Wednesday, December 9, 2015

North English brown ale bread

My husband was itching to brew a new batch of beer, using a kit we'd recently bought from Beer and Wine Makers of America, down in San Jose. It didn't hurt that his Christmas gift had arrived and was obviously the brewing hardware he'd asked for. Yes, Nathan gets to open Christmas presents early. Way early.

The kit was for North English Brown Ale, and the spent grain smelled delicious—dark without the bitter overtones of his last beer, Celebration Ale. He mentioned that the brewing process was different from the one he was used to, and that not all of the grain got soaked. More on that later.

I was eager to make bread with the spent grain, but I decided to make a smaller loaf. I basically multiplied all the ingredients of the recipe I like (Snappy Service Cafe's Homebrewed to Home Baked: Spent Grain Bread) by 3/4 to 2/3, using Hensperger's similar recipe (whole grain daily bread, p. 181) as a guide. The ingredient list ended up being:
  • Scant 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup spent grain, firmly packed
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 2 T honey
  • 2-1/4 c bread flour
  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 t bread machine yeast
The Hensperger recipe, besides using buttermilk instead of water and having slightly different proportions, also calls for a bit of rolled oats and gluten. But I stayed with the Snappy recipe's ingredient list.

I used a new honey this time, from Bay Area Bee Company.

Mmmm... This is a great smelling honey.

Another change I made was using the delay timer (on basic cycle, regular crust). I set it to finish at 6:30 a.m., before my alarm goes off but after I sometimes wake up anyway. If I got it out right away, it'd have time to cool before I had to leave to catch the bus.

The next morning I woke up (a little early) to the delicious scent of baked brown bread. I took the loaf out of the bread machine and set it out to cool. It was tall and light for its size, with a nice, medium brown color—darker than the hefeweizen bread, but lighter than the celebration bread.

English brown ale bread, fresh out of the bread machine

An hour later I had to leave, and since the bread was almost cool, I felt free to cut a slice off. This is some tasty bread! Its only fault, as far as I'm concerned, is that some of the grain was a little hard on the teeth. This might be due to my husband's problem in getting all the grain wet and cooked.

First slice

I'll make this recipe again in these proportions. I have plenty of leftover grain from this batch of beer, and I might try cooking it a bit in the bread water (perhaps in the microwave) before putting it in the bread machine.

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