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Spent Grains Flour and Too Soft Bread

Mad baker's picture
Mad baker

Spent Grains Flour and Too Soft Bread

Hello all!
My neighbor works at a local brewery and can get me all the spent grains my heart desires.
I am on a never ending quest for a crusty loaf with a ciabatta crumb...But, after all these years, I settle for a nice loaf that cuts well and is fully baked. Anything else is a

I dried the spent grains in my dehydrator, and ground them into flour with my coffee grinder. So far, so good.
I'm using about 12-15% spent grains in my bread
525 g Bread flour
75 g Spent Grain flour
1 Tbsp Diastatic Malt
1 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast

Water is a new issue for me. Generally, I run about a 70% hydration, but the spent grain flour just made a heavy, solid, wad. So, I increased the hydration on this to about 80%.
Beautiful rise, even the 2nd proof was impressive.

Baked at 425 for 40 minutes, beautiful color, hollow thump.
1/2 hour cool down.

When I went to cut it, the beautiful crust just collapsed under the knife like wet cardboard.
The taste was wonderful, the crumb was even and fully cooked. Just no external strength.

The next day, the crust had dried out more, and it cut like a "normal" loaf of bread.

Is it the spent grain flour? I've made bread with higher hydration (almost 100%), and didn't have this issue with a collapsing crust. Just holding it to slice it make the loaf start to "cave in," under my hand...

I dehydrated the grains so I could better track my hydration. Next batch, I want to try just putting them through the food processor, and adding them wet. But I hope to get a handle on how it affects "regular," bread dough.
I've read people using anywhere from 10% to 50% wet grain by weight in recipes, but there is very little on spent grain flour, so I'm pretty much flying blind and making it up as I go, using my "standard," bread recipe.

idaveindy's picture

Peter Reinhart has a formula for a bread with spent grains on page 205 of his book "Whole Grain Breads."

He doesn't dehydrate it and mill it into flour.  It's just a pulpy add-in.

As I understand it (I haven't actually used spent grain), most of the starch is gone because it has been "spent." And the gluten-forming proteins have been partially cooked already. So I'm not surprised that the flour made from it is weird.

Reinhart says it's high in enzymes, so I think that means go easy on the yeast, and no additional diastatic malt is needed.


Due to the absence of starch and sugars, and the presence of cooked proteins, flour from spent grain won't behave like sprouted flour either. Sprouted flour still has starch and the raw proteins.


Good luck, and please report back with further developments.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

before it went into the oven?  I suspect some overproofing going on as well.  Just because a loaf can proof high doesn't mean it should be allowed to do so. Setting up a small proffing gauge with a small piece of dough might be helpful.  Some flours can be very stretchy to the point of balloning.  Then when baked and cooled are very hard to cut without massive tearing.  I agree with not using the extra vital gluten, or at least reducing it.  Try that first. 

Also let the bread cool longer.  Over the years, hubby has learned to let the warm bread cool down while I've learned to not schedule baking around meal times or at least until he's eaten something else before the bread comes out.  Unless that bread is the meal!   Ha!

Fresh warm bread is almost impossible to resist. Cutting warm increases the chance of reduced volume in many ways.  Rewarmed bread stands up better to a knife. The starch is different once it has cooled and gel has set.