This is a short how-to on how I process spent beer grains from home-brewing beer into a healthful, tasty, and inexpensive ingredient I can use in bread, cornbread, stews, and even cakes and cookies. I buy and use grains for making beer, so this product is essentially free, as well as full of delicious sugars, calories, and digestible fiber. You will need a food processor and a food dehydrator to do this properly, although your oven might substitute for the dehydrator in a pinch.
Step 1: Getting your Grains
The spent grains will initially look like this, wet from the beer-brewing process. I have had good success freezing them immediately after brewing for future reference, but this adds another step to the process since you must first warm the grains to room temperature before processing them further. For a few pounds of grain frozen into a block the warming step involves leaving them on a cookie sheet at room temperature for a day or so.
Step 2: Dry the grains first
I spread the grains into the drier in a relatively thick layer -- say a quarter inch or so. On my drier, it typically takes only 8-10 hours to dry the grains to a nice crispy turn. If you leave it running overnight or while you're at work you should be fine. Most dehydrators use a screen to hold the drying items. You'll have to spread the grains on newspaper or waxed paper to keep them from falling through when they're finished.
Step 3: Get the grain out of the drier
The dried grains will shrink and lighten in color. You can remove them and put them into a bowl.
Step 4: Remove grains from drier
This is what you'll have after the drier has run. The grains stick together lightly, but you should be able to crumble them in your fingers.
Step 5: Load the dried grains into your food processor
I usually fill my food processor about 3/4 full of dried spent grain. Of course, you want to use the big steel 'blender blade' for this.