Britain is home to more craft breweries per head than any other country in the world. But the booming beer industry also means an increase in the waste product called spent grain.
Breweries are struggling to get rid of this by-product, but one of the solutions is to turn it into food.
WHAT IS SPENT GRAIN?
Making beer requires a process called ‘malting’ a grain (often barley), which means soaking it so it germinates, then gently cooking it.
The malted barley is then mashed to extract the protein, sugar and nutrients, leaving behind the spent grain – called ‘spent’ as it’s been used.
Despite being a by-product, spent grain is still totally edible. And, as Jamie and Jimmy discover on this week’s Friday Night Feast, it has a delicious sweet and nutty flavour.
WHY IS IT WASTED?
For every pint of beer made in the UK, the equivalent of two porridge bowls’ worth of spent grain is produced. That’s a lot of grain to find a good home for!
Currently, spent grain is often used by farmers to feed cattle and pigs. But it can be hard for brewers to find a good home for spent grain, particularly in cities – and avoid sending it to landfill.
The challenge is that spent grain is a very wet product, with up to 80% water content due to the soaking process. So, in its raw form, the grain needs to be re-used very quickly before it goes off.
Alternatively, it can be dried and stabilised – which opens up loads of new, tasty ways to use spent grain.
HOW CAN WE USE IT?
Jamie and Jimmy visit Good Things Brewing Co. who are turning the spent grain from their beer into a beautiful malted flour.
It’s high in protein and fibre, and tastes delicious.
Jamie uses this unusual grain to make a simple Irish soda bread. His verdict? “So much more complex and delicious than usual. A chef’s dream!” He also uses the flour in a pasta dough, and a beautiful beef pie made with spent grain pastry.
On the show, Jamie showcases his spent grain recipes to a team of brewers, bakers, butchers and even a miso company – starting a discussion around using this product.
By bringing the industry and food-lovers together, hopefully we will begin to see more products being made with spent grain.
So why not speak to your local craft brewer about what they can do with this exciting product.
Find out more info about Jamie and Jimmy’s campaigns on Friday Night Feast at the show’s homepage, here.