We've all heard of breweries donating their spent grain to local farms to feed the animals; you may have even eaten a burger made of ground beef from the cows that eat that grain – score! In my opinion, it seems a great way to close the circle, and do the conscientious “reduce-reuse-recycle” thing; but did you know that you too can use the spent grain at home?
Most of the ideas bounced around out there for using spent grain are bread related; which is great, but I am definitely not a baker. It involves way too much precision for my liking! Even with brewing which definitely involves a certain amount of exactness, if I screw up by a degree or two I will still end up with decent beer. With baking, I will end up with a lump of inedible coal if I do that! That said, I have tried spent grain bread once and it came out very dense, but yummy.
So when I saw this recipe over at Foodie With Family for Garlic Butter Soft Pretzel Bites, my mind immediately jumped to subbing out half the flour for spent grain I had frozen from my last batch of India Brown Ale. I love garlic and I love pretzels…how could this go wrong?!
It didn’t! The only changes I made to the recipe were to switch out 2 cups of flour for 2.5 cups of spent grain, used 1 tbsp of honey instead of malt powder and I was VERY careful with the milk and water – my grain was still wet from being frozen, so I did need quite a bit less of both. Just add them a small amount at a time, and stop when you get the right consistency. Oh, and definitely go with her tip of letting them cook longer to get extra brown; they will look like they’re burnt, but they will be chewy and perfect!
They were ridiculously delicious, as evidenced by the 50 or more of them that were devoured by guests at my house last weekend. I’m also thinking a cheesy dipping sauce made with the same beer the spent grain came from is in order next time. Try them, you will not be disappointed!