Friday, November 20, 2015

Celebration ale spent grain bread

Last weekend my husband brewed Oak Barrel Winecraft's seasonal Celebration Ale, which features 1 part barley to 2 parts crystal malt 40L. It also includes sugars and spices, but I'm not sure how much of those made their way into the grains.

So what the heck is crystal malt 40L? According to Brew365, it's a type of crystal/caramel malt produced from wheat rather than barley. "The process darkens the wheat malt (from 3L to 38-53L) and produces nonfermentable sugars. The roasting process produces a caramel, roast, moderately sweet flavor in addition to keeping the mouthfeel properties of the base wheat malt." It's used in dark beers. Judging from the range of 38-53L, it sounds like crystal malt 40L is one of the lighter dark wheat malts.

Barley and crystal malt 40L, after brewing

After brewing, the spent grain smelled much less sweet than the Hefeweizen leftovers. This spent grain did, however, make for some tasty, dark bread. I'll call it Celebration bread.

Dense crumb around the edges

I used the same recipe as before: Snappy Service Cafe's Homebrewed to Home Baked: Spent Grain Bread. The only difference from before was the different spent grain and the fact that I accidentally left the bread in the breadmaker for a few hours after baking. The extended time in the Zo didn't seem to harm the Celebration bread, but it might have contributed to the dense crumb along all the outside edges of the bread.

Although I made the same adjustments as before (search for "details" in my previous post), the Celebration bread had a very different texture, color, and flavor from the Hefeweizen bread. The texture wasn't as light, perhaps because of being trapped in the breadmaker. During the mixing cycle, I checked on the consistency, and it was more solid (in a good way) than the wetter Hefeweizen dough. The color of the Celebration bread was darker, more like a pumpernickel. Interestingly, the flavor was also more like pumpernickel—bittersweet, with molasses overtones. Each time I had the Celebration bread, the first bite seemed a little too bitter, but by the last bite I loved it.

I ate the Celebration bread both alone and with tuna fish. Delicious!

Next time I might try a different oil. I'll probably also reduce the recipe to produce something closer to a 1.5# loaf. This bread was ridiculously tall. Never before have I made a machine-baked loaf that barely fit into the breadbox.

Squeezed into the breadbox

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Hefeweizen & penuche breads, plus terminology

As I mentioned in my last post, I had some wonderful smelling grain left over from my husband's wheat beer brewing; I put it into some bread. Then last week I made some cinnamon bread that I've made before, which has what Hensperger calls a penuche filling. I also made toasted sesame whole-wheat bread (great with tuna sandwiches!) but that's an old standby; nothing new to say there.

Before I get into the bread, let me geek out about words.

Today's words: Hefeweizen & penuche

At least one northern German I've met has expressed bemusement at the term Hefeweizen, saying the Hefe was unnecessary: it's just wheat beer (Weizen or Weizenbier), as opposed to yeast-wheat beer. (I'm always tempted to think of Hefe as meaning "boss", like the Spanish jefe, but it really means yeast.) Wheat beer names differ by language, brewing region, and recipe variation. Many of the German names have Weiss instead of Weizen in them. Weiss means white and, interestingly, in both English and German weiss/white has the same etymological root as Weizen/wheat.

On to penuche. I first came across the word in Hensperger's cinnamon bread recipe (p. 281). She describes penuche as "a melted filling of sugar, butter, vanilla, and nuts," and says that the word means "brown sugar" or "raw sugar" in Spanish. The word had looked vaguely French to me, so I'd wanted to pronounce it peh-NOOSH (OO as in noon, not book). But Spanish? That seems like peh-NOOCH-ay. But this is 'merica, so apparently it's pronounced puh-NOOCH-ee.

Wikipedia says the Spanish word is actually panocha, but that word (as I found out from some unexpected Google search results) usually means something cruder in Mexican Spanish. The Mexican brown sugar is more commonly called panela.

It's a little weird that Hensperger uses the word penuche for her cinnamon filling, since the filling isn't at all fudgy. Also, the penuche recipes I found have no cinnamon, at all. They feature brown sugar, butter, and milk of some sort; other common ingredients are vanilla, nuts, and additional sugar such as corn syrup. But I suppose everything in the filling except the cinnamon is penuche-esque. And the filling is delicious. I can't imagine eating it straight, though. Too sweet!

Spent grain bread

I chose one of the recipes from my last postSnappy Service Cafe's Homebrewed to Home Baked: Spent Grain Bread.

Spent grains

I didn't have much time, so I heated the water and spent grain for 30 seconds in the microwave, and turned off the Zo's initial rest cycle. During the first knead I checked on the dough; it seemed a bit wet but fairly cohesive, so I didn't add any flour.

The baking bread smelled great, and the final product looked much better than most of my recent bread machine loaves.

A tall, good-looking loaf of bread

I sliced into the bread after it was fully cooled. The end was easy to slice, but the next slice was very uneven; the bread was so soft it was hard to cut. Adding some gluten might help with that.

Good looking inside, too

The taste was great, with a texture that (during the first 24 hours) was on the verge of being too soft. The whole grains kept the texture interesting, though a bit of husk did lodge annoyingly between my teeth.

One bite of the bread had some grit in it. I guess they don't have to be as careful with beer grains (which get filtered) as with grains for consumption. I wonder if the grit would be easy to wash out before brewing. Or maybe this was an anomaly; the rest of the bread was grit free.

The texture of the bread improved (to my taste) after the first day, as the bread dried. The recipe warned that the bread would be too dry after a couple of days, but I didn't notice that problem.

  • salt -> 1 tsp, yeast -> 1.25 tsp (bread machine yeast)
  • agave syrup -> honey (TJ's multi-floral & clover)
  • bread flour, canola oil
  • 1.25 cups water

Cinnamon bread

I made the same whole-wheat sourdough with "penuche" filling that I'd made before. It turned out less messy this time, though I still think the dough could be wetter and hold together better.

This bread has some holes (see the top and right)

I used the dough setting of the bread machine, using more milk than the recipe called for, and adding yet more milk during kneading. The dough was easier to spread this time, and I got more swirls than before. After I shaped the dough, I put it back in the machine (with mixing blades removed) and used the Homemade 2 cycle, which started (perfectly) at Rise 3.

A bit messy outside

Here's what I did ingredient-wise that was different from usual:
  • 2/3 c whole-wheat starter, 1/3 c white
  • Started with about 1/2 c 1% milk, adding 2 T. I probably could've just used 3/4 cup.
  • For fat, I used 1/2 ghee, and 1/2 extra virgin olive oil.
  • I used more than 1/2 cup walnuts (toasted and chopped fine).

Monday, November 2, 2015

Spelt bread and spent grain bread

Last weekend I made spelt bread, to meh results. I'm considering making spent grain bread, but haven't found the time/recipe/nerve yet.

The spelt bread was from Hensperger (p. 128) in the 1.5# size (as usual) with the following modifications:
  • buttermilk powder + water instead of buttermilk (didn't have buttermilk)
  • ghee instead of whipped reduced-fat margarine (didn't have margarine)
  • 1T gluten instead of 1T + 1t (oops)
  • half the yeast, half the salt (as usual)

The recipe says to set the crust on dark, but the Zo doesn't let me do that for the whole-wheat cycle. I could create a custom cycle, but I probably won't.

The resulting bread was tasty but dry, so it was best as toast. I'm sure it would've been moister if I'd taken it out as soon as it was baked, and not cut into it while it was warm. But still. The first slice of this bread was crisp like a cracker!

The inside was dry.

It was also misshapen.

The outside was lumpy.

And it had weird formations on the surface.

The outside was even worse in closeup

Still, I might make this bread again. I'll be sure not to leave it in the machine after it's baked, I might add some more liquid (maybe using real buttermilk), and I'll probably try a different fat.

One Degree organic sprouted spelt flour (now in the freezer)

My husband brewed some hefeweizen beer last weekend, and the spent grain smells wonderful. I've got to use it in some bread, perhaps with barley malt syrup as a sweetener.

The following recipes sound interesting to me. Most of them have at least 1 cup of spent grain, and I avoided breads with egg because they just sounded wrong.

Also, I need to check out Spent Grain Chef, a bunch of recipes from Brooklyn Brew Shop that feature spent grain (in granola! brownies! burger buns! corn sticks! and more!). I happen to have a mini corn pan, so I might need to make those corn sticks.