Spent Grain Bread

This is one for the home brewers out there.  Over the past few years, we have been playing with making no-knead, artisanal breads.  The bread is easy to make, and is delicious.  The best part about this bread is the no-knead part.  Simply mix the dough and let it sit.  That’s it.  Nothing else.  Well, nothing other than baking it.

The twist that we have now is that I am doing All Grain brewing.  That means that after a brew day I have 12+ pounds of grains (mostly malted barley but sometimes with corn and/or wheat and/or oats thrown in) that usually end up in our backyard composter.  These “spent” grains can be used (in moderation) to create a great bread.


  • 1.1/2 C Lukewarm Water
  • 2.1/4 tsp yeast
  • 2.1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2.3/4 C All Purpose, Unbleached Flour
  • 1/4 C Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 C Rye Flour
  • 3/4 C Spent Grains

Mix together the water, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl.  Let it stand for 5 minutes.  Add in the flour and the spent grain and stir to make a sticky dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size.  This could be anywhere from two to four hours.  That’s it.  No kneading.

When you are ready to bake the bread, place a cast iron dutch oven in the oven and turn it on to 450-500 degrees Farenheit.  Don’t worry if you don’t have the dutch oven.  A pizza stone will do.  If you are using a pizza stone, place a shallow baking pan on the lower rack at the same time, and when you are putting the bread in the oven, add 1 cup of water to the lower pan to create steam.

Sprinkle your sticky dough with flour so you can handle it.  Fold the dough into itself to create a tight ball.  You may need additional flour to prevent sticking.  Coat a pizza peel (or cutting board) with corn meal and drop the ball of dough on top.  Once the oven is heated, remove the dutch oven (or pizza stone) and coat it with corn meal.  Drop the dough on the corn meal coated dutch oven.  Sprinkle the dough with flour and make three or four slits in the top of the dough.  This will allow the bread to expand.  Cover the dutch oven and place in the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes with the cover on the dutch oven.  Remove the cover and bake for an additional 18-23 minutes, until the bread sounds hollow when you tap on it.  Remove the bread from the oven and cool on a rack.

As hard as it sounds, wait until the bread cools completely before slicing.  The bread is great as is or toasted.  Hope you enjoy it.

Note: If you don’t have spent grains, you can always add a 1/4 C of dry Red River Cereal or any other cereal grain.  As well, herbs and / or spices can be added.  We enjoy adding crushed caraway seeds for that traditional rye bread aroma and taste.

Spent Grain Bread

Spent Grain Bread


From Extract to All Grain – Part 2 – BIAB

With my new all grain equipment in place, the next thing to do is christen it with a brew.  For the first brew, I decided on an IPA recipe from the Brooklyn Brewshop Beer Book.  The recipe, Everyday IPA is a good starting point for me, plus the hops correspond to what I have on hand. (Note: This has got to be one of the best brews I have made – both great taste and aroma, but more on that in a later post)

Brew in a bag (BIAB) is a fairly cost-effective method to get into all grain brewing.  The equipment is simple – your basic brewing gear plus a brew kettle and nylon / polyester bag fitted to your brew kettle.  The grains are mashed in the bag in the kettle and then removed and drained.  From there you proceed with your typical boil.  There’s lots of information out there, but the BIAB Brewer Info page is a good place to start.

With brews two (Propeller ESB Clone) and three (Blonde Ale) now completed, I’m starting to see a pattern here.  My mash efficiencies are somewhere between 80% and 85% but my overall “into fermentor” efficiency is in between 63% and 65%.  Hopefully with a few tweaks I can bump that up to 70-75% and be happy.  I suspect the problem lies with my volume measurements in my keggle.

Brew Day Pictures

Brew Day Pictures