Sourdough With Spent Beer Grains


Beer and bread go hand-in-hand. They are both delicious, and both rely on the fermentation of grains for everything to come together just right. I have been brewing beer at home for several years now and like bread, it's something that takes practice to get dialled in. It does take a bit of work and you need some supplies/tools but, if done well, the end result is totally worth it. When brewing beer you "mash" the grains in hot water which essentially converts the starches into sugar and then you end up with a very sweet tasting liquid called a "Wort". You then bring the sugary water to a boil and add the dried hops at different times for different effects. The longer the hops boil the more bitter the beer becomes. After the boil is done you cool down the liquid to room temperature and add the yeast. The yeast then feeds on the sugars and the fermentation begins! A couple of weeks later you can bottle or keg your beer and then after waiting just a bit longer it's good to drink... That was a very basic overview, but hopefully that made a bit of sense.

After I'm done with the grains I typically have about 5.5 kgs of soggy grains sitting in a bucket. Usually this gets composted or put in our "green waste" bin that the municipality picks up. But lately I've been scooping off some of the spent grains and baking them into my Sourdough breads! The flavour is quite nice, sort of "nutty", and definitely makes a very hearty loaf. Since the grains are milled very roughly, it gives the loaf a pretty distinct texture as well.

Ingredients

  • 280g (70%) Anita's All-Purpose Flour

  • 120g (30%) Nunweilers Red Fife Wheat

  • 280g (70%) Water

  • 80g (20%) Levain

  • 8g (2%) Salt

  • 120g (30%) Spent Beer Grains (These were from a Porter)

Process

9:30am- Levain Build with 15g Starter, 45g Water, 45g Flour (75% White, 25% Dark Rye. But use whatever your starter likes.)

1:00pm- Autolyse with 270g of the water 2:00pm- Mix in 80g of Levain

2:30pm- Mix in Salt  with 10g of water

3:00pm- Coil Fold

3:30pm- Laminate the grains into dough

4:00pm- Coil Fold

4:30pm- Coil Fold

5:30pm- Coil Fold

8:00pm- Shape and put into Banneton. Cover with a plastic bag and put the dough into the fridge overnight

8:00am- Preheat Challenger Pan to 500°F

8:30am- Bake at 450°F for 20 minutes with the lid on and then 22 minutes with the lid off.



Notes:

  • Be careful with the hydration on these loaves. I usually stay lower than I would like to but by the end I'm glad I did. I have had a couple disasters when the beer grains were holding more water than I expected!

  • If you prefer you can also add the beer grains at the same time as the salt. Occasionally I will incorporate them this way and still get great results, but I find laminating them into the dough helps prevent the dough from tearing too much.

  • The flavour on this one is much more pronounced because it is an "extract and grain" recipe. (I know, I know, I cheated on this brew. It's kind of the equivalent of baking bread with yeast instead of a sourdough starter...but life got busy and I can wrap up one of these brew days while the kids are still napping). I generally brew "All Grain" batches and use the grains from those for baking.

Here's a quick video demonstrating the lamination process. The video is from the Cinnamon Raisin loaf (Link HERE), but the concept is the same with any of the loaves I laminate.

Your fermentation times may vary depending on a lot of different factors. Use these times for the folding and the duration of the Bulk Fermentation only as a guideline. What worked for me may need to be tweaked a little bit for your bake.

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