Some of the earliest records of the beer-making process involved the fermentation of bread. Now, the beer production process has been so perfected and simplified that you can make it in your own home. However, this also results in another product, one that often ends up in the trash: spent grain.

Spent grain is the malt and adjuncts leftover once the mash extracts most of the sugars and proteins. Adjuncts can include corn, rice, rye, oats, or wheat. This is where the courses of bread and beer intersect again. Spent grain can be used to make bread and other baked goods, as well as in composting. It stays fresh for 1-2 days after brewing and then can be frozen.

This Christmas when my family got together, we decided to try a U-brew at local microbrewery Upstate Craft Beer Co. in Greenville, SC. A U-brew is an assisted home brew at the brewery. I had conducted home brews before, but had never thought to recycle the spent grain.

We brewed an IPA, and our grain consisted of Pilsner Malt as our base malt, as well as Caramel Malt and Munich Malt. These flavors balanced perfectly with the hint of sweetness in Honey French Bread, and the grain adds a bit of texture. 

Spent Grain Honey French Bread

  • Prep Time:3 hrs 15 mins
  • Cook Time:1 hr
  • Total Time:4 hrs 15 mins
  • Servings:12
  • Medium


  • 1 cup 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups spent grain
  • Step 1

    Combine water, yeast, and sugar and let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

    Ashley Hunter
  • Step 2

    Combine yeast mixture with remaining ingredients and knead for 10 minutes.

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    Ashley Hunter
  • Step 3

    Cover with damp towel and allow dough to rise until doubled in size, about 1-1 ½ hours.

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  • Step 4

    Transfer dough to floured surface and punch down to remove air bubbles. Knead and shape into loaves.

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    Ashley Hunter
  • Step 5

    Place loaves in oiled pans and cover with a damp towel. Allow the loaves to rise until again double in size, about 1 hour.

    Ashley Hunter
  • Step 6

    Brush olive oil on top and bake at 350° until lightly browned on the outside and a knife comes out clean, about 1 hour.

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    Ashley Hunter