Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Spent Grain Pizza

If you know someone that brews their own beer, find out what they do with their spent grain!  Spent grain is the leftover malt residue and grains after the mash process has extracted most of the sugars, proteins, and nutrients when making beer.  Spent grain can be used for composting, animal feed, and in cooking recipes.  Using spent grain in cooking is a great way to add some fiber, texture, and a nutty flavor.  The grains can be dried out and processed into flour, but I haven't ventured into that yet.  So far I've only tried making pizza dough.  I have tried a couple of different recipes, but we like the one from the Brooklyn Brew Shop the best so far.  If anyone has any other dough recipes they like (using spent grain or not), let me know!

Do you know how super easy it is to make pizza dough?  Ridiculously easy - and you can make a bunch and freeze it for later.  One of my friends (shout out Christy!) inspired me to start since the kids ask for pizza weekly.  Making the dough is really fun to do with the kids too.  They get to watch the yeast clouds grow when we hydrate them with water and then get to put all the ingredients into the bowl to be mixed (after I measure them out). 

It's fun to come up with random pizzas based on things we need to use up in our kitchen.  Last week we had some ingredients I threw together to make a bacon-chicken-pesto pizza and a pepperoni pizza.  (the pics are not the greatest, took them on a whim)

The pesto was made with some parmesan cheese, pecans, basil, olive oil, and garlic scapes that I blended up.  (I'd give you measurements, but I don't measure often when cooking.  Just add what seems right and taste it as you go.)  Then spread it out onto the spent grain pizza dough and top it with left over bacon and chicken.  The kids got to sprinkle on some colby-jack cheese (which is all we had or I would've used mozzarella) to finish it - then off it went to the oven.

The pepperoni one was just homemade tomato sauce we canned last year on top of the spent grain dough - then we let the kids throw on some basil, pepperoni, and cheddar cheese (again, should've used mozzarella).

I like to add a little extra flavor to the outside of the crust so I usually throw together a garlicky mixture to paint around the edges.  Again, didn't measure the quantities, but it generally consists of:
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • a few tbsp of olive oil - enough to make it spreadable

We made a taco pizza this week - spread refried beans ontop of the spent grain dough.  Add (cooked) taco seasoned meat and cheddar cheese - then bake.  We finished it off with chopped lettuce, sour cream, and a cilantro/lime juice/sour cream mixture we whipped up and drizzled all over.  Would have been even better with some fresh salsa, chip strips, and black olives!

Not sure what next week will be...maybe curry pizza?  Greek?  Depends on what's in the kitchen!
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