Beer Draf Crackers

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Introduction: Beer Draf Crackers

The home brewing of beer is a very rewarding hobby, but to me it has a very major downside: the waste.

The most recipes for 20L of beer require around 5 to 7 kg of grains. These rains get crushed and seeped in hot water to extract most sugars and proteins from it. After that, the sugary grain-extract is drained from the grains and further processed into beer by boiling with hops and fermentation. But the the grains (now called draf: the 'depleted' grains) serve no purpose anymore even though there are still some valuable nutrients in them.

In industrial breweries, it is often arranged to have a farmer pick up the draf as cattle feed or even processed into a substrate for growing mushrooms (link). I myself have regularly donated the draf to a small flock of chickens or the compost bin, but I still felt I could do more.

Then one day as I was drinking some home brew and eating some salty crackers, the idea struck me: Make some crackers from the beerdraf that was used for the brewing of the beer you are drinking it with. A stroke of genius

Supplies

Tools

  • Blender
  • Oven
  • bowl
  • dough roller
  • pizza cutter (optional)
  • baking paper

Ingredients

  • fresh beer draf
  • wheat flour
  • water
  • yeast
  • salt
  • flavouring such as rosemary, oregano, curry, paprika,...

Step 1: Dry the Beer Draf

I have tried to make crackers from wet draf, but in order to have the best result you'll have to dry your beer draf right after being drained of most of the water. Since I am still 'trapped' in the kitchen processing the rest of my beer and cleaning up for the next hour or two, I do this while the brewing process is still busy.

  1. heat the oven to 90°C on the hot air function
  2. spread the wet draf in a thin layer (maximum 1cm thick) on several trays in the oven
  3. stir regularly until the draf is completely dried out

This step would be even better with a food dehydrator, but I don't own one, so the oven is the second best choice.

The drying is necessary in order to have the dried draf mix better in the blender, but also it makes it easier to know how much water to add in the recipe. Furthermore, by drying the grains, they will keep much longer if you don't have time to proces them immediately into crackers. The draf tends to spoil within a timespan of hours.

Step 2: Mixing the Draf

Once the draf is dry, it can be added to the blender and blended fine. You want to preserve a bit of texture, so don't blend too fine.

Alternatively, you can blend to a fine powder and then add a bit of unblended draf for the texture. Don't be afraid to experiment with it.

Step 3: Making the Dough

  1. Take 50g of dry blended draf
  2. add 50g of wheat flour
  3. add 80mL of water
  4. add 5g yeast
  5. add 4g salt (maybe a bit less, if you're not salt-loving)
  6. add flavouring ingredients.(see below)
  7. kneed to a tough ball. It should have a clay-like consistency
  8. let it 'rise' for 20-30 minutes.

The dough won't rise that much because it is pretty stiff and salty.

Once the consistency is good and everything is thoroughly mixed, you can taste a bit of the dough and add more flavouring or more 'virgin' dough according to your taste

FLAVOURING INGREDIENTS:

Curry Oregano

this is one of my favourites, add 8g curry powder and 8g oregano. Rosemary instead of oregano also works very well!

Paprika

add 10g of paprika powder. (to me 8g tasted a little bland, so therefore 10g)

Salt

add another 3g of coarse salt

Step 4: Bake the Dough

Preheat the oven to 200°C

  1. After letting the dough rest for 20 to 30 minutes flatten it to a pancake with your dough roller to a thickness less than 0.5 cm thick.
  2. cut grooves in the pancake to make easily breakable rectangles. These will be the edges of the crackers I did this wit a pizza cutter, but lightly cutting it with a knife will work equally well.
  3. let the dough rest for 15 minutes, (this is theoretically a second rise)
  4. bake the dough for 15-30 minutes, the time it takes will depend on the thickness of the pancake you rolled. when the crackers are crispy and break with a snap, they are ready.
  5. Let them cool
  6. Serve your awesome draf cookies with the beer that was brewed with that same draf like the awesome cook your know you are!
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