Brewer’s Grain Bread

Anna, Duff and Leif visited us for the long 4th of July weekend and Duff decided to brew a batch of beer from scratch (as he often does when he comes to our house for a few days).  He bought several types of malted grains, which he mixed according to his own recipe.   After the grains were steeped, Duff offered me a taste, and it was delicious.  I had read about “spent grain” bread recipes, but I had also tasted spent grains and was skeptical as to their usefulness. Spent grains obviously lack all the malt sugar, which is still part of the steeped grains. 

Duff offered me a cup to use for bread making and I modified a “spent grain” recipe for the basic ingredients and used the steeped malted grain mixture.  Honestly, this turned out to be one of the best loaves of bread I made recently – very similar to the coarser, multi grain breads that you find in northern Germany, and obviously very rich in fiber (brewers grains are NOT hulled).

Here is my “Brewer’s Grain Bread” recipe that works even if you don’t have a home-brewer in your family.   Although you will need to find a homebrew store to purchase your malted grain and to have the grains ground/crushed – usually the homebrew stores will have a grinder available for their customers.

Brewer’s Grain Bread (makes 2 loaves)


  • 3/4 cup steeped Dark Munich Malt (or other malt variety) – see instructions below
  • 1¼- 1½ cups water
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons sugar or honey
  • optional – 1 ½  tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (gives a sour dough type bread taste)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 ½  cups bread flour*
  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour*
  • 1 cup of rye flour*
  • 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
* amount of flour varies a lot depending on how wet the grains are.  I started off using ½  cup less of each of the flours mentioned above, but my dough was so sticky that I had to knead at least 1 ½  cups of additional flour into it after the dough cycle was finished in my bread machine.  Remember that it is always possible to add flour before the second rising of the dough, so better to err on the side of less flour than more.
Instructions for bread machine mixing:
  1. To make the steeped grains, cover 3/4 cups of malted grains with ½ cup of water, heat to 150 degree F, remove from burner, cover and let sit for about 30 minutes.  The sweetness in the grain will develop as it steeps (first step of beer-making)
  2. Follow instructions of your bread machine for the order of ingredients – mine starts with the wet ingredients:  add water, butter, sugar, salt and steeped grains into bread machine
  3. Add the three types of flour on top of the other ingredients
  4. Make a small indentation in the flour and add the yeast
  5. Start the “dough” cycle of your machine
  6. When finished, remove the dough – you can feel if it is too wet.  Ideal bread dough resembles a pie crust dough ready to be rolled out.  If the dough is too wet, add more flour and knead it manually until well mixed
  7. Shape the bread into two equal sized loaves (either standard oval shapes, or baguette style shapes), place next to each other on baking sheet and let rise for about 30 minutes
  8. Adjust oven racks to have one at the very bottom of the oven, and the second rack in the middle, place an empty metal baking pan on the bottom rack
  9. Pre-heat oven to 410 degree F
  10. When bread is ready, place in oven and immediately pour a cup of cold water into the empty pan – being very careful not to get cold water onto any glass of the oven door or the heating elements.  Quickly close the door.  This “steam treatment” creates a nice crust, like you would want for a baguette.
  11. Bake for 40-45 minutes (depending on the size of your loaves)
  12. Bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom
The bread keeps well for several days, perfect for sandwiches as well as jam.  We eat it toasted as well as plain.