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Spent Grain Bread Recipe

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Spent Grain Bread Crumb

Spent Grain Bread Crumb


If you have friends or family who like to brew their own beer, there is ample opportunity for you to try your hand at spent grain bread. The brewer's spent grain, leftovers from brewing, are called "der Biertreber" in German and the bread made from them is called "Biertreberbrot."

The spent grain is usually added into a regular dough, as nuts or raisins might be added. Its value is increased protein, fiber and taste to any bread dough.

Find a 100% whole wheat version here.

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Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

2 rises, about one hour each: 2 hours

Total Time: 3 hours, 5 minutes

Yield: Makes one loaf, 1 1/2 pounds


  • 1 1/2 c. (160 g.) bread flour or all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. (65 g.) whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. yeast
  • 1 1/2 c. (300 g.) spent grain
  • 2 T. (25 g.) honey, agave or brown sugar
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 small egg (50 g.)
  • 1/2 c. milk (about 100 ml)


Notes: I went to my local microbrewery and asked them for some spent grain. I brought a clean container, which they filled and I picked up in the afternoon after they brewed. Since they have no use for it, it was free, but I gave them a loaf of bread as a thank-you.

Spent grains can be used to feed livestock. They are very nutritious and the protein is easily available to the animals.

Mix all ingredients in a sturdy stand mixer on low until dough comes together in a smooth ball, then knead about 5 minutes. Of course, you can mix this by hand, but it will take a bit longer.

Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, then form into a ball, place into a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour.

Divide dough for two, small loaves (about 12 ounces each) or leave as is for one, larger loaf (about 1 1/2 pounds). Shape into a free-standing batard (video) or loaf pan (video), spray with cooking spray OR dust with flour and cover lightly with plastic wrap or a slightly damp, clean kitchen towel.

Let rise until doubled, about one hour. After about 1/2 hour, preheat your oven, to either 350°F (180°C) for a sandwich loaf in a pan or 450°F (230°C) for a free-standing loaf. If you have a bread stone, use it. A free-standing loaf will be baked with steam in the first 15 minutes of baking, then the oven temperature should be turned down. Read more about preparing your oven for steam here.

Shortly before baking, slash the loaves in your favorite pattern. Bake a loaf pan for 40 minutes or until the inner temperature is at least 200°F (95°C).

Bake a free-standing loaf directly on the bread stone or on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle cornmeal or a little flour on the stone or transfer onto parchment paper and bake on that.

Using steam as described, steam for 10 to 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to about 400°F and bake until the interior of the bread registers at 200°F or higher.

Let bread cool on a rack to ensure air flow all the way around and dry out the bread. Cool at least one half hour before slicing.

Interesting notes on spent grain:

To the comment about no yeast - indeed I did not transfer my notes correctly and yeast was not mentioned in the ingredients. This has been corrected.
Please email me: germanfood@aboutguide.com if you find errors in my recipes. I am happy to correct them. Then give the recipe a rating.

User Reviews

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 2 out of 5
Um...No yeast?, Member mraby

Well, I started to make this before realizing no yeast is mentioned in the recipe...? I was making in a bread machine, so I added 2 tsp bread machine yeast, since that was about right for the volume. It was way too wet and sticky, even though the spent grains were not all that wet, so I ended up adding an extra cup of flour until it became cohesive.

13 out of 16 people found this helpful.

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