When I woke up this morning it was cold and rainy outside, making my normal 6:30 am gym outing very painful. Experimenting with spent grain baking seemed like a much better idea, especially since I brewed a Saison on Sunday (great timing for the winter weather) and have a fresh batch of dried out spent grain ready to go.
For baking, I like to split my spent grain into 3 varieties:
- Dried out slightly, then frozen while still slightly mushy (good for bread baking. I heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds before using)
- Milled in the food processor for spent grain flour
- Dried out completely in the oven and slightly toasted
Since it’s American Craft Beer Week, I decided to make pizza dough which was turned into tonight’s dinner (grilled green veggie pizza + craft beer) and dog biscuits since Yoshi, my dog, is feeling a bit left out of the festivities.
I made the pizza dough first. I based it on a recipe that is featured in the article A New Twist On Spent Grain by Amber DeGrace found in May/June’s Zymurgy (the American Homebrewer Association’s magazine). I have made spent grain pizza dough before from some random recipe I found on the internet and it turned out OK, but I had higher hopes for this round. I figured if it’s printed in a magazine on paper, it must be legit. The recipe is pretty straight forward, involving just water, yeast, flour, oil, and spent grain.
I subbed out 2/3 of the white flour for wheat flour and used the frozen mushy spent grain for the dough. It came together easily, but was a bit lose (insert “that’s what she said” jokes here). I had to add in extra flour to make it come together.
I let the dough do its thing in the fridge while I was at work and came home to a beautifully risen mass of fluff. Half of the dough went in the freezer and half got rolled out into dinner. I grilled the pizza – my new favorite way to make pizza - and topped it with pesto, broccoli, spinach, garlic, and tomatoes. For those of you that have never grilled a pizza before, you must try it. Buy some store bought dough if you are short on time and go for it. Here’s what you do:
- Heat grill
- Rollout the dough to about 1/3″ thick.
- Brush one side with olive oil.
- Place the oiled side down on the hot grill grates (This usually takes 2 people and a spatula or two to work. Unless you’re really good, some of your dough may fold under its self. Don’t stress – it’ll still taste great).
- After about 4 – 6 minutes, flip the dough.
- After about 4 more minutes (when the dough looks cooked and starts to get crispy), layer on your topping. You should pre-cook your toppings.
- Shut the grill and let the toppings melt in for about 4 minutes.
- Take off grill, cut, open a beer, eat.
I served the pizza with a grilled asparagus/arugula/onion salad and we drank Wilco Tango Foxtrot. On my way home from work, “I’m Always in Love” by Wilco came on in the car, so I got inspired t0 stop at BevMo and picked up a bottle Wilco Tango Foxtrot by Lagunitas Brewing Company. Great beer. Great Band. Excellent song.
After the pizza dough was safely in the fridge, I moved on to the dog biscuits. I modified this recipe from Epicurious to make my spent grain biscuits. Here’s what I came up with (I halved the recipe):
- 1/2 + 1/8 cup flour
- 1/2 + 1/8 cup spent grain flour
- 1/2 + 1/8 cup corn meal
- 1/2 +1/8 cup dried spent grain
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Pulse the flours, corn meal, spent grain, oats, and nutritional yeast in a food processed until combined.
- Add the peanut butter and pulse until the mixture looks crumbly.
- Pour in the water and mix in the processor until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough on to the counter and kneed in the parsley.
- Roll the dough out and cut into desired shapes. I tried to hand cut pint glasses and beer bottles, but they looked pretty janky and it was time consuming. The only two proper cookie cutters I own are in the shape of a goldfish cracker and a fat version of the state of Florida (thank you mom), so I finished the batch with those.
- Put the cut biscuits on a greased baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes. Leave the over shut and sheet in for 6 hours to let the biscuits dry out completely.
- Make your dog happy.
Swapping the gym for baking on this rainy Tuesday morning was a good choice and I am pleased with how the pizza and dog biscuits turned out. Next time you brew, save some grain, create less waste and bake something yummy.