Spent Grain Bread


     Ever since I started using specialty grains in my extract brewing I’ve been trying to come up with uses for the depleted hulls. My first thought was toss it on the garden. Spent grain works well for composting, and it can improve soil drainage. The problem with this solution is that dogs enjoy eating spent grain, and large amounts of it aren’t good for them. The next idea was to make dog treats, which I did. The problem is one batch of dog treats made quite a bit and I ended up giving away a lot. My latest attempt to use up this grain? Bread. By the way, it goes great with beer.

Problem Solving

The main problem with bread made from barley is it’s flavor. Since wheat is a much more suitable grain we’ll use a recipe that offsets the flavor of the barley with flour and other flavors. To do this I used a honey wheat bread recipe that I love. Also another problem with spent grain is that it’s high in low quality protein and fiber, but low in sugars since those were boiled out for beer. To compensate for this your choices are cut back on flour, or mix the grain with a low protein pastry flour. I chose to do the mix since my lack of baking skills didn’t allow me to do the math needed to cut the flour.

Preparing The Grain

To prepare the grain I spread it out on sheets of wax paper and allowed it to dry for several days. Once I was certain that the grain was completely dried out I cleaned out the coffee grinder and used it as a grain mill of sorts. After I’d ground the grain to a fine powder then it was much more simple to add it into recipes.

The Recipe

2 cups stone ground whole wheat flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup ground spent grain
1 cup honey
1/4 cup shortening
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cup Very Warm Water
2 packages yeast or about 2 tablespoons
3 to 4 cups all purpose flour
softened butter

Combine the whole wheat flours, the spent grain, salt, sugar, yeast, shortening, and water and mix on low speed for a couple minutes. Begin stirring in the all purpose flour in small doses until the dough comes together and is easy to handle. Knead on a floured surface or with a dough hook in your mixer for 10 min. The dough should be elastic and look smooth. Put in a greased bowl then flip so the greased side is up and cover to let rise for about an hour, or until it’s doubled. Grease two loaf pans while the bread rises. Punch down the dough and split in two. Flatten each half into rectangles with your hands then fold into thirds, pinch it to seal, then roll lightly into the desired shape. Place loaves into pans and lightly grease with softened butter. After letting them rise again till doubled bake in a 375° oven for 45 min until loaves are a deep rich brown. Pull out, spread butter over the tops, and place on racks to cool.

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3 Responses to “Spent Grain Bread”

  1. Carlos says:

    This sounds good. I will have to ask the wife if she can bake this. She’s the baker and I’m the cook.

    Bread with anything sounds good.

  2. Joey says:

    I’m sorry, but where did you get the information that too much spent grain is bad for dogs? The very same thread that you originally referenced in your dog treat post has great information on how spent grain is fine for dogs so long as that does not become their sole diet.

    I’m looking forward to trying this bread recipe, but please, let’s make sure no misinformation is being spread.

  3. Jared says:

    Hey Joey,

    Thanks for the comment. I guess I should have been more specific. I have heard from a couple brewers that too much straight spent grain will give dogs diareha. In my book if it gives the dog the runs, and I have to clean the carpet, then it’s bad for the dog. The amount of grain the dog would eat if I tossed it straight into the garden would be quite a bit, and since the garden isn’t fenced off I wouldn’t want to risk it. So yes, while spent grain isn’t bad for dogs I still don’t recomend leaving large amounts where your dog can get at it.

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