The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking with grains from brew shop

Teig's picture
Teig

Baking with grains from brew shop

Hello,

I was thinking of going to a brew shop to buy grains to add to my bread. All I seem to find on this topic is "spent grain" bread. Is it possible to just use fresh grains from the shop instead of spent grains from breweing? If I can use the grains without having used them for brewing, do I need to do anything to them besides milling them? Ideally I would like to get some grains to add smokey or pale malt flavor to my breads. Thanks in advance.

 

Sorry if this was already answered, I looked and didn't see this topic. 

IceDemeter's picture
IceDemeter

ones that have been sprouted and roasted to a point where the enzymes are inactive but there is a distinct flavour and colour.  These are what you would use in small amounts (we're talking usually 2% or so baker's percentage) as a flavouring for  your breads.  They have already been "cooked" so don't act as a "flour" in the loaf, and need to be limited in quantity so as to not have a negative impact on the texture.

If these are what you are looking for, then a search for "malts" or "malted grains" here on the site will get you a pile of answers.

Personally, I like the flavours from rye malts (instead of the more common barley malts, or less common wheat malts).  I purchase diastatic (also called base or white) rye malt (which still has active enzymes) from my local brew store, and then roast it myself to the flavour / colour levels that I want, and then mill it and add it to my breads.  I also use it as a diastatic malt in some loaves for the extra enzyme action that changes the rise and texture of the bread (quantity needs to be very limited - usually 0.5% or less).

If you purchase the malted grains already roasted to the flavour / colour level that you want (crystal or red, perhaps, or going up to chocolate or espresso), then all you need to do is grind them and use them.  Just be careful of quantity, since they can overwhelm a bread quite easily!

Hope this helps!

Teig's picture
Teig

Helps a ton, thanks for the quick answer! I will search that. Sometimes as a home baker, I would like to impart more flavor than can be had from store bought flour. Would be nice to find a "flour market" where you could go shop different grains and flours almost like a farmers market. I haven't found anything like this in Seattle or when I was in Colorado. Was thinking the brew shop might be a good way to start playing with flavors or texture. 

thanks again

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

If you google "buy bulk grains in Seattle" you'll find quite a few places, including some directly from the farm (like this one). I also find Bulk Barn a good source of many kinds of grains including things like farro and even teff.

I buy several different kinds of malted grains at my local beer supply store. They will let me try a kernel or two to taste them - many different tastes! Some of them are wonderful, like a special malt I get that looks and tastes like tiny coffee beans (a very dark toasted malt hull-less barley). As Laurie says though, these are more for flavouring that to use as flour.

Teig's picture
Teig

Do you just use the milled malted grain folded in at 2% (dried?) or do you add it in the beginning with the flour (still 2% ratio)? I have tasted the grains when I have made beer. I just feel like most of the flavor of the grains goes with the wort when you make beer. 

 

Thanks for the tip on the bulk grains in Seattle! I will google that. Still new to the area and learning lots. 

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I will usually add the malted flours (the ones for flavour, like crystal and chocolate malts) in with the rest of the flour. They are not diastatic so won't affect the ferment. I also like to use different beers when mixing pre-ferments (poolish), and then a bit of different milled malted grains to pump up the flavour.

IceDemeter's picture
IceDemeter

in with the flour and water to autolyse, but will add them in to the scald if doing a multi-stage 100% rye, and very occasionally in with a porridge.  Basically, I treat them as a spice that I want to be able to mingle with the liquids for as long as possible to get the most flavour. 

I most often keep it to about 1.5% for straight flavouring (so - 15g on 1000g of flour when I really want the flavour to stand out).  The only time I take it to 2% is with 100% rye, when I'll end up with 1% of red (crystal) malt and 1% of chocolate malt, both in the scald.  It really is just a matter of personal preference, though.

If you get a chance to visit any local farmer's markets, then try to have a quick chat with any bakers selling there to see where they are getting their grains --- you may be able to get a reference for a good local mill.  Also, check out the bulk section in a Whole Foods store if you have one nearby --- there should be good selection of whole grains there for you to browse.  Try checking in cereal or international sections of your usual grocery stores, too, since various whole grains are considered traditional cereals or side-dishes in other countries (besides the standard oats, I've found whole buckwheat, amaranth, millet, hard red wheat, durum, teff, and occasionally other wheat berries in the cereal aisle).

It is definitely a lot of fun playing with flavours and textures, and different techniques can change those, too.  Don't limit yourself to just looking at grains, since things like rice or wild rice or corn (in any version from flour to whole kernels) or quinoa can also add a lot of interest to a simple loaf.  One of the easiest things to do is pick up a bunch of "multi grain cooked cereal mix" (there should be at least one version, if not a bunch of them) from your standard grocery store bulk section --- add it in as a soaker, or a cooked porridge, or just grind the whole thing to a fine flour for a great flavour punch.

I love using Lazy Loafer's idea of a base recipe (in my case, a 1-2-3 loaf) and have 25% of the flour be whatever one I'm trying out.  Check out her blog about it here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/50919/sourdough-taste-test-25-flour-variation

I hope that you have a lot of delicious fun finding new grains and adders!