Friday, February 15, 2013

I love beer {bread}

Besides making for some tasty chicken feed, providing generous amendments to the compost pile, and mulching the unseen corners of your yard, spent grains (a somewhat unwieldy byproduct of brewing) can also be repurposed into some kick-ass bread.

If you're not a home brewer (or haven't yet made the leap to using grain) there are likely breweries in your vicinity who would be willing to giveaway or sell their spent grains for a pittance.

Step one: procure ingredients.

I tend to use a recipe more as a suggestion than a rule, so while you can exactly follow the recipe linked below (and get very tasty results) I've adapted it to suit my tastes and usually work from memory with approximate measurements. I like to throw in about a cup of spent grains, about a third of a cup of good olive oil, and a tablespoon of course salt in the food processor and pulse them together before adding the water, yeast, and flour to the bucket we use (and reuse) for our dough. I also use about a half a cup less flour than the recipe calls for, depending on the type of flour (about a cup less for whole grain flours like rye and whole wheat).

I've been into bread making for some time now (about six years) and have shifted my process from a more traditional approach to one that involves throwing shit in a bucket and forgetting it for a while. I do sort of miss the kneading from time to time, but if you're interested in a no-knead approach, you should check out this method, which is now the foundation for almost every loaf I bake.

Half the dough + a handful of grain (inside and out).

Preheat the oven (to about 450 degrees) with an empty metal pan on the bottom rack and an unglazed ceramic tile in the middle (the latter of which you can pick up at the hardware store). These two things, plus the cup of water you throw in the hot pan really make a difference in the final quality of the bread and are both called for in the method I use

Rest, lightly covered, for at least 30 minutes.
When your bucket is empty, you can remix it right away, scraping any leftover dough into the new mix, which gives the final loaf even more tasty character. Although it doesn't usually sit around that long, the dough can be kept in the fridge for about a week, and takes on nice sourdough characteristics the longer it sits.

No, really. Wait.

I'm sort of over the moon about this bread. You can flatten out the dough and roll the grains up inside if you want less intense flavor from the grains and more "bread" flavor. Mixing it directly into the dough mixture is also very good, but much more beer-y tasting.

Seriously, if you've never made you're own bread, this is the recipe to try. It's definitely worth the relatively small amount of trouble. My debt to all equally enthusiastic and inebriated bread eaters is now paid in full. Let me know if you try it out and if you enjoy your efforts.



P.S. If you've encountered my beer bread at any of the recent tastings I've attended, please note my bread making efforts tend to take a nose dive in warmer weather, so enjoy it while it lasts.

Much love,

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...