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How to Dry Spent Grain

Spent Grain Chef -

Drying Spent Grain Barley

Grain is a natural byproduct of brewing. After being used, it's called "spent grain," and breweries tend to cart it to local farms for feed, but unless you raise chickens or share a yard with Old MacDonald, you'll have some left over next time you brew.

Here's an easy way to prepare your soggy spent grain for use in all sorts of baked goods, savory dishes, and fun treats for you and your friends.

You may want to use more than one sheet pan depending on how much grain you plan on using.

    What You Do

  1. Set your oven to the lowest setting possible. For most ovens this is 170-200 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Spread out your spent grain on a clean, ungreased sheet pan in a thin 1/4 inch layer.

  3. Place in oven and let dry for approximately 7 hours. Alternately, a food dehydrator works as well.

  4. 4 hours into drying, pull out barley and toss to mix with a spoon.

  5. Drying time may vary depending on your environment or oven. Your barley is dry when you feel absolutely no moisture remaining.

  6. Store your barley in an airtight jar or plastic container in your pantry.


19 comment(s)

19 Responses to How to Dry Spent Grain

  • Matt says:

    Seems like a much better idea than leaving all my spent grain in a plastic bag for a day or two by accident until it smells funny...

    Posted on February 28, 2011 at 10:09 am

  • Glen says:

    I have tried to sample spent grain in the past and found the husks to be an issue... are you just leaving the sharp little buggers in or did i miss a step?

    Posted on March 9, 2011 at 4:34 pm

  • BBS says:

    Yep, we take nothing out of the spent grain when we dry it. We try to create recipes where the course texture is used to our advantage!

    Posted on March 11, 2011 at 11:52 am

  • Drying the grain out is a good option if you want to have your oven on that long. We choose to drain it for a few hours in it's "bag" (save that liquid for bread) and freeze the spent grain in useable portions (1 or 2 cups) and mark it for future use!

    Posted on June 18, 2011 at 8:02 am

  • fred says:

    Does anyone have any recipes for bread using the LIQUID from the spent grain as well as the grain?

    Posted on June 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm

  • paul says:

    one thing you can make from the liquid from the spent grain is Beer

    Posted on July 25, 2011 at 5:03 am

  • Phil says:

    Do you have to dry the spent grains before using them in a baked recipe? Is there some sort of pre-baking that occurs in the drying process to make them more palatable?

    Posted on October 30, 2011 at 5:50 pm

  • Kathy says:

    Rather than using the oven, could I put the grains in a food dehydrator?

    Posted on November 3, 2011 at 10:37 am

  • Amanda says:

    I don't have any recipes on hand but in the book Artisan Breads at Home (at Home with The Culinary Institute of America) there are several recipes for breads made with grain soakers. The grain is soaked overnight and then strained to remove extra liquid. The wet grain is added to the dough after gluten is well formed. I would think you could use it wet and just reduce the other liquids in any given recipe.

    Posted on December 16, 2011 at 10:44 am

  • I just brewed using flaked oats and wheat and used the oven method to dry them out. The result was little clusters. Can I use the dried spent oats and wheat just as I would any other spent grain in a recipe?

    Posted on March 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm

  • Jenni says:

    My husband is a home brewer on the Precipice of going "pro" craft brewer. I've been experimenting with using the spent grains--still wet--in bread. The experiments, so far, have been a success. One of my fb fans shared this page with me, and now I'll be drying some and possibly grinding them into flour to replace some of the wheat in recipes. Great to find you! If you're interested, here's my spent grain bread. I call it Brewers' Bread for obvious reasons! http://pastrychefonline.com/blog/2012/04/19/brewers-bread/

    Posted on April 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm

  • julie says:

    i have a bucket full of spent grain from our brew session last night. I was going to dry some of it. I usually store it in the fridge and use it straight in our baking for pizza, bread, pretzels and stuff... i plan on drying most of this and was wondering how long it lasts in a sealed tight container in the basement. thanks

    Posted on May 16, 2012 at 10:46 am

  • Rob says:

    Anyone tried doing this in a slow cooker? Obviously you can't dry as much as you can in an oven, but the temperatures are similar to what are suggested above, you use less energy and don't need to worry about the oven being on all day.

    Posted on July 16, 2012 at 10:12 am

  • Jenna says:

    I have a gas stove that is always warm inside because of the pilot light . I decided to just leave the trays in the oven without turning it on and it worked great. It took a full 24 hours -- I was home for the day and just shook up the pans every few hours. I highly recommend this if you have a gas oven and want to save energy!

    Posted on November 6, 2012 at 4:14 pm

  • Adrian says:

    I left my grain in an air tight tub for a week or so, before getting round to drying it out.. tried the oven idea, but it was taking to long, and i wanted to cook dinner on a higher heat, so i left the metal try that had the grains in, on the radiator in my flat. i forgot all about them untill the next morning and lo and behold, they had completly dried out just by sitting on the warm radiator (which was on anyway, as its so cold at the moment!)
    Milled them down last night, and now have a jar full or Spent Grain Flour!
    just deciding what to bake first!

    Posted on April 2, 2013 at 8:35 am

  • Shana says:

    So when recipes call for "Spent grain, wet" would that be spent grain that HAS NOT gone through this drying process? Or would you do this anyway, then re-wet it for cooking?

    Posted on January 14, 2014 at 4:59 pm

  • Chris says:

    Has anyone tried air drying? Like spread our on a tarp in the sun?

    Posted on March 6, 2014 at 1:43 pm

  • Jeff says:

    I've air dried a few times. It usually takes a few days. I use an art canvas frame, 24x36, that I put 1/8" chicken-wire on in place of a canvas. I spread them out thin as possible and comb through them with a wooden spoon to turn them.

    Posted on April 20, 2014 at 6:14 pm

  • Kristen says:

    Trying drying it in a screen colander in my slow cooker on low tonight with it vented, I'll let you all know how it turns out.

    Posted on June 23, 2014 at 10:39 pm