German Spent Grain Bread Biertreberbrot

German Spent Grain Bread

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Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 50 mins
2 rises, about one hour each: 2 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
144 Calories
3g Fat
26g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 144
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 23mg 8%
Sodium 171mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 25mg 2%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 83mg 2%
*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.)

This German recipe for spent grain bread is made with the brewer's spent grain, leftovers from brewing, known as der biertreber. The bread made from them is known as biertreberbrot.

The spent grain is usually added wet to a regular dough, along with optional nuts or raisins. The result is a bread that's nutty and flavorful, along with increased fiber and protein. If you're a beginner to bread making, it can be intimidating, but learning is part of the fun. This recipe will give you a wholesome and delicious result.

If you have friends or family who like to brew their own beer, let them save the spent grain for you to try your hand at this bread recipe. Your local brewery might be happy to offload a pound or two of them, too; just call ahead. Like any freshly made bread, this will keep for several days, well wrapped, at room temperature. It toasts and freezes well, too.


  • 160 grams (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour

  • 65 grams (1/2 cup) whole-wheat flour

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast

  • 300 grams (1 1/2 cups) spent grain

  • 2 tablespoons honey, agave, or brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 small egg

  • 100 milliliters (1/2 cup) milk

Steps to Make It

Make the Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In the bowl of a sturdy stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add flours, salt, yeast, spent grain, honey, butter, egg, and milk.

  3. Mix on low speed until dough comes together and forms a smooth ball, then knead for about 5 minutes. You can mix this by hand, but it will take a bit longer.

  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, then shape into a ball.

  5. Place into a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Shaping the Dough

  1. Divide dough in half for 2 small loaves (about 12 ounces each) or leave as is for 1 larger loaf (about 1 1/2 pounds).

  2. Shape into a batard on a parchment-lined baking sheet or place in a loaf pan that has been coated with cooking spray.

  3. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap or a slightly damp, clean kitchen towel.

  4. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. After about 30 minutes, heat oven to either 350 F for a loaf in a pan or 450 F for a hand-shaped batard. If you have a bread stone, place it in the oven now.

Baking a Batard

  1. A batard will be baked with steam at a high temperature for the first 15 minutes; after that point, the temperature should be turned down. You do not need to add water to oven.

  2. Shortly before baking, slash loaves in your favorite pattern.

  3. If using a bread stone, dust it with cornmeal and carefully transfer risen batard(s) to stone using a peel, if you have one. Otherwise, bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

  4. Using steam as described for 10 to 15 minutes, lower temperature to about 400 F and bake until interior of the bread registers at 200 F or higher.

  5. Cool at least 30 minutes on a wire rack before slicing.

Baking a Loaf Pan

  1. Slash top of loaf and bake for 40 minutes or until the inner temperature is at least 200 F.

  2. Remove bread from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack to ensure air flows all the way around. Cool at least 30 minutes before slicing.


If you can't find or don't have instant yeast, you can use regular active dry yeast. The measurement requires you to scale up, using 1 1/4 times more active yeast than instant yeast. Instead of adding the yeast directly to the recipe, you'll need to combine the active yeast with the liquid in the recipe to activate it.

To check the activity of your yeast, make sure your liquid (in this case, milk) is 110 to 115 F before adding it. If bubbles or foam form on the surface of the liquid within about 10 minutes, your yeast is alive.

How to Store and Freeze Spent Grains

Spent grains have a limited window of freshness in the refrigerator. If they're stored in a zip-close plastic bag with a lot of the air pressed out, they can keep for 3 to 5 days. Check for mold or funky smells before using.

However, if you have a surplus or you want to bake with the grains at a later date, they definitely freeze well. Keep them in the freezer in small amounts ( 1/2 to 1 cup) in well-sealed, zip-close plastic bags for up to 6 months. Defrost in the fridge, and use as directed in your recipe.

If you have chickens, spent grain can be added as supplemental feed.