Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Spent Grain Bread (No Comments)

One of the most logical bi-products of brewing (other than perhaps becoming a beer snob or developing a beer gut) is making spent grain bread. I have been working on my recipe for several months, but this last one is the best ever. I put spent grain in the sponge and leave it out overnight. Then I make the rest of the dough, add a bit more spent grain, some yeast, a lot of salt (the grain seems to suck it up), and a few tablespoons of a nice strong honey. It is awesome!

There was really only one problem. I am horrible at shaping bread. I have the football shaped loaf with the slit down the middle down, but anything else I try goes wrong. I tried to make a rustic shape where you flatten half of the loaf and fold it over the other half. This rose making the loaf look like a butt. When it was cut, it had one hollow cheek. This time I tried to make boules (round loaves) and did one with a box cut and one with an X. The X had random bumps everywhere and was really not round. The box cut turned into a blob with a small square oasis in the middle. Still at least the flavor was there. I took it to my niece’s birthday party where kids and adults alike loved the bread. Many of them said they thought it was from a professional bakery, although with my issues with loaf shaping I doubt this was truly the case. Perhaps I should start a bakery called misshapen loaves but then again folks would probably come to it for things other than bread.

I am making a few new loaves for home and am thinking about trying to create a recipe for spent grain pretzels!


Melt (2 Comments)

A few months ago a new restaurant opened near home. We had not been able to make it there until recently (ok we had gone, but decided not to wait the hour for a table). The restaurant is called ‘Melt‘ and the entire menu is basically variations of grilled cheese (which include steak and cheese, burgers, etc). We had a 20 minute wait for a table and decided to spend the time at the bar. We were then handed the beer list. I was prepared to see the usual fauna of the area; bud, bud light, etc. And instead saw that this place had 12 taps– none were bud, miller, or even great lakes– all of them were exciting. In addition to the taps they had a fantastic selection of bottled beers. Infact, the beer selection alone warrants returning to the restaurant. Then there was the food– At first I have to admit I looked at the menu and thought ‘how can they charge $8 for a grilled cheese?’. Then the thing got to the table. It was monstrous and out of this world. Despite being full I felt like a masterpiece like this sandwich should not go to waste. I tried to fit it in, tried to walk around the restaurant hoping the food in my stomach would compact, and later gave up and offered the sandwich to other folks at the table. The sandwich was a steak and cheese with port onions. Instead of gouda, I had them put blue cheese onto the sandwich. The waitress dropped it off and said, ‘everyone in the kitchen wants to try that!’ Later she came back and said this would be a new menu item (I *knew* I had good taste!) Chris got a burger which is one of the few restaurant burgers I have ever had that actually tasted like it was grilled over charcoal. Combined with the beer, these created a foodgasm. Needless to say they place is now a favorite and likely will be added to the list of restaurants that we recommend to guests at HotelHarley.  

Change of Plans (No Comments)

One of the first rules of cooking is make sure you have all of your ingredients before you start. I have never been able to remember this rule and used frequently end up running to the store in the middle of cooking to get some ingredient I cant live without. Over the years I have gotten great at improvising which reduces store runs. Sadly, I am not as comfortable at improvising beer recipes as I am with dinner. So, because I decided that the girlbeer has an ingredient which it cant live without, it is being put off until monday (or some time next week…).

We were going to just brew next weekend, but I had gotten myself in the middle of a batch of spent grain bread and had no spent grain. I could go on without, (of course the bread wouldnt be as good….), however we decided to go ahead with at least one of the batches of beer. So we are currently making the strong IPA. At the moment the grains are steeping and the house smells fantastic!

 Gotta go– hot beer on the stove!