Spent Grain Bread
The left over grain from the brewing process is full of good nutrients and some residual proteins that can be used a feed for livestock and farm animals. However, the same grain can be used to make nutritious, delicious bread. The grain I use to make my spent-grain bread is harvested from the middle of the grain load when I remove the spent grain from the lauter tun at the end of the wort run-off to make sure I get as little teig, or dough, as possible and to ensure that the grain is still hot, which helps to ensure a lesser chance of any colonies of unwelcome critters taking up residence before I get home to make the bread! One can also dry the grain in a low speed oven and then use a standard flour mill to grind the dried grain into barley bit/flour to add to bread. I like to just add the cooked barley right into my loafs, although sometimes this results in a noticeable husk or two when eating the bread. Great accompaniments to this bread are fresh-made butter and homemade blueberry jam. Spent Grain Bread a la Anthony
- 3 cups spent grain
- 1 cup lukewarm water no hotter than 102° F
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup gluten flour optional or use additional all-purpose flour
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt I use kosher
Starter: Make this the day before you want to bake the bread. I do this in the evening when I come home from the brewery.
Mix the grain, water, flour and yeast together in a large glass or other non-reactive bowl, cover with plastic (a shopping bag works fine) and place in a slightly warm place to ferment overnight. I like to turn on the light in my oven and leave it there while I sleep. If you do this, always leave a note on the oven temperature control so no one starts a fire in your oven!
Place a baking stone or tiles on the oven's lowest shelf and preheat oven to 450° F at least one hour before you put the loafs in the oven. Dissolve the salt in the warm water and then add all the ingredients to the starter. Stir well to help build gluten. I reserve some of the all-purpose flour in case I need to add more/less to the dough. You can't take it out once you put it in! Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes, or 15 if you have the strength. Add more flour as needed to make the dough come together. To test if you need more flour, you can lay your hand on the dough and if you can pull your hand away after 10 seconds or so, you've got enough flour in the dough. Some people compare a kneaded, properly floured loaf to a baby's bottom. Oil a large bowl with about 1 tsp of vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Place in a warm, draft-free area to rise for 2 hours or until doubled.
Remove dough from bowl and shape dough into loaves. I like to make one large hearth-style loaf as it yields nice slices of bread for sandwiches. Sprinkle a peel or flattened cardboard box with coarse cornmeal. Place formed loaf on the peel or flattened cardboard box. Cover loaf with lightly oiled plastic or damp tea towel to rise in a draft-free area for about 1 hour or until doubled. Now is a good time to preheat oven and stone(s).
Fill a squirt bottle with tap water to spritz the loaf as it bakes. I like to cut a pattern of slits on the top of the loaf with a lame or razor just before placing it in the oven. This allows for more oven rise and a nicer appearance. Slide raised loaf into hot oven carefully and with determination: if you hesitate the loaf might stick to the peel and make a mess! Carefully spritz the walls and floor of oven with water, avoiding the light bulb. Do this 3 time in the first 15 minutes of baking. After this, reduce heat to 350° F and let bread cook until it is well-browned and sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom with your knuckles, about 30-40 minutes or 205° F internal temp with thermometer.
Remove bread from oven and let it cool on a rack. You should hear lots of cracking coming from the crust as it cools. This is the sign bakers look for when they want a thick, chewy crust. Music to my ears! Please wait until the bread is cooled to room temp before eating as this will allow the crumb to set, (which makes cutting easier) but if you can't wait, slather it in butter, jam or both, and enjoy Spent Grain bread a al Anthony!