Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rosemary, Flax Seed & Spent Grain Bread (with a few bread baking tips)

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If you're new to our blog, you might not know that we love food projects. I mean, every couple has shared loves. We happen to love being huge vegan nerdballs. We love figuring out how to make things vegan, and we love finding new ways to enjoy being vegan more... a Cruelty-Free Science, if you will. With that comes an mutual excitement for food-related crafts... like home brewing our own beer. Now I have a pretty good story about the time in college when my friends and I tried to brew our own beer, but I'm saving that for a post that is actually about home brewing. This post is about bread.

See, after you brew your beer, you have a lot of 'spent grain' leftover that you can either throw out or use in numerous ways in numerous recipes. This leftover grain is supposed to be a good source of fiber and protein--so why not use it? I did a quick little poll on Facebook to see what kind of recipe you all would want us to start with. The winner: Rosemary*& Flax Seed Bread.

This is an easy, chewy and really nice bread that I think anyone can make... even if you don't have any spent grain. But I feel like I should warn you that, like all bread dough I have ever had the misfortune of running into, this dough is fraking sticky and grows fast. I mean it's like this. For some reason, whenever I bake bread I forget how sticky bread dough is, and find myself and my kitchen covered in the stuff. Since we're all friends here, I feel like I can admit to you at one point while I was trying to get dough off my fingers, I may have said something like "Bread Dough - I'm going to punch you in the face." Yeah. I know it doesn't make any sense. But I thought I should warn you that it gets pretty sticky.

But around the time your home starts to smell like fresh baked bread and rosemary... you'll forget all about how troublesome this dough is. By the time you enjoy your first slice with a little vegan margarine... you'll already start planning sandwiches and soups to enjoy with this amazing bread.

First you have to bake it. So let's get started.

Super easy, chewy and delicious.

Rosemary, Flax Seed & Spent Grain Bread
  • 3 3/4 Cup Bread Flour (you'll need extra to flour your surfaces)
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Spent Grain (FYI : Drying your Spent Grain takes like 7 hours but once you do it - you have a ton to bake and cook with. If you don't have any spent grain - you can still make this wonderful bread.)
  • 1 Tablespoon Flax Seeds (crushed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Package Bread Yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon Thyme Leaves (fresh)
  • 1 Tablespoon & 1 teaspoon Rosemary (dried and crushed)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Warm Water
In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients except Water with a whisk. You want to make sure all the dry ingredients are evenly blended. Then slowly add Water so the ingredients don't splash up on the sides. Then with an electric hand held mixer with bread hook attachments, blend the dough until it is completely blended. If you find that your dough is a little dry add a little more warm Water 1 tablespoon at a time and blend after you add the Water. You want to make sure your dough isn't soupy but it should be sticky already and you shouldn't be able to see any dry Flour.

Now cover your bowl with a tea towel or some other kind of breathable cloth and place your bowl somewhere kind of warm. I usually put mine on the stove top while I preheat my oven.

Heat oven to 425.

Let your dough rise for 2 and half hours. It's going to get huge during that time. And no you don't have to preheat your oven for 2 and half hours in case some of you are feeling snarky and comment happy.

Flour your favorite little pizza stone and a surface like a table top. Once your dough has risen, you're going to remove it from the bowl and form it into a loaf. This is when you have to deal with how sticky this dough gets. If you have a vegetable shortening, you might want to rub some on your hands to help keep the dough from sticking to your skin like that symbiote life form that turned Eddie Brock into Venom.

Try to form your dough ball into a loaf-ish shape before placing on the floured surface and rolling a few times. You're rolling your dough in the Flour to cover it not to change the shape of the dough. Then place your floured loaf gently on your floured pizza stone. It will begin to spread out - so don't be shocked. Put your loaf in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. You'll want to pull it out once at 20 minutes to gently lift and turn the bread with a spatula. This will make sure your bread isn't sticking to the pizza stone and that it is baking evenly. Bake until it is a light golden brown or until you can remove a bamboo skewer cleanly from the thickest part. You can stick it in underneath the bread if you don't want to break the pretty top crust.

Here's 2 tips I found on a few bread baking blogs:
  1. Cut a few lines in the top of your bread or an X with a sharp knife covered in vegetable shortening to prevent sticking. This is also called 'slashing'. It will help your bread rise during baking.
  2. Pour about a cup of regular tap water into the broiling pan. The water will evaporate during cooking and help caramelize the outside surface of the bread.
We ate a bunch last night while it was warm, but plan on having the rest in Tofurky sandwiches for lunch today. We have a ton of spent grain still. Expect some Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars soon.

* Rosemary Clooney has some great bread baking music.


  1. What's the closest equivalent to spent grain?

  2. 1. I will be making this in the near future and 2. this was all I could think of while reading your post:

    Super fantastic movie - in that whole 1980s train wreck sort of way.

    (Um, this is the 2nd attempt of the same comment as my computer had some sort of fit and I am unsure about whether or not the 1st attempt actually happened... I LOVE MONDAY!)

  3. Anne - You know I would substitute sunflower seeds or just skip 'em. But I love sunflower seeds in my bread.

    Ellen - Yeah today blew. I have like 10 emails from folks telling me the "like" button doesn't work. SIGH.

    That trailer is amazing! There really does have to be a side effective from eating too much dessert... too bad. :)

  4. I tried this yesterday and bread was good. Only thing was missing that crust was just like foccacia , not the way it is shown above. Should I have baked it for longer?

  5. Thanks for letting us know. I think maybe longer could have thickened the crust a little. Was the color the same?

  6. Hi, will this work with spent grains from extract brewing? Or is it just for all grain brewing? We're new home brewers AND Meet the Shannons fans, and I'd love to put the grains to good use. Thanks!

  7. That's a great question. We're pretty new to this ourselves and have only ever played around with all grain brewing so I'm not sure if grains from extract brewing would work.

    If you do try it - please let us know how it turns out! We're going to be doing a lot more home brewing this year for our second book so - once we start getting into more - we'll have more recipes for both types of grains (if there ends up being a difference). :)