Keep SWMBO Happy and Brew Beer at the Same Time

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Did I get your attention with the title? I thought so. So how do I manage to pull off this seemingly incredible feat of keeping my wife happy and brewing beer at the same time? One word; BREAD. My wife doesn't mind if I spend all day brewing beer if she knows there is a loaf of this in her future.

I have been experimenting with making bread out of my spent grain almost from the day I started down the road of all-grain brewing. I have experimented with the recipe many times and have had plenty of failures getting this recipe perfected. In my mind what I'm about to share is THE perfect spent grain bread recipe. However, while this is the recipe I've settled on as being perfect for me, feel free to experiment yourself to get exactly what you want. Shall we get started?

The Ingredients

3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 packet Active Dry Yeast
1 1/4 cups Beer (or water if you're a sissy) at room temp.
1 1/4 cups Spent Grain (dried)

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I mentioned above that I've had my fair share of failures attempting to make spent grain bread. Most of these failures had to do with having no idea the amount of water that was actually
still in the grains. This caused all sorts of problems from gooey dough, failure to rise and just general rock hard bread. This recipe really came together when I figured out one very important step. DRY YOUR GRAINS FIRST!

The way I do this is to spread about 3 cups of wet grain on a cookie sheet and place it in the oven set as low as your oven will go. My oven goes down to 170. I've found that 3 cups of weight grain is approximately 1 1/4 cups when completely dried out. Leave it in for about 1-2 hours and occasionally spread it around about to make sure it's all dried out.

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While the grains are drying you can pull out a bottle of beer to warm up to room temp. I like to use the same style beer as the one brewed with the grains you are using, but any beer (or water) will work.

Once the grains are all dried out the rest of this recipe is fairly simple and like any other bread recipe you've made before. If you have a stand mixer or a bread machine this is a lot easier, but it's also possible without one. I use a stand mixer so these instructions are mostly geared toward that (bread machine would be the same) but I will try to point out how to do things without one where I can.

In your stand mixer with the bread hook attachment (or any bowl) add the warm beer, sugar, yeast and 1/3 of the flour and mix until combined.

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Next, add another 1/3 of the flour along with the kosher salt.

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Again mix until well combined. Finally, add the last of the flour and your spent grain and mix more. If the dough still feels sticky, add a little more flour until it feels good.

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Using a stand mixer, simply let the bread hook knead the dough for you until it is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl (about 2-3 minutes).

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If doing this by hand, lightly flour a clean surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes. You know it's ready when you stick your finger in the dough and it bounces back.

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Place the dough in a bowl sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, cover it with saran wrap or a towel and let it sit in a warm spot to rise for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

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Keep SWMBO Happy and Brew Beer at the Same Time - Snicklefritz - 20131116-213739-462.jpg

When the dough has doubled in size divide the dough into two equal pieces and form them into loaves. Place the loaves on a cookie sheet that is lightly dusted with flour and again let them rise for at least 30 minutes but I usually let it go for another hour.

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Pre-heat your oven to 450. Before you put the bread in the oven, take a sharp knife and put a few slits in the top of the bread. This helps some of the moisture inside to escape more easily. It also looks cool.

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Put the bread in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. You will know it is done when it is golden brown in color and sounds hollow when you tap on it.

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PRO TIP FROM GRANDMA: If you like really crispy crust and chewy insides then place a baking dish full of water on the rack below your bread. My grandma always did this when baking bread and it produces an extremely hearty crust.

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When the bread looks done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting it. I like this bread best toasted or paired with a delicious home brew.

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I hope this recipe brings you (and SWMBO) as much joy as it has me. Enjoy!

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November 21, 2013  •  02:59 AM
My SWMBO is gluten intolerant
November 21, 2013  •  11:10 AM
This looks great, well done.
My wife makes bread 3 times a week anyway (Not with spent grain tho).
I will give this a try next brewday, give the missis a run for her money.
November 21, 2013  •  01:27 PM
I made a few loaves last weekend after brewing. I didn't dry mine, as I BIAB and squeeze the daylights out of the grain. I also added an egg to mine. It's a nice heavy loaf.
November 21, 2013  •  01:54 PM
Thanks for the great tutorial and pics! I'm going to try next time I brew!
November 21, 2013  •  03:04 PM
@paperairplane I'll have to try the egg thing. That's something I haven't tried.
November 21, 2013  •  06:30 PM
For more flavor, couldn't you skip the yeast additive and just use the beer yeast in the bottom of the bottle, swirled well into the 1 1/4c beer addition? It might take a little longer to take off, but it should work?
November 21, 2013  •  07:23 PM
This looks fantastic. I think I can get 3 cups wet grain from my steeping grains (I am doing extract). Always seemed like a waste to trash them all. Thank you!
November 21, 2013  •  08:48 PM
@trbig Hmmm. Never tried that. I'm not sure there would be enough yeast left in a bottle to handle that. I'll experiment with my next batch.
November 21, 2013  •  11:21 PM
@trbig From what I've read, brewing yeast doesn't work well for bread making. Different yeasts are bred for different purposes.
November 22, 2013  •  12:48 AM
Well, I know of a lot of people that have used bread yeast in brewing/winemaking. I realize that yeasts today are by design bred for a certain purpose, but all you're looking for is something to eat the sugar and make CO2 bubbles in the bread, and all yeasts loves sugar. I think it'd be worth a try and as I said, I think I'd prefer the flavor of the beer yeast in a beer bread VS bread yeast? Might be too much though?

@ Snicklfritze.. I think it would be best to get the yeast from perhaps two or three bottles.. of course not letting the topmost liquid go to waste while slaving away in the kitchen! : )I use the 22 oz bottles, so I may be thinking of a larger amount of yeast than most? But three of those bottles emptied would leave a feeling of success no matter if the bread turned out or not! lol.
November 22, 2013  •  07:14 AM
This looks awesome. I'm going to do this next brew day. Thanks for the recipe and write-up!
November 22, 2013  •  08:02 PM
@porky_pine mine too :( Now I get to upset her by making beer she can't drink AND bread she can't eat, but man this looks good!
November 22, 2013  •  08:40 PM
I'm gonna try it.
November 23, 2013  •  12:18 AM
Great Article, I wish I had done this after mashing my Pumpkin Ale!
November 24, 2013  •  02:19 PM
@BousDeuce That sounds good! With something like that I bet you could skip the sugar and just use sweet wort in place of the beer. Hmmmmmmmmmm.... might be on to something there.
November 25, 2013  •  04:36 AM
This looks great. I've been experimenting with spent grains for a while, but haven't used them in as large a quantity. With the smaller loaves it almost seems like "Artisan bread." thanks for posting!
November 25, 2013  •  01:49 PM
You could save your OG sample from your wort and add it to the bread...

Oh and if you mix an egg with a little water you can egg wash the top of the bread to make it shiny and brown nicely.

Or maybe sprinkle a little spent grain on the top to give it a more rustic feel.
November 25, 2013  •  08:44 PM
Love baking bread and love cooking with beer and have made a few loaves with spent grain. Edible but not what I would call a success. Will try your method this week.

In regards to yeast, research "soda" or "beer" bread.
Yeast feeds on the sugars and produces co2 that creates the "rise" and the spaces (bubbles) in the bread.
This can be replaced with baking soda or beer. I have seen chefs erroneously claim the yeast in the beer replaces the yeast you would normally use YET they are using a bottle of filtered and pasteurized megaswill! It is the carbonation of the beer that replaces the carbonation of the yeast and makes for a very good bread that takes under five minutes to prepare (no proving of yeast and waiting for the rise)
November 27, 2013  •  05:21 AM
Tried this with spent grains from a chocolate oatmeal stout and I used a Guinness Black Lager I had sitting out. Came out great! Thanks for the recipe!
December 2, 2013  •  04:30 AM
I've been baking with wet (damp?) and dry grains, both work out well, but with the wet grains you may get a slightly softer loaf.

If you are looking for a hearty crust try using a dutch oven in your oven. Heat the dutch oven in your oven to the required temperature, then with some good pot holders (I use welding gloves) remove the dutch oven and take off the lid. Put the loaf into the dutch oven put the lid on and pop it back into the oven. Bake with the lid on for all but the last 10 minutes when you should remove the lid so the crust has a chance to brown.

The dutch oven retains the steam escaping from the bread which then contributes to a great crust.

If you want to play with yeast I would suggest creating a starter out of the bottom of a bottle of beer and some flour and water. Feed it with flour and water everyday for about a week or until it starts to get active. Then you can use this in place of commercial yeast.

Homegrown yeast will not - unless you are luckier than I produce a quick light rise, so you may want to add a small sprinkle of commercial yeast for a lighter loaf. Homegrown yeast will add more taste to the loaf (often a bit sour) and will make the bread more digestible through enzyme action.

There is nothing I like better than a piece of fresh bread with a good sharp cheese and a pint of beer! If this is what plowmen really ate hook me up with a horse!
December 9, 2013  •  09:22 PM
thats fantastic. i think i might do this with my honey nut ale grains. thanks
December 13, 2013  •  01:30 AM
Any problem with the grain usk? I did the bread and i get some hard stuff between my theet :-)
December 17, 2013  •  10:13 AM
Thanks for sharing this. I tried it yesterday and it came out brilliantly! The mrs loved it.

I used half a bottle of Newcastle Brown ale that was leftover from a recent party. I added some oil to the top of the loaf before baking, and scattered rosemary, time, and some salt and pepper.

Will most certainly do this again.
December 18, 2013  •  04:19 AM
I tried this last weekend. It was my first time making bread. I can't believe how easy it was, the directions are awesome!

Now the wife (and kids!) get a treat out of brew day...
December 19, 2013  •  08:27 PM
I have been doing this for the past couple months to save money/keep swmbo happy/get back into baking, but I have just been using spent grain and the yeast from the bottom of my fermentation buckets that doesnt get recycled into another brew.

The problem that I have run into is that in order to finish baking the bread, the crust gets burnt. I think this may have something to do with the remaining sugars from the malt.

Anybody have any advice on dealing with this problem? Maybe reduce baking temp, but bake longer?
December 19, 2013  •  09:03 PM


Thanks, glad you liked it
December 19, 2013  •  09:04 PM

Have you tried the tip of putting a baking dish full of water in the over with the bread? I've never had that issue using this method.
December 24, 2013  •  06:55 PM
We have pretty Much replaced store bought bread with this. We use our bread machine on Dough cycle and then rise and bake in the oven for a more "traditional" shaped loaf.

1egg+enough H2O to equal 1 1/4 Cups + 2T
3T oil,Butter,margarine pick one we use butter but olive oil works well.
4T Molasses or Honey or 2T of each.
2tsp Salt we use Kosher
2C Wheat flour
1 1/2C Bread flour
You can use all 3 1/2C of wheat or White all wheat will make a more dense hearty bread.
All white as you can imagine will make white bread.
1C dry grain
3tsp yeast we use standard bread yeast from Costco.

Use dough cycle on the bread machine. Put in a loaf pan rise 75min bake 375 30min
January 1, 2014  •  02:05 PM
Time to dig out the bread machine.
January 1, 2014  •  02:18 PM
If you're making a special trip to buy flour for this, buy the bread flour instead of all-purpose flour.
January 4, 2014  •  04:20 PM
Pretty cool. I make a pretty mean loaf of sourdough spent grain bread, although I tend to go a lot lighter on the actual spent grains.

My method and process:
January 8, 2014  •  03:54 PM
So I finally made this with some dry 2 row and crystal 60 grains and a Schlafly Porter and the bread turned out great. It was delicous! The only thing with the way mine turned out was that the inner bread was extremley soft and the outer crust was pretty crispy. Any suggestions for making the outer crust a little softer? Thanks!
January 12, 2014  •  11:44 PM
My Wife made this today, wow it is really good. She tried another recepie yesterday that was a total failure, but this one is great! Thanks
January 13, 2014  •  03:27 PM
I made this over the weekend with the grain from last weekend's Best Bitter brew - MO with a little corn and crystal 40. It worked really well, but gave a very sticky dough, although I made two modifications. A little more flour/less water at the start should fix that.

Firstly, I used a molasses in place of the sugar - this gives a good color to the bread and crust and supports the malt flavor well.

Secondly, I used the hearth bread baking method - start baking at 500F on a pizza stone, and put a cup of boiling water in a tray in the oven. When you put the loaf in, spritz the sides of the oven with water, and repeat that at 30s, 1m and 1m30s, then turn the oven down to 450F to bake. The steam helps keep the crust moist for a while, which slows down the coloration, and allows the bread to spring in the oven.

Thanks for writing up the recipe!
February 23, 2014  •  01:05 PM
Great bread, thanks! The pics really helped a non-baker like myself!

Also, wanted to note that I used US-05 as my yeast. It worked ok, but the dough took longer to double in size. Next time, I'll try some bakers' yeast.

Thanks for the great write up!
March 30, 2014  •  01:59 AM
Great recipe, thanks! I baked bread for a long time before I started homebrewing (love beer and bread so the logical step was to start homebrewing), and this was a good combination. A bit of an odd after-effect with the husks but nothing too bad. The flavor had a slightly bitter tang to it with the batch I used for spent grain. Went VERY well schmeared with some butter and paired with an apple ale.
December 28, 2014  •  01:28 AM
Good stuff, I love it

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