5 classic savory spent grain recipes to please the beer lover

THE 5 BEST SAVORY SPENT GRAIN RECIPES

In an earlier post, I spoke about the nutritional value of so-called spent grain, and why you should re-use this ingredient, abundant at a home brewer’s place. In that article you I gave you 5 amazing recipes for sweet baked goods explaining what kind of spent grain to use, and how to use it, depending on the recipe. In this post I wanted to share with you my favorite savory spent grain recipes that will please any beer lover.  To be served with the appropriate homebrew. Cheers!

1. Easy spent grain breadBread is an essential and versatile savory spent grain recipe

The high fiber contents in spent grain will produce a type of bread that’s dense and nutritious. This is precisely what I like about this bread, and there is a higher proportion of spent grain in this recipe than in the pizza dough. By processing the spent grain more finely, you will make a slightly smoother dough that will rise better. You can make spent grain bread with any type of malt, even dark roasted grain brings an interesting rustic and comfort taste. You want to enjoy this bread with pungent cheeses, smoked meat or fish, or pickled anything. It is easy to make because this recipe is designed for quick baker’s yeast.

USE WET SPENT GRAIN

ANY OF YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF MALT

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INGREDIENTS – for 2 small/ medium loaves

1 and 1/2 cups spent grain of your choice, processed in 1/2 cup water

2 cups unbleached white flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 package baker’s yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)

1 and 1/2 cups lukewarm water

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STEPS

1. Process in a blender as finely as you’d like the spent grain with 1/2 cup of water.

2. Test the yeast – mix the package in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water with 2 tablespoons of the spent grain mixture.

3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine both flours, the processed spent grain, and all the rest of the ingredients and mix at slow speed. Add more water if needed.

4. Let the dough rise at least 2 hours at room temperature, 72F degrees or more, in a large, oiled glass or ceramic bowl, covered with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel.

5. Punch the dough and shape into 2 loaves.

6. Bake at 350F for 45 to 60 minutes. The bread is done when the internal temperature reaches 190 to 200F degrees.

2. Brewer’s pizza doughPizza takes a whole new level of fun and enjoyment with this spent grain recipe

A match made in heaven. Beer and pizza. The benefits of using spent grain for homemade pizza dough, besides adding nutritious value and fibers to your favorite dish, consist of using the malt’s natural residual sugar to activate the yeast in the dough. My favorite toppings include fresh mozzarella, capers, artichoke hearts, roasted red bell peppers, kalamata olives, San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh basil, or fresh oregano that grows in my garden in the summer time but by all means, indulge in all your favorite pizza ingredients. I like to lightly brush the pizza rim with olive oil before serving, it will make it look so appetizing.

Added tip: make sure your oven is really hot, 500F degrees, and that the stone is well preheated for your pizza crust will be crusty on the outside and softer on the inside.

USE WET SPENT GRAIN

PALE MALT FROM A LAGER IS PERFECT

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INGREDIENTS – for 2 medium size pizzas

2 cups spent grain

1/2 to 2/3 cup water

4 cups unbleached white flour

1 package of dry baker’s yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)

1/4 cup olive oil

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STEPS

1. Blend the spent grain with the water in a food processor until it is as smooth as you can get it.

2. In a large bowl, add the flour and the olive oil to the grain mixture and knead well. Add water if needed. If you own a stand mixer, this is a good time to use it. The dough should be elastic and not too sticky.

3. Transfer the dough in an oiled glass or ceramic bowl, large enough to allow the dough to rise. Make sure the temperature of your room is at least 72F degrees – refer to the yeast manufacturer’s instructions. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel, as yeast works better in the dark. Let the dough rest for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

4. Roll the dough with a rolling pin or shape it with your hands.

3. “Wunder” spent grain pretzelsSpent grain pretzels are the perfect companion to homebrew

Another classic match for beer lovers, a must among the spent grain recipes, because you have to have pretzels and because it’s fun to prepare. Using the same principle as for the pizza dough – the residual sugar contained in the spent grain will naturally make the pretzel dough rise, and provide a wonderful (you said wunderschön?) sweeter flavor. My dad who was born in Alsace always told me they would use coffee to brown pretzels in his region. Industrial pretzels are commonly browned with Sodium Hydroxide, a caustic liquid. Baking pretzels requires a bit of practice to get the hang of it, and I know the home brewer in you will enjoy baking this classic savory snack with a sustainable twist. Although spent grain from roasted malt would work, I prefer to stick to the clean, biscuit profile of a pale malt.

If you’re interested in learning about the history of pretzels, you will find fact a few fun facts here.

USE WET SPENT GRAIN

PALE MALT FROM A LAGER

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INGREDIENTS – for 8 pretzels

1 and 1/2 cups spent grain

1 cup of water at room temperature

3 cups unbleached flour

1 cup of warm water (100F degrees)

1 package of dry baker’s yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)

2 Tablespoons melted butter

2/3 cup baking soda

10 cups water for boiling

1 egg yolk

1/3 cup coffee

Pretzel salt or coarse kosher salt

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STEPS

1. In a blender, process the spent grain with 1 cup of water as smooth as possible. Small pieces of grain are OK.

2. In a stand mixer, combine yeast, 1 cup of warm water and about 2 tablespoons of the processed spent grain. When the yeast starts to bubble, after 5 minutes or so, add the processed spent grain, flour, and melted butter. Mix well with the hook attachment on low speed until the dough is very smooth and elastic.

3. Let the dough rest at least an hour in a large bowl, slightly oiled with vegetable oil, covered with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel to allow the fermentation to take place in the dark. It should double in size.

4. Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

5. Bring 10 cups of water with 2/3 cup of baking soda to a gentle boil in a wide stock pot.

6. On a slightly oiled surface, divide the dough in 8, and shape your pretzels. That’s my favorite part.

7. Poach each pretzel, one at a time for 30 seconds, use a slotted spoon or a spatula to transfer the pretzels to the cookie sheet. Beat the egg yolk with the coffee and brush the pretzels. Sprinkle with coarse salt and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

4. Rich spent grain falafelThese spent grain falafels are as delicious as nutritious

Arguably one of the most comforting and satisfying VEGAN dishes out there. Vastly popular in all the Middle Eastern countries, it has been increasingly prepared and enjoyed in America outside of traditional Arab neighborhoods. No one is really sure where and how this famed street food originated. Most likely in Egypt, and might a fairly recent, i.e. 19th cehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falafelntury-old culinary invention. You will find hundreds of different variations of this dish, pretty much structured around the same 3 basic ingredients – legumes/ herbs and-or veggies/ spices. Israeli and Palestinians prefer chickpea-based falafels, whereas other Middle-Eastern recipes use fava beans, or a combination or chickpeas and beans. Be creative and try blending low water content veggies, such as carrots, cauliflowers, turnips. Parsley, onion and garlic are the classic fresh herb and fresh spices for falafel, but you may use cilantro to give it an exotic taste … falafels are spiced with cumin, coriander seeds, … and turmeric or ginger could give the recipe a nice twist. For heat, a touch or cayenne pepper could work perfectly. Grains are a nice textural addition and will contribute to a nutty character. That’s why some recipes include cracked wheat, aka bulgur, or sesame seeds. Here, we’ll use spent grains.

This version is a blend of intense, fresh taste of herbs and spices with the richer texture of the grains added to the traditional chickpea base. By using chickpea flour, you will make this gluten-free. I suggest you enjoy these falafels in a pita bread sandwich, with sliced cucumber, tomatoes, pickled turnips, lettuce, and tahini or yogurt sauce. You will find the recipes for both sauces is below.

USE WET SPENT GRAIN

ANY MALT TYPE, EXCEPT TOO DARK

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INGREDIENTS – for about 25 falafels

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 small bunch of parsley, coarsely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1/2 teaspoon ground red chile pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup dry chick peas

1 cup wet spent grain

2 tablespoons chickpea flour (or regular flour if you need to substitute)

Oil for frying – peanut or vegetable oil

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STEPS

1. Soak the chick peas in enough cold water to cover them 2 inches higher. Leave them for about 24 hours at room temperature. Drain well and set aside.

2. In a blender, process the onion, parsley, garlic and all the spices until finely, and evenly chopped.

3. Add the chick peas and spent grain to the blender. Process until obtaining a crumbly mixture. Do not over process.

4. Pour the mixture in a large bowl, and blend in the chick pea (or regular) flour. Refrigerate for about an hour.

5. Shape the falafels with a small ice scream scoop or melon baller, the size of a small golf ball, or with 2 regular spoons, if you prefer oval shape falafels, or in the shape of small patties, if you like them more crispy.

6. Deep-fry in oil at 350F for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. falafel patties may alternatively be pan fried.

The falafel mixture can be prepared ahead of time, the day before or can even be frozen.

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Yogurt SauceYogurt sauce for Falafel with mint and dill

1/2 cup Greek yogurt or Labneh

1/2 lemon juice

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon fresh dill, finely chopped (optional)

Using a blender, mix the yogurt with the lemon juice to get a smooth sauce. Add the chopped dill, and mix with a spoon.

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Tahini SauceOne of the best spent grain recipes is falafel with tahini yogurt

1/2 cup tahini

1/2 lemon juice

1 clove of garlic, crushed

Salt to taste

Using a blender, mix all the ingredients to get a smooth sauce. Add a couple of tablespoons of cold water or more if the sauce is too thick.

5. Best spent grain veggie burgersSpent grain recipes like this veggie burger deliver tons of taste and texture

As we hear about meat shortages because of the pandemic, it only makes sense to explore plant-based options. This recipe can be VEGAN. Three key elements to making great veggie burgers. One: create texture. By playing with beans, veggies and grains, we will get what we’re looking for. Two: use a variety of vegetables for taste and color. It’s important to roast them to remove the excess moisture, to bring out the taste. Three: look for that umami taste. In this recipe, it comes from the spices, mushrooms and soy sauce.

USE SPENT GRAIN, WET AND PRESSED

ANY ROASTED MALT SUCH AS FROM A PALE OR BROWN ALE

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INGREDIENTS – for about 8 burgers

1/2 Red bell pepper, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 cup Red onion

1 Small carrot, sliced

1/2 cup red beet cut in small cubes

1/2 cup Mushrooms, sliced

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Teaspoons ground chile

1 Teaspoon paprika (smoked if you have any)

2 cups Black beans, well drained

1 Large egg (replace with a little water to make it vegan)

1 Tablespoon Tomato paste

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 cup Spent grain

1/2 cup corn flour (for vegan recipe, or use regular flour instead)

Black pepper to taste

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STEPS

1. Turn on the oven at 350F degrees.

2. In a food processor, blend all the veggies red bell pepper, garlic, onion, carrot, mushrooms, red beet with the paprika, ground chile, and the olive oil until coarsely ground.

3. On 2 separate, slightly oiled iron skillets or cookie sheets, spread the veggies on an even layer on one sheet, the beans on the other. Roast the veggies in the oven for 15 minutes, stir with a spatula and roast for another 15 minutes. Roast the black beans for 15 minutes.

4. In the food processor, blend roasted veggies and black beans with the rest of the ingredients – egg, tomato paste, soy sauce, spent grain and flour. Do not over process, to respect the texture.

5. Shape into burgers. Optional: let rest in the fridge for an hour.

6. Fry in a pan with a little olive oil, or cook on the grill.

These burgers will freeze easily if you wish to make them ahead of time and keep them for a later feast. Enjoy with your

Final thoughts on savory spent grain recipes

Please try these recipes and let me know how it turns out for you, so feel free to share below. I hope you enjoy the results. I suggest you experiment with different spent grains and find out for yourself what style you prefer.

For me, it is very satisfying to transform beautiful spent grain into delicious and healthy savory dishes, and a celebration of the whole beer brewing experience, definitely a wonderful continuation of personally creating food and drinks. Think of all the work that was invested into producing the malts, and how much you need to make beer at home, including water, grain accounts for about 20% of the weight of all ingredients needed, so it’s a shame to compost all of it when you can bake or cook with it.

Enjoy the process, and share!

Cheers and to our health.

Vincent

2 thoughts on “THE 5 BEST SAVORY SPENT GRAIN RECIPES”

  1. I enjoy cooking a lot and with the current stay at home order, I’ve had the opportunity to spend more time in my kitchen. I’ve been trying to try out new recipes and this post has been very helpful on that. The meals featured in this post look quite delicious and since I have most of the ingredients listed, I’ll be sure to give them a try. 

    Reply
    • Thanks for stopping by and reading my recipes.  If you don’t have any spent grain handy – I suggest you try to substitute with whole wheat flour, or you may ask a local craft brewery to give you some.  The third option, of course,… is to start making your own beer. 

      Cheers,

      Vincent

      Reply

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