Wake up and Smell the Spent Grain

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:

  1. Heat grill
  2. Rollout the dough to about 1/3″ thick.
  3. Brush one side with olive oil.
  4. 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).
  5. After about 4 – 6 minutes, flip the dough.
  6. 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.
  7. Shut the grill and let the toppings melt in for about 4 minutes.
  8. 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

To make:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pulse the flours, corn meal, spent grain, oats, and nutritional yeast in a food processed until combined.
  3. Add the peanut butter and pulse until the mixture looks crumbly.
  4. Pour in the water and mix in the processor until the dough comes together.
  5. Turn the dough on to the counter and kneed in the parsley.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Make your dog happy.

Dog Biscuit Dough

Finished Biscuits

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.

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