Brewers out there – this blog is for you!
I know that your friends and family are ooing and aaaawwwing at your brewhouse accomplishments. This blog will show you how to get them ooing and aaaawwwing over a great loaf of bread from your beer trub.
For readers who are not beer makers, trub is the ‘gunk’ that forms at the bottom of a beer fermentation vessel. Once the yeast has been active, and has fermented the beer, it drops out and falls to the bottom. The trub is highly bitter as it also picks up the taste of the hops and other bittering agents. But perhaps you are a bread baker who knows a beer brewer. Get some of that trub – its a unique baking experience.
Perhaps the most important aspect to master is the bitterness of the trub. A little is nice – but too much can kill it.
There are also many recipes out there for a beer bread in which beer is substituted in whole or in part for the water. This is also not like that. In this, the beer trub provides both the rise and the flavour.
So lets get started. The whole process takes between 6 and 24 hours, depending on the temperatures you ferment at. Its a great project to do on brew day when you have to wait around and monitor things. This recipe will make one 950g loaf.
- Beer trub – about 100g. The fresher the better. Use what you have from your last batch that has been refrigerated.
- Flour: about 700g total. Flour also imparts flavour. For this beer I would go with whole grain high protein flours – whole wheat, red fife, rye, spelt, kamut. Some all purpose white flour can be used, but that is not what beer bread is all about.
- Water – less than a litre. It must not have chemicals in it.
- Salt – 12g
- Various seeds and toppings of your choice.
- Get the starter happening
In a 500ml or 1l mason jar combine 100g trub, 60g flour and 100ml of water (no chemicals in it though, they will kill the yeasts). Mix thoroughly and leave for a few hours. If your trub is fresh (less than a month old and has been refrigerated) place the mason jar in a bowl as it may very well overflow. (Check the ceiling photo. This one blew its top!) Leave the starter until it gets really active. This should take approximately 4 hours at room temperature.
Beer trub, flour and water= your starter
Beer trub has some really active yeast!
It twisted the top off … and BOOM!
2. The Bulk Rise
Now is the time to mix in the rest of the ingredients and let that trub yeast get refreshed and go to work! Combine the following dry ingredients:
- 545g of flour. This can be your choice. Just as in beer making the grains you use determines the flavour, so it is true in bread making. Since trub has those hoppy beery qualities in abundance, my suggestion would be to try heavier whole grain flours: whole wheat, rye, red fife. Some white all purpose flour is fine too. (note the similarities to your grain bills?)
Dry ingredients for the bulk rise
- 12g salt
- 25g DME (for you non brewers this is dry malt extract) or another sugar.
Now mix in the wet ingredients:
- 285g of water. This could be other liquids, though I would not suggest beer, as there is plenty if beeriness in the trub.
- 109g of starter: the trub/flour/water you just refreshed
Plus water and starter
Mix it all thoroughly together, turn it out on a counter and knead (wet your hands with water, don’t add more flour) until everything is nicely combined. If it gets a little sticky, wet your hands
at the start of the bulk rise
End of the bulk rise
Place your bulk rise in a bowl and cover with a very damp towel. This can be left at room temperature for about 4 hours or until it is doubled in size. You can also stick it in the fridge overnight.
For this super simple first go at it, I’m advising you use a typical loaf pan.
STRETCH AND FOLD (S&F)
STRETCH AND FOLD: TAKE A CORNER OF YOUR DOUGH, PULL IT OUT AND FOLD IT OVER THE REST OF THE DOUGH. REPEAT A FEW TIMES UNTIL THE DOUGH GETS STIFF.
S&F: stretch and fold over
THE TASTE TEST
At this point I would taste it to see where it is at for bitterness. I don’t usually do this for bread, but with the hoppiness in the trub, you might want to. Heat up a frying pan (cast iron is best), flatten out a small piece of dough you have pinched off, and put it dry into your pan at a medium heat. It will rise and get brown. Turn it a couple of times. After a couple of minutes it will be ready. Taste it. If you like what you have then go for it. If you feel it is too bitter, add some sweetener – honey, maple syrup, DME. Repeat the process (if you like).
SHAPING AND PROOFING
Now that the basic taste of the bread is where you want it, shape it more or less into a shape that will nicely fit in your pan. You can add other things: cereals, seeds, cornmeal – whatever your brewer’s heart desires. Sprinkle your additives on or roll the dough in them.
To place the bread in its pan, tear off enough parchment paper to hold the loaf. I advise parchment paper as it makes the loaf super easy to extract.
If you are baking it right away, leave it for about an hour at room temperature. If you want to wait overnight or a similar longish period, put it in the fridge for 8-24 hours at this point. Just make sure it is covered with a damp cloth.
Shaped into a loaf, you can add seeds etc. on the crust if you like.
Turn your oven to 450F. When it reaches cooking temperature, score the loaf: using a sharp knife cut a slash from one end to the other. The blade should be at an angle and not go in more than a few cm/1/4”.
Just before it goes in, slash from one end to the other.
At this point you can also brush on a variety of crust caremelizing liquids – either water, oil or egg white.
Bake as follows: You will be using 3 different temperatures.
|You proofed it at room temperature
||You proofed it in the fridge
|12 minutes at 450F/230C
||16 minutes at 450F/230C
|12 minutes at 425F/218C
||16 minutes at 425F/218C
|12 minutes at 400F/205C
||16 minutes at 400F/205C
If you are unsure if it is ready, test it with an instant read thermometer (you are a brewer, you will have one of these!). It should be at an internal temperature of between 190F (88C) – 205F(95C).
Once out of the oven let it cool off for about 15 minutes – then dig in. You will find it pairs so excellently with the beer you brew!
ADJUSTING THE RECIPE
What is presented here is a precise recipe yielding a 950 or so gram loaf. You can easily adjust it using my handy bread calculator spreadsheet.
The highlighted cells can be changed by the user, however the other cells are all formulas and the cells are protected. The two key cells are B6 and B8.
In B6 you control the ratio of flour to starter. Making regular sourdough, I typically have this set for a 3:1 recipe. For trub starters, I suggest it be set to 5 or 6 – a higher 5:1 ratio.
B8 is the amount of trub starter to use. Remember that the trub starter is what resulted from initially combining trub with water and flour. In this recipe, you will have trub starter left over. Put it in the fridge and you can use it a day or two later. You can also refresh it with the following ratios of flour and water: 1 part trub starter, 1 part water, 60% of the starter weight in flour. If you wanted to be adventurous you could even use it to get your next brew going! What you are doing is using flour instead of wort to refresh and strengthen the yeast.
B7 is the hydration – what is presented is a fairly dry 60% hydration loaf. You could nudge this up, but if you are trying it for the first time, just leave it as it is.
If you loved doing this you will want to do it some more. You can! You can keep refreshing your starter using equal amounts of the old starter and fresh water, with 60% of the starter weight in flour. The hoppiness will dissipate the more flour refreshing you do until you will eventually have your own strain of sourdough starter.
If you want to explore even further, check out my blog on sourdough here:
More sourdough related posts
Making sourdough easy and ‘just in time’
More fun with Sourdough: Party Bites
Fun stuff to do with sourdough
As well as the following bread resources here:
Plus some other cool sites
Whole Wheat Croissants
March 12 2019: A postscript to this blog: I’ve noticed this blog has received more attention than any of my other (frankly) more useful bread blogs. What’s up with that? I’m genuinely curious.
Please let me know how you found it & what intrigued you about it!