Like most all-grain homebrewers, I end up with a lot of spent grain. Sure, I can compost it, but wouldn’t it be sweet if I could actually make something out of my spent grain?
The first thing I tried doing was the most obvious to me, which was to try to use it in homemade bread. I love my homemade bread, and thought surely that was the way to go. Following the advice of another homebrewer, I learned that a little goes a long way. Do yourself a favor and save Erik’s spent grain bread recipe for later.
So, that was a wash. I have way more spent grain than that, and I was still looking for something to do with it. I had heard of Dogfish Head’s dog treats, but hadn’t taken any action, as I had never seen them in person.
Then my friends Nate & Abby brought over a batch of dog cookies that they had made from their own spent grain, referencing a recipe on the HomeBrewTalk bulletin board.
4 cups spent grain
2 cups flour
1 cup peanut butter
Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Press down into a dense layer on a large cookie sheet. Score almost all the way through into the shapes you want. Bake for about half an hour at 350 F to solidify them. Loosen them from the sheet, break the biscuits apart and return them, loosely spread out on the cookie sheet, to the oven at 225 F for 3 to 4 hours (or until they are really dry) to prevent mold growth. Store in an airtight container to keep them dry and mold-free.
I tried this route a couple times, and it works pretty well. What I really like to do (my friend Abby again is to thank for this) is to make them into giant, uh, logs, which then fit really well to plug the end of a Kong toy. My dogs get antsy sometimes (often), and to keep them occupied, we’ll put their dinner in a kong, and plug the end with one of these spent grain logs. It keeps the kibble from falling out, and also makes dinner extra fancy.
I also add another cup of peanut butter to the recipe which makes it a little more sticky, but my dogs love peanut butter, and it makes them smell a lot more like PB if you do that, and I think it also helps to keep them stuck together a little bit more too.
4 cups still isn’t a lot of your spent grains, but I will usually make a double batch while I’m at it, which then ends up using a good amount of spent grains. And if you want to use more of it, your spent grains freeze pretty well, and you can make several batches of dog treats in-between your brewing days.