Using spent grains from the beer brewing process for baking bread.
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Step 1: Ingredients
Baking bread with spent grains, requires you to get spent grains from somewhere. If you're not in the lucky position to be a all grain homebrewer like me and many others around the world, you might consider becoming one. It's very rewarding.
Let's get serious again. If you know a homebrewer, ask him or go to a brew pub or a microbrewery. You could ask in a homebrew supply shop as well.
For two breads, you need something in the range of 1-2 cups wet spent grains. I dried two cookie trays about half a inch thick. This will be enough for 5-6 breads. I set the oven to 100C / 212F first to let it dry. This takes a couple of hours with a spoon in the oven door to let the moisture out. Next time, i will let it dry under the sun to conserve energy.
When it's dry, i raise the temperature to 170C / 340 F for around 15-30 minutes to roast it a little bit. Maybe it's a good idea to take some of the unroasted grains to compare the color. Just roast it lightly, otherwise it will get burnt and bitter.
As a next step, i ground up the dried spent grains a little bit. Otherwise, there are whole husks in your bread and they will stick between your teeth.
spent grains 50g / 1.8 oz
sesame seeds 50g / 1.8 oz
bread flour 500g / 17.6 oz / 1.1 lb
active dried yeast 1-2g / 15-30 Grains (0.5-1 teaspoon)
salt 16g / 0.56 oz (2.5 teaspoons)
water 390ml / 13.2 fl oz
I also roasted the sesame seeds a little bit in order to enhance the flavour. As you can see on the pictures, the roasting darkened the seeds only slightly. (Roasting nuts, grains and seeds enhances the flavour in cooking and baking. The seeds, that are on the crust get roasted while baking, but the crumb won't get hotter than 100C / 212F so they don't roast)
Try to get your hands on a strong gluten-rich bread flour, you can look for a 11-13% protein content.
Step 2: Making the Preferment
Making a preferment enhances the flavour, the texture, the keeping quality of a bread and it helps to soak the dried spent grains.(Or other coarsly ground grains and dry ingredients)
This preferment is a so called "poolish", it's a yeast only preferment. Most preferments use a mixture of yeast and lactic and acetic bacteria, but these are called sourdoughs.
If you want to go deeper into the details, i can recommend 2 books in english. One is "Bread" by Jeffrey Hamelman, the other is "Crust and Crumb" by Peter Reinhart.
I intend to do a instructable on the topic later on, but anyone really interested should consider one of these books.
Since i'm somewhat lazy, i use a bread maker to mix, knead and ferment most small batch doughs. (Mine works up to around 500g / 1lb flour)
But of course you can mix the ingredients with a spoon and knead the dough by hand. That's how i started as well. Later i used a hand mixer with kneading hooks. After breaking a couple of those hooks, i got a Kenwood kitchen machine. It kneads up to 1500g / 3lb flour doughs and is very sturdy.
Add the spent grains the sesame seeds and half the flour 250g / 8.8 oz into a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over it and add the lukewarm water to it.
Stir it with a spoon or a hand mixer on low speed until evenly distributed. I start the bread machine on the Pizza setting, on this setting it starts to stir instantly. I let it stir for 5 minutes or so. The consistency of the preferment is batter-like.
If you want to use your bread maker, you have to look up the right program.
Now you have to let it ferment for 6 to 18 hours, depending on temperature it will start to bubble in around 2 hours. While fermenting, you have to cover your bowl with plastic wrap, otherwise a skin would form where the surface dries out.
Step 3: Finishing and Kneading the Dough
In this step you will add the remaining half of the flour and the salt.
Then you have to mix and knead it.
By hand, be prepared to knead it for 12 to 15 minutes. With a mixer or kitchen machine with kneading hooks, 8 to 10 minutes on low to medium speed will be enough. For those of you with a food processor, mix the ingredients with a few short bursts, then wait a couple minutes then mix / knead it for no longer than a minute.(Imho these devices are suboptimal for kneading bread doughs.)
With my bread maker, i let the whole pizza program run. I takes 45 minutes, kneading time is around 15 minutes but the mechanical kneading action is weaker than on a kitchen machine. But it also heats up the dough to 28C / 83F. This is the optimum fermentation temperature, if you want the fastest possible fermentation.
Now you have to let it ferment until the dough has doubled in size. This takes around 2-3 hours at room temperature. But you can prolong this time by retarding. Retarding is lowering the yeast activity by reducing the dough temperature. In this case i put the dough outside, where the temperature was around 10C / 50F. In 8 hours the dough doubled at this temp.
Of course, you have to cover the dough with plastic wrap as well in this step.
Step 4: Forming the Loaves and Final Proofing
When the dough has doubled, it's time to take it out of your bowl. Put it on a lightly floured working surface to degas. Depending on the desired shape and size, divide the dough and roll the pieces into balls. I my case i made two batard shaped loaves. But you can make round loaves or small rolls. If the dough is too sticky to work, use some more flour on you hands and on the surface, but try to keep it at a minimum.
Put your loaves on cookie paper and cover them with plastic wrap or a damp towel.
Let it proof for at least 1 hour. I let it proof for almost 2 hours, because my dough was rather cool when i formed my loaves.
During the final proofing, you also have to switch on your oven to preheat it. My small electric takes around 30 minutes to heat up properly.
When you're ready to bake, remove the towel or wrap and slash your loaves around half a inch deep with a very sharp knife or a razor blade.
Step 5: Baking
Baking the proofed loaves the right way needs a bit more consideration, than only shoving them into the oven.
First, use a baking / pizza stone of a sort. You could use unglazed spanish tiles, but you can get gaps when they're not aligned nicely or when you move them while shoving the loaves onto them. This helps to heat up the loaves quickly from the bottom. This is important for a good oven spring.
As a next thing, you should have a steam saturated environment during the spring phase of baking. This keeps the surface elastic, since the steam condenses on the cold dough surface and keeps it from drying out too early. There is more than one way to achieve this.
1. Put a heavy skillet on the oven floor, before you preheat the oven. Just before you put the loaves into the oven, add a cup of boiling water into the skillet.
2. Spray the oven walls and the oven floor with a water sprayer, when you put the loaves in. Repeat it after a minute.
3. Buy a oven with integrated steam generator ;-)
4. Use a very small oven, like my small electric one. Sprinkle some water on the cookie sheet and on the loaves. The environment gets moist enough this way.
When the oven has reached the temperature and is steam saturated, i shove in the loaves on the sheet with the cookie tray. Then i let the sheet with the loaves fall on the baking stone by quickly pulling out the tray. Work quickly in order to keep the heat and the steam in the oven.
Start baking rather hot 275C / 530 F, then after about 5 minutes reduce the temperature to 190C / 375F for the rest of the bake. It will take a while for the oven temp to fall, but that's ok.
If you have a oven with a convection function, use it. It helps to heat up the loaves quickly for a nice oven spring and in a even browning of the loaves. If you don't have a convection feature, i'd raise the temp to around 210C / 410F in the second baking phase. And maybe you have to turn the loaves for even browning. Every oven behaves a little different, so you probably need to make some temp adjustments to get optimal results.
Breads of this size need about 35 minutes to bake. The baking time needs to be adjusted for thicker and thinner breads. If your bread gets too dark too early, reduce the temperature.
Many things about preferments, long fermentation times and baking are almost universal in making good to outstanding breads.
It takes me a maximum of 10 minutes work to make a delicious plain wheat bread.(cleaning of the equipment included.) The time it takes from start to finish varies from 6 hours(with some shortcuts) to 24 hours with retarding, but it's not much work actually.
This specific bread took a bit more of my time for roasting the sesame and for drying and roasting the spent grains.
I will add another instructable of my favorite plain white bread in the near future. In the meantime some photos of it to make you lick your lips.