Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cooking Challenge Week 9 - Coffee - Spent-Grain Russian Black Bread

I don't like coffee.  I don't like a lot of bitter things in general--I'm only recently learning to like beer!--but even in its sweeter forms, coffee's flavor just doesn't appeal to me.

Fortunately, there's plenty you can do with coffee besides drink it.

There are also a few things you can do with the grain leftover from the beer-brewing process.  One of the most popular, apparently, is dog treats; but we have no canine companions.  Next on the list is spent-grain bread.  Our most recent batch of beer, a lovely milk stout, gave me enough spent grain for two batches of this wonderful bread.  It's moist, pleasantly chewy, incredibly flavorful...and the recipe calls for coffee.

I can't take credit for this recipe in the slightest--I found it over at r/Homebrewing.  I did, however, clean it up a little, and included my coffee-to-water proportions, the original isn't as easy to follow...

Spent-Grain Russian Black Bread
(makes about 4 lbs bread in total, loaves will vary with shaping)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 to 4 cups bread flour (will depend on the wetness of your grains)
  • 2 cups spent grain
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • dash onion powder
  • 1 1/2 cups brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups rye flour
  • more bread flour, as needed, for kneading and shaping
Proof the yeast in the warm water for 5-10 minutes, until foamy.  In the largest bowl you have, combine the bread flour, spent grain, sugar, salt, cocoa powder, and onion powder.  Add the proofed yeast and mix well.

In a small saucepan, combine the coffee, molasses, and olive oil.  Cook over low heat, stirring, just until the molasses is fully incorporated.  Stir into the flour mixture.

Add the rye flour, one cup at a time, stirring to form a dough.  (If your grains were rather wet, you might need to add more bread flour now to get a workable dough; if they were fairly dry, you might not need all the rye flour, in which case, use the rest of it for kneading and shaping.)

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for five minutes.  Let the dough rise until doubled (about one hour), then punch down and shape into desired loaves.  (I tried two braids to be fancy, but really, this is a wet dough and too soft to hold a well-defined freeform shape.  Stick to something simple.)  Let rise again 45 minutes to an hour.

Bake at 375 F for 40-45 minutes, until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

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