Re-used Spent Grains: Re-diculously Delicious
Whether you’re steeping grains for an extract brew or mashing in an all-grain system there are usually a lot of grains involved. Grains add color, body and flavor to every brew but their usefulness doesn’t need to end there. Even after the wort is made, the spent grains have leftover fiber, protein, minerals, vitamins and essential amino acids waiting to be used anywhere but the landfill. Beer and food tend to go hand in hand and that is why I recommend incorporating spent grains from your kettle into your kitchen recipes.
The most economical way to prepare spent grains after a brew day is by oven-drying. Simply place the spent grains thinly (1/4” high at most) and evenly over several cookie sheets and place in an oven at the lowest temperature setting (140-200 degrees Fahrenheit) until completely dry (usually 7 hours). It is important to note that baking at a higher temperature may decrease the time necessary but may result in undesired flavors. Once the grains are completely dry to the touch, run them through a coffee grinder or food processor until they’re a fine powder. This is known as “spent grain flour” and should be stored in a clean, dry container until intended for use.
If you don’t have a grinder or processor you can still reuse your spent grains. Dry and store them as described above. This grain will be thicker in size and add a crunchier texture but still impart the same flavor profile.
Now for the fun part, take a look at your recipes that require flour and consider incorporating some of your spent grains into those recipes. Keep in mind spent grains range from light brown to black in color and should not be used in baking recipes that require a white finish. By substituting only 10% of a recipe’s traditional flour with spent grain, the benefits are obvious. Spent grain increases the protein and fiber by 50%, the essential amino acids by 10%, and decreases the overall calories by ~7%. So not only does spent grain allow you to reuse your grain but it also creates healthier food options for you and your home.
Using spent grains in cooking is still a growing concept of innovation and resourcefulness. The options are endless so if you want to add a unique flare to your next meal put some spent grain in it, you may like how it turns out. To accompany my homebrew I use my spent grains to bake savory pretzels. Feel free to try out my recipe.
Jim’s Savory Pretzel Recipe
13 ½ cups water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
3 teaspoons kosher salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup spent grains*
¾ cup baking soda
2 whole eggs
*spent grain were 2-row, pale wheat, rice hulls, and dehusked carafa III
Create the dough
1. Stir 1 ½ cups warm water, brown sugar, dry yeast, and butter in a bowl until it becomes foamy. Let sit for 5 minutes.
2.In the same bowl stir in salt, flour and spent grains until dough is smooth (~5 minutes)
3. In a different bowl (of similar size) lightly coat with vegetable oil. Create dough balls and add them to the bowl.
4. Cover bowl with damp cloth and leave in a warm area for 1 hour
5. When the hour is over preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
Create the bath
6. Add 12 cups of water to a large pot and add baking soda. Then bring pot to a boil.
Create the egg wash
7. Beat eggs in 1 tablespoon cold water (you will use to coat the pretzels before baking)
Create the Pretzel
8. Divide dough equally (should make ~12 pretzels) and fold pretzels how you wish
9. Boil pretzels in the bath for 30 seconds (this will create a savory outer layer)
10. Transfer pretzels to baking sheet. Then coat heavily with egg wash (and kosher salt if you desire)
11. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes
12.Enjoy with a cold homebrew!