So Yummy!

Like many other brewers I often stare at my mash tun wishing I had a useful way to utilize the spent grain that's left over from brewing. It always seems like such a waste to throw away. Since I don't have a farm or a compost bin, using the grain to bake bread seems like as good of an idea as any. The results were delicious, and there's abosuletly nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread coming out of the oven.

I start by rehydrating a packet of bakers yeast. This process should seem very familar to most brewers. Heat 1/4c of water to 110F and add a teapsoon of sugar, then sprinkle on the yeast. Allow that to sit for 10 minutes, then stir until creamy. Set this aside for now.

spent grains

Then I take approx 3 cups of spent grain, and blend it with 8oz of beer, in this case Left Hand Black Jack Porter. The spent grain were a mix of Pilsen and Carapils. The goal here is to grind up the hulls so the bread isn't quite as 'grainy' I then take that mixture, and add a 1/4c of olive oil.

grain and beer - post food processor

On the dry side, mix about 2cups of bread flour with a tablespoon of salt, and 1/4c brown sugar. Stir to combine, and slowly add the dry mixture to the wet to combine. Now mix in the yeast. The dough will be very sticky and tacky at this point.

Now slowly start incorporating an additional 3-4.5 cups of bread flour; I needed about 4cups. Once you've incorporated most of the flour, you can turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it as you add the last bit of flour. You'll know you've added enough flour when the dough is hardly sticky, rather smooth and elastic. Once you've kneaded for 8-10 minutes, place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel.

before first rise

Rest until it's doubled in size(1-2hours.) Now it's time to 'punch down' the dough. Basically turn the dough back out onto your work surface, and lightnly knead it until it's reduced in size. Then shape the dough into your deisred shape; I choose something like a football. Cover and allow dough to double in size again. Now is a good time to preheat your oven to 475*. If you have a pizza stone, this is an excellent time to use it.

after second rise

Once the dough has risen, you'll want to score the top with a sharp knife. This allows steam to escape, and also make the loaf look pretty. Once I put the dough on the pizza stone, I immediately lower the oven temp to 400*. Every couple minutes for the first ten minutes, I misted water with a spray bottle onto the oven walls to create steam. This helps develop the crust.

I turned the loaf 180* after 20 minutes, and baked until the internal temp hit 200* (about 45-50min).

money shot

For my first loaf, it turned out really good! Crunchy crust with a soft pillowy inside. The barley flavor is definitely evident, as is the porter; this is definitely going to be a mainstay around my house. I think next time I'm going to add some green chiles.

Lots of help from HomeBrewTalk and The Fresh Loaf for the baking advice!

Here's the consolidated recipe:

3c Spent Grain (not dried)
~5-6c Bread Flour
1/4c Brown Sugar
1TBSP Salt
1c Beer
1/4c Olive Oil
1 packet Active Dry Yeast


  1. this is pretty awesome. very similar to what I do. One thing I suggest you try is baking this type of bread in a Dutch Oven. instead of a pizza stone- preheat the the oven to 475° with the Dutch oven on a lower rack, put the loaf in with the lid on for about 24 minutes- at which point I check it to see what it looks like and usually cook 6-10 minutes more with the lid off. the crust is amazing. anyway, great blog all-around. cheers!

    1. That's a really good idea. I'll have to give that a try soon.


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