Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Two British beer breads

I've made this spent grain recipe many times before, but I'm still tweaking it. This week, I tried measuring the flour by weight instead of by volume. I also used ordinary Trader Joe's honey and olive oil, instead of going fancy (for the honey) or tasteless (for the oil). Finally, I used the whole wheat cycle on the bread machine, instead of the normal cycle.

British porter

The spent grain for the first loaf was very dark, from a British porter kit from Oak Barrel Winecraft that included half Black Patent and have Crystal 77°L. The spent grain was probably in smaller pieces than before, since we used our own mill to crack it. (This is a new attachment to our stand mixer, and we used the coarsest setting... but that still seems to produce too much powder for beer. The product is, however, great for bread.)

Dark spent grain

As before, I put the following into the pan first:
  • 1 scant cup water
  • 3/4 cup packed spent grain
  • 2 T TJ's clover honey
  • 2 T TJ's olive oil
  • 3/4 t fine sea salt (also TJ's)

Spent grain, salt, and liquids went into the pan first

Then I added the flour, topped by the yeast:
  • 270 g bread flour (my approximation of 2-1/4 c)
  • 90 g whole wheat flour (approximately 3/4 c)
  • 1 t bread machine yeast
This was my favorite iteration of the spent grain bread recipe. When I lifted the lid to check on it during a rise, it smelled rich and alcoholic—that yeast must have loved these grains.

Lopsided but tasty

The resulting bread was a bit lopsided, as it often is, but had a great, almost chocolate taste that worked wonderfully with peanut butter and jelly. It tasted almost like a pumpernickel bread, without the seeds.

North English brown ale

The next loaf of bread used the same recipe, but with a few differences:
  • I used frozen spent grain from the mid-December brewing of North English brown ale.
  • I thawed the grain in a full cup of water in the microwave (1 minute high, 2 minutes half power).
  • The flour mix was slightly different. Instead of 270 g bread flour (King Arthur) and 90 g whole wheat flour, I used:
    • 45 g King Arthur bread flour (all I had)
    • enough King Arthur French-style flour to bring it up to 272 g
    • 88 g whole wheat flour
  • I used a scant teaspoon of yeast, instead of a whole teaspoon.
The French-style flour looks less white than the bread flour, and it has 2g of dietary fiber per 30 g—twice as much fiber as the normal bread flour. The website says has 11.5% protein content and is a "medium-protein, high-ash flour.... The higher ash count indicates that the flour is higher in minerals (since it's milled closer to the bran), which gives this flour a deeper flavor than all-purpose." Its ingredient list has just two items:
  • hard white wheat flour
  • malted barley flour
The bread flour was unbleached enriched hard spring wheat flour, which contains wheat flour, malted barley flour, and some vitamins. It has 1 g of dietary fiber per 30 g and, according to the website, 12.7% protein content. It also warns that bread flour is more absorbent than other flour, so I was a little worried that the bread would be gloppy.

I used the basic whole wheat delay cycle on the bread machine, which delayed the start time for 5.5 hours. The next morning, I woke up to a fantastic scent.

Brown ale bread

The bread was beautiful and tasty. It's much less dark than the previous bread, and perhaps even the previous incarnation of brown ale bread, but it had great texture and flavor.

Went well with salad

Next time I want to try the French flour with the porter grains, using a full cup of water, to see how much of the difference between versions of the brown ale bread is attributable to the flour.

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