Spent Grain Revisited
May 3, 2011
This last weekend, my husband and I went to our local homebrew shop to buy grain to make beer. I made the comment about learning a specific recipe to make bread and using the spent grain to do so. A shop clerk hears me and says, “Oh, there are some recipes for using spent grain in the latest issue [May/June 2011 Volume 34 No 3] of Zymurgy.” So I bought a copy to check it out.
Zymurgy is a journal put out by the American Homebrewers Association. This issue even talked about pulque, which I will discuss at a different time. Unfortunately, the magazine does not publish at all online.
Back to spent grains. The article, written by Amber DeGrace, says, “It’s a shame to throw away grains when they have so many practical uses.” I agree. DeGrace mentions in the next paragraph that they can be frozen, though she suggests using quart sized bags due to they are more convenient for single use projects. So far, I’ve done alright with the gallon size bags partly filled, but then again, I’m eating it for breakfast. She didn’t like that size because she couldn’t use up all the grains before they turn sour. I could see that being a problem. My experience is that using spent grain is kind of like drinking milk. Everything is alright as long as it smells sweet. If it stops smelling sweet, then it has soured and you shouldn’t eat it.
DeGrace first talks about using spent grain for compost for farm feed, though she reminds readers that hops are poisonous to dogs and should not be combined with the grains when fed to animal in case dogs do eat it (I’ve heard this before, but apparently it causes an artificial hypothermia). She mentions this because her last recipe is for peanut butter-banana dog treats.
The rest of the article is actually about how to make a no-knead pizza dough, and then a chocolate cinnamon min-bun with caramel stout glaze using the same pizza dough (most people don’t realize that pizza dough and cinnamon buns are actually made from the same recipe, just with spices, butter, and sugar in-between). Her recipes are really for two batches, and she even suggests freezing some of it after the dough rises.
She also suggests that any good baking recipe can be converted to use spent grain so long as spent grain “makes up no more than 25 percent” of the original flour amount. That isn’t what my original research turned up, but I like the sounds of it. I think I’m going to try making some bread out of it without using a specialized “spent grain” recipe. I’ll report back on that project.