Two by Four Brew Bread

This recipe is a variation on the no-knead bread made famous a couple of years ago by the New York Times.

Brewing beer at home means ending up with a gigantic pile of spent mash – malted barley and other grains that have been sprouted, roasted, and then soaked to release their carbohydrates as simple sugars for the yeast to consume.  The remains are rich in fiber and protien, and also still have residual starches.  They make wonderful compost, but it seems a waste to just toss out all that nutritious food!

So instead, I’ve been trying to figure out the right way to reliably incorporate it into bread, and I think I’ve finally found an insanely simple recipe that works:

  1. 2 cups bread flour
  2. 2 cups whole wheat flour
  3. 2 cups spent mash grains
  4. 2 cups warm water
  5. a pinch of salt
  6. a quarter teaspoon of dry yeast.

Add all the dry ingredients together (the mash grains will be wet, but that’s okay – add them in too).  Then add the water, and mix until it’s a big sticky ball.  Let sit covered overnight, and plop out onto a floured surface for a second rise.  Make sure the whole surface of the dough ball gets floured.  Let it rise for an hour or so, covered.

Meanwhile, preheat your dutch oven (or other massive, heat retaining baking vessel with a lid) to 350F in the oven for at least half an hour.  Drop the now risen dough blob in and shake it around a little to get it to settle.  Bake covered for 45 minutes.  Remove lid, and bake for another 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and enjoy!

Still takes a long long time to go through an entire batch of spent grains.  Best to separate them into several 4 cup yogurt containers and freeze them for later use.


Escape to High Ground

Michelle and I have wanted to do an overnight bike trip near by for a while. Something that doesn’t involve those infernal machines, but that lets us get away from the city, just a little bit. A S24O as it’s sometimes called. The only option for such a trip out of Pasadena is the San Gabriel Mountains, which are criss-crossed with hundreds of miles of fire roads. Mostly steep and unpaved, mostly waterless, but nearby, and scenic. On the north slopes, you can almost convince yourself LA isn’t there anymore.