It’s no secret that food waste is a big problem in our world and the beer making process is no exception. Grain is a byproduct of brewing and once used it’s called “spent grain”. Many breweries cart their spent grain off to local farms for feed so it doesn’t go to waste. However, many of us making beer at home don’t raise chickens or share a yard with Old MacDonald, meaning we tend to throw away our spent grain for lack of another use. This is why we began experimenting with ways to make the grain a more useable ingredient in our kitchens, developing over 50 recipes that utilize what would otherwise be a wasted byproduct. If we can’t use our spent grain that same day, one of the easiest ways to save it is to dry it out. Drying your spent grain is a simple process that requires very little effort and will result in a bunch of dried grain that can be used in recipes like our spent grain granola, buttermilk biscuits and more. It’s an easy way to prepare your soggy spent grain so after a brew day, not only will you have delicious beer, but also spent grain for use in all sorts of baked goods, savory dishes, and fun treats for you and your friends.
To dry your spent grain all you’ll need is a baking sheet, an oven or dehydrator, and some time. Simply preheat your oven to the lowest setting possible (typically between 170-200 degrees Fahrenheit), arrange your spent grain on an ungreased baking sheet in no more than a ¼ inch thick layer, and pop it into the oven for approximately seven hours. Toss the grain around four hours in to ensure that it dehydrates evenly. Your grain is done when you can’t feel any moisture. Then it’s good to use immediately or to store in a jar for future use!
Before drying, we like to reserve some of our wet spent grain to make pizza dough. Using wet grain adds a unique texture and chewiness. Additionally, we like to reserve some dried grain to grind it into flour, which we use in anything from peanut butter kiss cookies to homemade spent grain pasta.
Cooking with spent grain is so much fun, giving some of your favorite foods a unique nutty taste. We think it makes the beer making process even more rewarding. Plus, it’s fun to reveal your “secret ingredient” to friends and family.
Check out our recipe to dry your spent grain below and find more recipes and ideas on how to use your grain under the Spent Grain Chef section on our blog. And if you feel uninspired or aren’t the biggest home cook, spent grain is the perfect carbon-rich brown for your compost pile. ;)
Set your oven to the lowest setting possible. For most ovens this is 170-200 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also use a dehydrator.
Spread out your spent grain on a clean, ungreased sheet pan in a thin 1/4 inch layer.
Place in oven and let dry for approximately 7 hours. Alternately, a food dehydrator works as well.
4 hours into drying, pull out barley and toss to mix with a spoon.
Drying time may vary depending on your environment or oven. Your barley is dry when you feel absolutely no moisture remaining.
Store your barley in an airtight jar or plastic container in your pantry.
We make all-grain beer brewing kits that make it easy to make beer at home. Whether it's your first batch or your hundredth.