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Recipe: Spent Grain Pretzel Rolls

Spent Grain Chef -

Beer and pretzels have a long history. It's thought they both came to America on the Mayflower, and they've never been far apart since. Find yourself in any beer festival, and you'll notice pretzel necklaces to be the designer accessory of choice. While we certainly enjoy the crunch of a hard pretzel with our pints, we favor sampling these soft pretzel rolls made with spent grain and boiled in beer with our brews. Slather with spicy mustard or make a killer booze-inspired sandwich.

    What You Need

  • 1 cup warm water (~110 degrees F)
  • 1 packet dry active yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup of Spent Grain Flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1/4 cup baking soda

    What You Do

    1. In a stand mixer add the warm water and sprinkle yeast on top. Let stand five minutes until small bubbles appear.

    2. Combine flours, sugar, and salt.

    3. Using the dough hook attachment dump in flour mixture and mix on low until the dough comes together. Increase speed to medium and mix until dough is elastic and smooth (about 6 more minutes).

    4. Remove dough from mixer, form into a ball and place in oiled mixing bowl, turning once to coat. Let rise 30 minutes covered in a damp dish towel.

    5. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 1 minute. Divide dough into 8 balls. Place on an oiled baking sheet or cupcake tin, score top of each roll, cover with a damp dish towel and let rise a second time (about 20 minutes).

    6. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bring water and beer to a boil in a large pot on the stove top. We recommend using at least a two gallon pot as the water tends to boil over with the addition of the baking soda.

    7. When rolls have risen, add the baking soda to the boil (it will foam up a bit). Using a slotted spoon boil rolls for 2 minutes per side.

    8. Transfer to baking sheet with rolls scored side up. Sprinkle with salt and bake 12 minutes. Enjoy.

Spent Grain Pretzel Rolls: We love these soft pretzel rolls made with spent grain and boiled in bee


9 comment(s)

9 Responses to Recipe: Spent Grain Pretzel Rolls


  • We just made these today during a brewing session. The flavor is outstanding. We ended up using a bourbon porter that we had brewed in February. I think the dark roasty spent grain was perfect for these guys.

    However, a couple issues that we ran into were, a serious amount of boiling over, not at all “the little bit” that was described in the recipe, as well as, we found its important to really shape your pretzel balls well before the second rise. A few of ours came apart, or split open during the boiling and baking process. So make sure to seal the balls well when you shape them.
    As for the boiling over, once we added the ¼ cup of baking soda to the boiling water and beer, we had a HUGE eruption that flooded the stove-top. I had no idea that there would be such a huge boil over, and I think I could have avoided that if I had know that I should have used a larger pot. I used a 5qt pot, 10-12 would have been better.

    But aside from the crazy boil over that was quite hilarious, we love these pretzels and will be making them often!
    Thank you for the recipe!

    Posted on August 7, 2012 at 5:59 pm

  • Jeremy says:

    Great recipe, mine turned out fantastic. I used the grains from a berlinner weiss bath and doubled the spent grains.

    Be extra careful when adding the baking powder. The liquid will foam like crazy. I used a 2 gallon pot and still had it come up over the top.

    Posted on August 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm

  • Micah says:

    is the baking soda nessesary? if so, does it have to be that much. and if so, should I just use my huge 10.5 gal brew pot to do this? because this looks like a great recipe that I'd love to try, but I do not want the boil over!

    Posted on August 28, 2012 at 1:55 pm

  • Adding baking soda to the water changes its pH and gives the pretzels their characteristic brown crust and chewy taste. So you could skip it, but if you do you won't really end up with a pretzel that looks or tastes like a pretzel! Since you have a larger pot, you can still add the full amount of baking soda and not worry about a boil over, so we think it's definitely worth adding!

    Posted on August 30, 2012 at 11:20 am

  • The boil-over happens because the sodium bicarbinate undergoes thermal decomposition (breaks apart) at about 70C. Boiling water is at 100C for you non-metric peole.

    This beakdown releases water and CO2. IF you add teh baking soda (bicarb)when the water is only warm you can control the decomposion reaction and the resulting mess too! It's what we did at the resturaunt.

    Posted on September 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm

  • Randy B says:

    These were terrific made with some blonde ale spent grain flour. I chose to shape them like soft pretzels and the recipe made 8-10 decent sized pretzels.

    My observations:
    - make at least a double batch. You are already building the alkaline solution for the boil, so go for it. You'll thank me later
    - add the baking soda before you're anywhere near boiling. Very little foaming this way.

    Posted on October 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm

  • Matt says:

    Thanks for the great recipe. I made these into pretzel shapes and they came out great. Not as dark as yours, but I used an IPA for the boiling part so that might be why. It would probably be better with a stout. I also used a food processor to first create the spent grain flour and then to mix the dough. Worked great. Anyway, here's a picture - http://i.imgur.com/FTqcb.jpg

    Posted on December 1, 2012 at 9:52 pm

  • I was looking forward to making these as soon as I saw the recipe. I made them about a week ago, and they were yummy. I like how the recipe made about 8 'slider' sized rolls, when you're only cooking for two, its nice to have a recipe that yields a smaller amount. My pretzels were very very dense, but still chewy and tasty. I do advise eating them after you make them, they were a little dry the next day.

    Posted on May 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm

  • Aaron says:

    They're in the oven now. We had difficulty with the dough being too dry. It took extra work and my wife's baking experience to salvage. I tried to make the dough in the food processor without great results. My wife kneaded it by hand instead and we gave it an extra rise.

    The smell while boiling was phenomenal! My spent grains were mostly Maris Otter, and I used a Two Brothers Imperial Stout for the boil. I can't wait to taste how they turn out.

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 8:48 pm