dough is ready, place in oven and immediately throw a large handful of ice into the bottom of the oven.
- 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.
- This bread will turn very brown and will have a chewy consistency when eaten. It will save for a couple of days in a sealed container, but will dry out quickly after that.