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I find myself baking a couple loaves of bread just about every weekend. Has anyone tried reusing their yeast from brewing for baking bread? I've heard that using some of the spent grain in bread recipes works well, but I'm curious if brewing yeasts are significantly different from those used baking that it would produce some not-so-great tasting bread?

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Can we add a Pretzel tag to this? :) –  dana Dec 21 '11 at 22:54
    
We have a brewing company in town that makes beer bread from thier leftovers from the brew. Most popular bread in town. –  Steve Oct 17 '13 at 19:55

9 Answers 9

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Bread yeast is designed to produce huge amounts of CO2 to aid in rising. Beer yeast is not.

Now this is not to say that you CAN'T use brewing yeast, but you will get a more dense bread.

The guys at Basic Brewing did an experiment brewing a pale ale with bread yeast and baking bread with Safale-05. They said the bread came out tasting like... bread. But keep in mind that Safale-05 is pretty neutral strain. Your more funky strains will probably end up in more funky bread. Here's the link to the video.

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All yeasts produce the same CO2, what changes is attenuation, ie. the amount of sugars they can eat. Bread yeast is a dry yeast and that translates to lots of CO2. Beer yeasts are usually on the sweet side and don't produce so much. –  qpr Nov 16 '10 at 13:18
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But how was the beer? –  Dustin Rasener Dec 22 '11 at 1:54

I've been maintaining a starter for about 4 months that I originally cultured from the sludge at the bottom of the primary. I believe it was an American Ale yeast. I treat it just like a sourdough starter. I keep the reserved starter it in the fridge between uses and feed white flour about once a week when I take some for baking. It works great to raise bread and acts just like a sourdough starter except there is not much 'sour' taste. I don't use supplemental bakers yeast. I let the first rise go at least 12 hours and often a full 24. The second rise takes much less time--maybe 3-4 hours. I think treating it like sourdough and giving it all the extra time is the key to getting a nice light crumb.

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Use leftover yeast to make pretzels! So good when their warm and the perfect accompaniment to fresh Beer.

My Recipe:

Ingredients

* 2 teaspoons salt
* about 1 Cup of *clean* yeast slurry (Fresh is Best!, but at least warm them up)
* 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
* 2 ounces melted butter
* Egg Wash and Baking Soda for Browning
* Pretzel salt (It won't melt as much, and it looks way better)

Directions

  • Mix flour, butter and yeast together to form a dough ball, knead for 5-10 min.
  • Oil a bowl and drop in dough to rise, let rise (covered) in a warm place. It will double in size in 1-2 hours.

  • Boil 3/4 cup of baking soda into a pan with 2-3 inches of water.

  • Break the dough into 8 balls and roll out into pretzels, dunk in the baking soda for 30 seconds and transfer to a greased baking sheet.

  • Egg wash, salt, and bake at 450 until golden brown (10-15 minutes)

Devour with Homebrew!

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I used some spent grain in a bread recipe, and it was fantastic.

Two weeks ago, I brewed a batch of Northern Brewer Caribou Slobber from the extract kit. After getting the wort into the primary, I made a double batch of whole wheat bread and added all my leftover specialty grains to it. For this kit, the grains were 0.25 lbs Briess Caramel 80L, 0.25 lbs Fawcett Pale Chocolate, and 0.125 lbs Black Malt.

Yeah, it turned out a tad dense, but not too bad. It tasted a lot like a black bread recipe that I like to make. It was a little bitter, but in a good way. I whipped up some honey butter to go with it, and it was a big hit with the wife and kids.

I will definitely be doing that again.

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When you say spent grain, do you mean grain you had already used in brewing (i.e. just the husks), or left over grain that you hadn't used? I reckon in the former case you'd just be adding fibre to your bread! –  Poshpaws Jul 2 '11 at 9:25
    
The former, although the grain probably wasn't "spent". The recipe called for steeping the grains in the hot water for 20 minutes before adding the malt. The grains darkened the bread and added a good bit of flavor. –  JesterVineo Jul 5 '11 at 12:45

I made bread from the trub and I wouldn't recommend it. I made a very bitter bread. D'oh.

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I've had great results with leftover lager yeast. I include the slurry in the liquid portion of the bread. I put the liquid in a bowl of the flour and salt, stir only 1/3 of the flour in, cover, and let ferment 12 hours at 10C. In the morning I stir in and knead the rest of the flour, then rise at room temperature. Sometimes a couple of tablespoons sugar (per 2 cups liquid) is needed to keep the yeast going. Make sure your flour has some malt in it, as usual for bread yeast.

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I know people who do this all the time and their breads are very good, never too dense. You have to remember to treat it like sourdough though. Sourdough yeast takes a long time to rise bread (between 6 and 12 hours) and beer yeast performs very similarly. The "heaviness" or "denseness" all of the other posts refer to is simply because they did not give the bread enough time to rise.

So to answer your question, no, you can't take a baker's yeast recipe and substitute beer yeast in for it and get the same result, but if you follow sourdough recipes, you will be very pleasantly surprised, especially if you're making more rustic type breads like French breads and ciabatta.

The comment PMV made about using bakers yeast with it is another shortcut you can use to make bread with your beer yeast, a lot of sourdough bakers do that all of the time.

Here is an interesting thread on Chowhound that discusses using beer yeast to make bread, and even harvesting beer yeast from bottles to make bread.

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I tried it once. The bread was very dense. I put me in mind of Terry Pratchett's dwarf bread. It was useless for the fine art of sammichery, but worked well for hors d'oeuvres. (Herrings, strong cheese).

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How long did you let it rise? A sourdough, and likewise a beer yeast bread needs at least 5 hours of rise time compared to the 1 hour of most baker's yeast. –  Room3 Nov 15 '10 at 18:27
    
Well that's likely the problem. –  Chris Cudmore Nov 15 '10 at 20:03

I don't particularly like adding much spent grain to bread recipes, it makes the bread too heavy IMO. However, using brewing yeast, either fresh or from a slurry is a great addition. I generally add at least 50% bakers yeast though, it helps the dough to rise quicker.

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