Cooking With Spent Grain

BREWHOUSE UPDATES!  Our pumpkin beer (It’s The Great Pumpkin, Timmy D!) is done, and it’s really good.  Last year’s ITGPTD was a horrible failure, we went back to the drawing board and this year have something we really like.  We also brewed another batch of Synesthesia Saison that will get racked onto peaches soon to create Synesthesia Pêche, we hope to have that one ready to drink in about a month.

I’ve been saying for a long time that I was going to make some stuff with spent grain.  Each time I brew I save some and freeze it, then a few months later I throw it away, it’s a vicious circle.  This time I actually followed through and tried a couple of recipes with some grain left over from brewing Synesthesia Pêche (more on that soon) and was pretty pleased with the results.  Brew Dog Boo got some dog treats out of the deal and I got some banana nut bread, everyone was happy.

I decided to use some of the grain as is and to turn some of it into spent grain flour.  Turning the grain into flour was a time-intensive process and you’d be surprised how little you get after drying and milling the grain.  I have a four tray food dehydrator and loaded it up with grain, after all was said and done I ended up with about 1 1/2 cups of flour, which was fine as it still covered what I needed for the banana bread.  So here’s how I threw it down…

Spent Grain Dog Treats

Spent Grain Dog Treats (Note that this amount makes 1/2 of the recipe below.)

Spent Grain Dog Treat ingredients.  (Ingredients shown are for 1/2 batch.)

This was the first recipe I tried since it didn’t require any special preparation to the grains beforehand.  I simply used the well-drained grains out of the mashtun, this is a really easy recipe.  Googling recipes for spent grain dog treats I found the exact same recipe on 9 out of 10 sites.  Hey, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, my recipe follows most others.  Note on my batch I halved this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups spent grain
  • 2 cups flour (I used all-purpose whole wheat flour)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup peanut butter

Instructions:

  1. Mix everything together until dough forms a firm ball
  2. Spread dough on parchment paper about 1/4″ thick
  3. Cut your cookies out.  I used a beer sample glass as my cookie cutter.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes
  5. Reduce heat to 225°F and let cookies bake for 2 more hours to dry them.  You want them dry and crunch but not hard, you should be able to break them in half easily.  Drying them will help with storage and prevent spoilage/mold.

Let them cool a bit and see what your brew dog thinks about them, Boo gave them her seal of approval.

Fine, human... I'll play your silly games.

Fine, human… I’ll play your silly games.

Cookies cooling off

Cookies cooling off

Spent Grain Flour

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If you have a food dehydrator you can use that for the first step of drying the grains.  Simply line your trays with parchment paper, cutting a vent hole in the center for airflow if necessary.  You don’t need a fancy dehydrator to get the job done.  I have a cheap one (similar to this) and I’ve done dried herbs, fruit, jerky and now grain and it does just fine.  If you don’t have a dehydrator you can do this in your oven.

  • Preheat your oven to it’s lowest setting, no more than 200°F.
  • Prepare grains by making sure you’ve removed as much moisture as possible.  Place them in a strainer and mash with a spoon or spatula to get the excess water out.
  • Spread grain on an ungreased cookie sheet (can also line with parchment paper) in a thin layer, approximately 1/4″ deep.
  • Place pan in the oven for 7-8 hours, stirring halfway through.
  • Boom.  Dried grain.

You can then mill the grain in a coffee or spice grinder if you don’t have a mill.  I did mine in my NutriBullet which came with a milling blade I thought I’d never use, it worked amazingly well for this.  I have a love/hate relationship with my NutriBullet, it works very well but I had some leaking issues and had a tough time getting service, but that’s a story for another time… on with the recipes.

Spent Grain Banana Nut Bread with Dark Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spent grain flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 over-ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (Make sure to set a safe word so things don’t get out of hand.)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven toe 350°F
  2. Sift together flours, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar together.  Add the eggs and banana and stir to incorporate.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients a little at a time, mixing well to combine.
  5. Fold in the nuts and dark chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter (batter should be quite dense/thick) in to a well-buttered loaf or cake pan, I used mini-loaf pans and got 4 loaves.
  7. For a full size loaf you will need to bake for about an hour, my mini loaves were done in ~ 30 minutes.  Check about 20 minutes in.  Loaves are done when a toothpick or butter knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Place on rack to cool a bit and devour.

 

Spent Grain Banana Nut Bread... WITH Dark Chocolate. (Sexy, isn't it?)

Spent Grain Banana Nut Bread… WITH Dark Chocolate. (Sexy, isn’t it?)

Spent grain banana bread, sliced up wile still warm from the oven.

Spent grain banana bread, sliced up while still warm from the oven.

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