Biertreberbrot (German Spent Grain Bread)

German Spent Grain Bread Biertreberbrot Recipe

The Spruce

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Rest: 110 mins
Total: 2 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 1 loaf
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
215 Calories
4g Fat
41g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 215
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 186mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 26mg 2%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 138mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Using beer and beer byproducts in baking is quite common in Germany. One such bread is called biertreberbrot, which is made with the leftover spent grains from brewing. The spent grain is usually added wet to a regular dough along with the optional nuts or raisins. The result is a bread that is nutty and flavorful along with increased fiber and protein.

If you aren't a home brewer, spent grain can be a little difficult to find unless you have friends or family who like to brew their own beer. This version uses the more easily accessible whole rye malt grains, which add a nice textural element to the loaf.


  • 3/4 cup warm water

  • 1/4 cup whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey, or agave or brown sugar

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour

  • 1/2 cup whole-grain rye malt

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup cornmeal

Steps to Make It

Make the Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a stand mixer bowl fitted with the dough hook, pour in the warm water, milk, yeast, and honey. Give it a quick stir and let it sit for 10 minutes.

  3. Add the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, and rye malt and turn the mixer on to medium speed and mix for 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and knead for another 4 minutes.

  4. Add the salt and continue to knead on medium-high for a final 3 minutes. The dough should be a little wet and sticky but also pull away from the sides of the bowl.

  5. Add the olive oil to a large bowl. Use your fingers to spread the oil around the sides of the bowl and then add the dough.

  6. Gently pull one side of the dough and fold it into a third, then pull a third of the dough from the other side over it, swaddling the dough. Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat folding the dough into thirds from the other edges.

  7. Repeat these steps one more time, then flip the whole thing over so the seam is at the bottom. Doing this will help incorporate the olive oil into the loaf.

  8. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it proof until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  9. After the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a floured work surface.

  10. Line the same bowl with the tea towel and heavily dust the tea towel with flour.

  11. Make sure all the air has been punched out of the dough and gently pick up the edges and fold it into the center to create a nice round loaf.

  12. Pinch the seams together, and place the loaf seam-side up into the towel-lined bowl.

  13. Cover with another tea towel and let it proof for another 40 minutes.

Bake the Bread

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 F. Place a sheet tray or pizza stone in the oven to preheat.

  2. Once the oven reaches temp, remove the hot tray or pizza stone and sprinkle the cornmeal into a circle approximately the same size as the loaf. The loaf will sit on the cornmeal so it doesn’t burn.

  3. Gently turn the loaf out of the bowl onto the cornmeal. Slash an X on top of the loaf using a sharp knife or blade.

  4. Place the bread in the oven. Immediately turn the heat down to 450 F and continue to bake until the internal temperature registers at 200 F, about 30 minutes.

  5. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.


  • Add various seeds and/or dried fruit for more flavor.
  • The loaf can also be baked in a loaf pan. In this case, spray the pan with cooking spray or grease with butter and don’t use cornmeal.
  • Use the blade or knife to carve any design on top for some fun.

How to Store and Freeze

The loaf can be frozen for up to three months. You can vacuum seal it or place the bread in a double-bagged, freezer-safe bag to help keep the air out of it.

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