This German recipe for spent grain bread is made with the brewer's spent grain, leftovers from brewing, known as der biertreber. The bread made from them is known as biertreberbrot.
The spent grain is usually added into a regular dough, along with optional nuts or raisins, which produces a bread with increased protein, fiber, and taste.
If you have friends or family who like to brew their own beer, let them save the spent grain for you to try your hand at this bread recipe. Here is a 100% whole-wheat version.
- 1 1/2 cups/160grams bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 1/2 cup/65 grams flour (whole-wheat)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 1/2 cups/300 grams spent grain
- 2 tablespoons honey (or agave or brown sugar)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small egg
- 1/2 cup/100 milliliters milk
Make the Dough
- In the bowl of a sturdy stand mixer, add flours, salt, yeast, spent grain, honey, butter, egg, and milk.
- Mix on low speed until dough comes together and forms a smooth ball, then knead about 5 minutes. Of course, you can mix this by hand, but it will take a bit longer.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, then shape into a ball, place into a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour.
Shaping the Dough
- Divide dough in half for two small loaves (about 12 ounces each) or leave as is for one larger loaf (about 1 1/2 pounds).
- Shape into a batard on a parchment-lined baking sheet or place in a loaf pan that has been coated with cooking spray.
- Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap or a slightly damp, clean kitchen towel.
- Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. After about 30 minutes, heat your oven to either 350 F (180 C) for a loaf in a pan or 450 F (230 C) for a hand-shaped batard. If you have a bread stone, place it in the oven now.
Baking a Batard
- A batard will be baked with steam in the first 15 minutes, then the oven temperature should be turned down. Read more about preparing your oven for steam here.
- Shortly before baking, slash the loaves in your favorite pattern.
- If using a bread stone, dust it with cornmeal and carefully transfer the risen batard(s) to the stone using a peel, if you have one. Otherwise, bake it on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
- Using steam as described, for 10 to 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to about 400 F and bake until the interior of the bread registers at 200 F or higher.
- Cool at least 30 minutes on a wire rack before slicing.
Baking a Loaf Pan
- Slash the top of the loaf and bake for 40 minutes or until the inner temperature is at least 200 F (95 C).
- Let bread cool on a rack to ensure air flows all the way around and dries out the bread. Cool at least 30 minutes before slicing.
Other Places to Find Spent Grain
If no one you know makes their own beer, go to a local microbrewery and ask for some.
I did. I brought a clean container which they gladly filled. Since they have no use for it, it was free, but I gave them a loaf of bread as a thank you!
Some breweries give their spent grain to local pig and cattle farms to feed the livestock. The grain is very nutritious and an easily digestible protein.
Spent grain also is being used to create biofuel.