Homebrewed to Home Baked: Spent Grain Bread

“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.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Homebrewed to Home Baked: Spent Grain Bread
Author: 
 

Bread and beer making go hand in hand. Why not take it even further! This can be made in your breadmaker, using the dough cycle. After the machine stops, remove the dough and start from the shaping instructions. I save grain from many batches and freeze them in 1 cup portions and thaw as needed.
Ingredients
  • 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

Instructions
  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Shape into whatever shape you want — loaf, round, rolls — cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise about another 30-40 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, turn on the oven to 410 degrees.
  6. When dough is ready, place in oven and immediately throw a large handful of ice into the bottom of the oven.
  7. Close the door immediately and bake for approximately 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your loaves or rolls.
  8. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  9. 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.

Comments

  1. Brandon B says:

    Ello, good show. Sounds like wonderful bread. I’m gonna try it out this evening in fact. Will post again to let you know my result!

  2. Kim says:

    WOW, this is delicious! Wonderful job coming up with this!

  3. AP says:

    This bread is so, so good and I’ve received a lot of compliments about it. Light, airy, with just the right amount of sweetness, and crunch from the grains. I prematurely tossed a bunch of grain before the bread came out of the oven, and I wish I hadn’t. Next batch I’ll save more spent grain to freeze. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Thank you for the positive comments. It always gets a lot of compliments whenever I take it somehwere :) It is light, which is unlike lots of this type of bread. I freeze my grain, too. I just put it in one cup measurements and vacuum seal them. I only mark them as dark or light and I really like the dark bread, better! :)

  5. Sara says:

    I just recently dried all my grain and turned it into flour. Could I substitute the whole wheat for this and leave out the spent grains? Thanks!

    • I would think that that would be o.k. for the whole wheat flour substitute. Have you used it before as a substitute. The spent grains add a texture that isn’t necessarily replaceable. You would need to add a bit more flour, but the texture wouldn’t end up the same. If you try it, let me know and maybe the next time you get some grain you could save some and try it that way, as well. :) Thanks!

  6. emily says:

    Hi Pam! I made this bread recently and it turned out fantastic! (I also tried to make a gluten-free version, but I am not good at improvising baking recipes quite yet, haha.)

    i have a question. I read online that throwing the ice in the bottom of the oven can be quite dangerous. Do you think that is an exaggeration? Or do different types of ovens determine whether or not it would be a bad idea (electric/gas, sealed/not sealed)?

    Because I was afraid to try it, I threw ice onto a baking pan, but this warped my nice pan rather badly, so I wasn’t very satisfied with that approach.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts you have on this subject!

    • Hi :) Glad you liked the bread. I’ve really enjoyed it. I have never heard about a problem with adding ice to the oven. I have an electric oven with a visible element and I do this often. Some other recipes suggest spritZing the inside your oven with water, but I’ve found that releases too much heat as the door is open too long. An alternative would be to get an inexpensive pan at a thrift store or someplace that you could place in the oven as it warms up an throw ice into that and just use it for that purpose. I’m sorry I don’t knowing more than that. I would hate for you to do something you would be hesitant to do, despite the fact that I do it :)

      • emily says:

        Thanks for getting back to me! I trust your expertise! Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you’re getting someone else’s sage advice, or inheriting their paranoias. Which is why I wanted to check in with you.

        We have an old gas oven, and I can’t think of a reason why it would harm the oven. I guess it’s just fear of the unknown! I’ll try to be brave next time :)

        Thanks again!

        • kim says:

          if you have a glass window in your oven dripping water or dropping ice on it can crack it because of the variation in temperature. if you want to find way, way, way too much information on the creation of steam in your oven while baking bread, go to The Fresh Loaf (www.thefreshloaf.com), and search for “oven steam.” You will not believe the number of methods contributors there have come up with.

          I like the ice in a cheap pan method myself. long release, not too scary if you’re a little careful.

  7. Catherine says:

    Hi! My boyfriend just brewed a batch of Red IPA yesterday and because he’s been pestering me to make some spent grain bread decided to give this a try today or tomorrow but I had a clarification request!

    You mention adding the dry ingredients and the water but never mention when to add the Agave Syrup, the Oil and the Yeast. I’m guessing that you don’t need all three TBSP to oil the bowl for rising. I know that sugar is usually considered “dry” but I would have thought that a liquid sugar would be different.

    Should I bloom the yeast in the 1-1/4 c water (warm) with the Agave Nectar and then add them together with the Oil before kneading?

    I’m not an expert at making bread, though I do bake a lot, so I would appreciate the clarification!

    Thanks! Really looking forward to making this recipe!

    • Hi. Thank you so much for bringing that to my attention! I apologize for being unclear :)
      You would add the agave and the oil at the same time as the water. None of that oil is used to oil the bowl. You certainly can bloom the yeast as you suggested. I use “instant yeast” which can just be added directly to the ingredients. In any case, it never hurts to take that extra step as it ensures your yeast is viable prior to baking the whole loaf!! :)

  8. Sarah says:

    Hi! I have friend who brews regularly and I am just starting to play with the idea of bread from the grains. Previously I made bread from the wet grains. I currently have a bunch of the dried grains. What suggestions do you have for using the dried grains? Any recipes you would recommend?
    Thank you!

    • I would think you could use the grains in place of seeds or grains in any kind of bread, swapping them out in equal amounts. Or, even add them to a nice bread recipe and see what happens. More than likely, you’d have to add a bit more liquid. You can certainly use them in this recipe, with just a little more liquid, as well.

  9. Angi West says:

    Thank you so much for the recipe. This is the spent grain recipe I’ve been waiting for. Lovely light soft texture, just the perfect consistency!

  10. Christina says:

    Do you dry your grain before using or freeze it wet?

  11. Kelly says:

    I’ve made this several times with a few different kinds of spent grains :)
    I find I have it add more flour than called for. Maybe my grains are wetter?

  12. Frank Reiter says:

    This sounds like a great recipe! I’m brewing, again, on Friday, and will try this method. The first one I tried was very dense, and was a breadmaker recipe. If I pull it off well, I may post about your recipe, if you don’t mind. I will give total credit, and link to this site. Thanks!

  13. Larry says:

    I made this bread from grains left over from home brewing a Kölsch style beer. Excellent bread and the entire family loves it!

  14. Jen says:

    Made this last night and it was awesome, best spent grain bread recipe I’ve founds! Thank you!

  15. Lori runnion says:

    Hello – I dried my spent grain then ran it through the food processor to make it into flour( per our brewmaster) . I’m not sure how to use it with your recipe . Help please!

    • Hi, Lori. My recipe is more about using the grains whole or mostly whole in addition to flour. If your grains are truly a floury consistency, I would imagine you could still use it but you won’t get the bread that I’ve made. You could try to use 1 cup of your flour in addition to the other flours and see what happens. I like the grains whole for the texture, but it may work out. Let me know what you decide!

  16. leah says:

    I dry my spent grains and then put them through a few rounds in the processor only because it makes them easier to use a cookie cutter on when I make spent grain dog biscuits. Because of this, I think my bread was a little bit dense, but, my husband and I have already eaten one of the two loafs I made! I will use this recipe in the future ( saving spent grains specifically for this) because this was such tasty bread! What an amazing and easy recipe! This is my first try and definitely a keeper:)

  17. Jen says:

    Blooming the yeast now, but I’m a little confused on knowing it’s done. I can’t take it out of the oven and tap the bottom…other suggestions for doneness? I tend to screw up bread but I’m really excited about trying this recipe from the comments. It’ll be nice to be using all these beautiful grains.

    • You can take the internal temperature, if you have an instant read thermometer. It should be at roughly 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Good luck & let me know how it turns out!! :)

      • Jen says:

        OH wow. I can’t make bread, and I successfully made this bread!! I simply cannot put into words how ecstatic I am about not only the incredibly quick reply to my question, but how easy and perfect this recipe is. I made it into a round loaf for simplicity, but next time it will be loaves. Never again will grain go the birds! Thank you so much!!!

  18. Jen & Adam says:

    Any thoughts on using leftover yeast from the bottom of the fermenter for a bread recipe?

    • Hi. I don’t have any experience with that. I do know folks who use it for making a yeast starter for beer. Since not all that’s in the bottom of your fermenter is not yeast, I’m sure there’s other steps to follow to clean that up; I wouldn’t think you could just use it, as is. I’d be curious to know what you find out.

  19. Jason says:

    Hi! I just started home brewing and I was wondering what I could do with my spent grain when I found this recipe. I’m excited to try it after my next brew session, although I did have one question: are the grain husks any concern? Is there a way to separate them, or are they not noticeable in the finished product?

  20. Lisa says:

    I’ve tried several different bread recipes using our spent grains (none have turned out well) and this one is fantastic!! Soft on the inside and a nice crust on the outside. Thank you for sharing it. I wonder what adding herbs or cheese would taste??

  21. Thank you for sharing this recipe!!! I’ve made two batches today, brought it to our brew club meeting tonight, and it was a hit!!!!

  22. Cindy says:

    What would be a good substitute for the Agave Syrup if I don’t have that on hand? Also, I am currently drying my spent grains in the oven. When I use them this way in the recipe, do I need to add more water to your recipe? Thanks for any advice you can give me.

    • Hi, Cindy. You could easily substitute the agave with honey or even some malt syrup, if you have any of that. You will have to add more liquid to the dough if your grains are dry. Just add a little at a time until the texture is correct. Good luck and let me know how it ends up!

  23. Isaura says:

    Could this recipe be done in a bread machine?

  24. Joseph says:

    Made this for a church thing and it was a huge success. I made Two loafs and they were both gone in less then 5 minutes. I got multiple request for the recipe ( don’t worry I included a link to here )
    I made mine with double the yeast and used bacon fat instead of oil also added a 1/4 cup of dark beer. Thanks for the recipe it’s great.

  25. michers08 says:

    This bread is amazing – it was super easy to follow and turned out just as you said! I literally just took the loaf out of the oven and am already scarfing down a piece… it’s THAT good! THANK YOU!

  26. melissa says:

    Does this bread freeze well? Do you recommend baking and then freezing, or making the dough and freezing then defrosting to bake?
    Thanks!

  27. Javier says:

    Hello. If I understood correctly, the used grains are dry when you add them, but I wonder how do you dry them? Are they used just after that or would you suggest grinding them more? And finally, if I intend to make flour out of the malt too, would it be enough just putting it in the mixer?
    Thanks so much! Cant wait to try the recipe!

    • Hi, Javier. I freeze the grains as soon as they cool down. I thaw them and use them, as is. I like them the way they are, but you could certainly make them smaller. As for flour, I’ve never tried it and not sure it would work. Let me know how your bread is!

  28. Cindy Dinneen says:

    how would I make this recipe without using a bread machine or dough hook? I do have a “dough hook” with my Cuisinart food processor. Would that work?

    • Hi, Cindy. I’m not familiar with using a dough hook on a food professor. When I’ve done bread in one, I use the blade and it doesn’t take as much time to knead. I’m sure it would work, though. Give it a shot and let us know how it turns out!

  29. Claudia says:

    I used beer instead of water. If you freeze the bread a for a few days, then let it thaw, it’s quite amazing!!

  30. DM Winter says:

    I happened upon your recipe a few days ago off of Pinterest and gave it a shot. I did make a few changed from your ingredients, I substituted home farmed honey for the agave and I used the excess liquid from the wet spent grain to proof the yeast. Instead of wheat flour I used some of the spent grain ‘flour’ I had made in addition to the whole spent grain. This did make for a very dark bread, but it was surprisingly light and nutty in flavor. Thank you for a wonderful recipe! I did add a link on my FB site to your recipe here…Cooking the Deals!

  31. Andrea says:

    I just tried your recipe and it is wonderful! I did use a bread machine on “Dough” setting, and did the second rising and baking on my own. Can this recipe actually bake in a bread machine?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I went on the hunt for another recipe to try out. I landed on Snappy Service Cafe’s spent grain recipe. Pam, the author, stated that the recipes she saw were all made by brewers and therefore “a [...]

  2. [...] the spent grain recipe I used, follow this recipe, swapping out 2 tbsp honey for the 3 tbsp [...]

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