Grains have to two lives. Happy and full of life before it goes into the wort. Then after the mash, the grains become spent grains where the majority of their life force has been drained. But not all. This is where their second life begins. Many brewers typically donate these grains to local farms to use as cattle feed. Which kind of makes you think about grain-fed cattle if you really think about it. I will chose to ignore that for now.
However, if you are a home brewer or someone like me who goes to breweries’ doors with a bucket like it is craft beer Halloween, you may be able to get a second life out of the grains if you are willing to dehydrate and mill them in a long a grueling process that doesn’t work out in an apartment kitchen too well. I wished I could afford to rent out a production kitchen. After you have dried and milled grains, you have yourself some spent grain flour. You can feel good about yourself knowing that you are recycling and reusing!
Now spent grains are for the most part soulless. Meaning that the majority of the flavor and gluten went into the wort when making beer. That doesn’t mean we can’t use these grains. It just means we need the assistance of a flour with more gluten abilities. All purpose flour is satisfactory. Also, we will be integrating a little bit of wet grains into the recipe. You don’t have to process the grains whatsoever. Just take a cup strain from the mash and add it to your flour. This is going to add some texture to a bread.
Cloudburst Winter Warmer and Chocolate Chips
You can use the spent grains to make bread loaves. However, it wouldn’t be Baking Brew if we didn’t make this as a beer bread. Which brings up an interesting question: does making bread with spent grain flour and a lack of beer still count as making beer bread? These are questions that keep me up at night.
Our spent grains and craft beer for this recipe come from Cloudburst Brewing in Belltown, Seattle. Steve Luke, head brewer and owner of Cloudburst is no amateur when it comes to beer. This former brewer from Elysian Brewing Company and creator of fan favorites such as Space Dust IPA created his own Fortress of Solitude where he can spend most of his time focusing on producing great beer.
Definitely Your Father’s Winter Warmer is a winter warmer. Unlike the basic beer bread we made with the red ale, the winter warmer provides a similar feeling but with a bigger punch. Where the red ale is a great middle ground for basic beer breads, so too does the winter warmer work in a similar manner. However, let’s compliment the warmth with some sweetness. In this recipe, we will add some chocolate chips. Just because we are adding sweetness to the bread, do not confuse this with a cake where we would need the addition of milk and eggs. This still very much tastes likes bread, just with subtle notes of sweetness.
This is a simple beer bread that anyone can make and is a great starting point for starting your beer baking journey. If sweet isn’t your thing, try the basic beer bread where we use a Cloudburst red ale. Good luck in the kitchen and bake with beer!
- Combine dry flours with baking powder and salt and sift. Add the wet grains, chocolate chips, and winter warmer and mix into a wet lumpy dough.
- Lightly grease or butter a loaf pan. Pour dough into pan and place in the oven for 50 minutes at 350º F. Let bread cool before slicing.