beer and food

Spent grain bread again

A while back we wrote a post about using spent grain from brewing to make bread. Tom Fryer, of Oxford Bottled Beer Database, has taken the idea to it’s logical conclusion.


A while back we wrote a post about using spent grain from brewing to make bread, an idea we nicked from Aran Brew.

Tom Fryer, of Oxford Bottled Beer Database, has taken the idea to it’s logical conclusion by replacing the milk with stout. His recipe, and our attempt at it, is after the jump.

Tom writes:

“Recipe for spent grain/unspent grain/beer bread

(Note to self: might need a catchier name)


  • 5 cups of white flour
  • 2.5 cups of spent grain (from a pale ale grist in this case – mostly pale with a dash of crystal)a mixed handful of unused malted grains (as an alternative to mixed seeds – I used pale, crystal and wheat malt)
  • An ounce of fresh baker’s yeast
  • A teaspoon of sugar
  • Most of a 500 ml bottle of stout


  • Mix the flour, spent grain and fresh grain in a warm bowl, then make a big dent in the middle and leave it somewhere warm.
  • Mix the yeast and sugar together in a smaller warm bowl, then add some of the beer (about a quarter to a third).
  • Pour the resulting murky liquid into the dent in the dry ingredients, dust with a bit of flour and leave somewhere warm for 20 minutes or so, by which time the surface of the liquid should be bubbly. This is also a good opportunity to inhale the delicious malty yeastiness
  • Mix up all the ingredients (with or without the help of a small child – only recommended if you have a relaxed attitude to chaos). Use enough beer to make a moist dough (I used a little over 400 ml). Knead it until it leaves the sides of the bowl and your hands (but not the small child) relatively clean. Cover it and leave it in a warm place for about an hour and a half. Remove excess dough from small child’s hands, face, hair and clothing. Finish beer.
  • Show small child how much the ball of dough has grown – this helps to rekindle enthusiasm. Inhale some more.
  • Knead the dough again for a bit (small child stays much cleaner this time), shape it into loaves and place them in warm, lightly greased loaf tins or baking trays. Leave them somewhere warm for another 20 minutes.
  • Place in a hot oven (without help of small child) at around 220°C for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to around 190 for another 30–40 minutes, or until you get a hollow sound when you knock the bottom of the loaf.
  • Cool under a damp tea towel for a softer crust.

I was delighted with the results of this, as were my wife and son, but unfortunately we had invited some friends over that afternoon and they demolished both loaves, so I only managed to eat a couple of slices. Next time I might try increasing the spent grain proportion again, and maybe even see what happens with yeast skimmed off the top of a fermenting beer instead of baker’s yeast – any idea if this is likely to work? I suspect there’s a limit to the number of different beer ingredients you can turn into bread.”

I had a go at Tom’s recipe — like him, I can’t help tinkering with a recipe, so I used 3 cups of plain flour, one cup of wholemeal and one cup of rye. I also used a mix of pumpkin and sunflower seeds instead of grains. We didn’t have fresh yeast, so I used two tsps of dried. Finally, on Tom’s advice, I added a couple of teaspoons of salt.

I also found that I only needed about 300ml of stout (we used one of our homebrews).  I found that the dough didn’t rise much outside the oven, but once in it rose very respectably.  It tasted pretty good — moist and wholesome.  When I do it again, I’ll probably add another tsp of salt and perhaps a tablespoon of honey or even treacle to sweeten the stout a little.

Thanks Tom!

8 replies on “Spent grain bread again”

I enjoy making beer bread and I love the cakey texture of it if you don’t add yeast. I want to spend a weekend experimenting to work out what beer works best – I’m intrigued by big IPAs (maybe with dried tropical fruit in?) and lambics.

Stout cupcakes are pretty good too if you want dessert!

That sounds tasty. I must give this a go. I used the spent grain from a stout mash to make bread there a while back but it wasn’t very nice. Using the actual stout sounds better.

Glad you gave the recipe a go and enjoyed the results. I’ve tried it a couple more times myself too – with tweaks, of course. Dried yeast seems to work just as well as fresh, as do spent grains from different grists, though I think the pale ale grist is my favourite so far. Haven’t tried it with beer yeast yet…

I used the spent grain from my husbands batch of ipa.. I think it was just cracked malted barley… And quite a lot of it! I froze what I haven’t had a chance to bake yet.

I processed my barley in the foodprocesser and added it tony loaf as I wouldcooled oatmeal.


“for another 30–40 minutes, or until you get a hollow sound when you knock the bottom of the loaf.”

I wonder how to knock the bottom of the loaf while it is in the hot oven and baking tin?

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Heh heh. When it’s nearly done, you can slide it out of the tin and it’ll hold its shape. If it needs more time in the oven, you can slide it back in directly on the shelf.

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