Brewing beer involves creating a lot of waste product – hot water, yeast and barley to name the 3 largest.

We have a very large, indulgent spa bath which we fill up on brew days using the hot water which has cooled the brewing beer down and relax in the tub to ease weary bodies (brewing beer is a surprisingly physical activity!).

Some of the barley we use to make crackerbreads for the restaurant, some of it we use as fertiliser on the garden, but sadly some of it gets thrown away as there is so much of it so any of you who can make use of it do let us know and we’ll get in touch when we have some to collect.

The yeast we have been experimenting with to make bread.  When we initially googled whether you could, there were mixed views but mainly that you needed to use it like a soda bread starter, something we have never done.

Not to be deterred, we thought that it must be possible to make a loaf of bread using the beer waste yeast instead of a rehydrated bread yeast and started playing around with it to see what would happen.

The upshot is that you absolutely can use waste beer yeast to make bread and it’s not actually complicated.  There are only a couple of adaptions from a standard bread recipe:-

  1.  Depending on how marmitey you would like your bread to taste depends on how much you wash the yeast.  You can use it as it comes out of the beer which will make a dark, very marmitey loaf, or wash it a couple of time (literally let the stuff which comes out of the beer stand in the fridge until it separates into a liquid layer on top and a more solid layer below (this is the yeast) and pour the liquid layer down the drain.  Add about twice as much cooled boiled water to the yeast, stir and leave to stand in the fridge again until separated, then repeat – we usually do this the day before as it can take some time). When it is washed how you want it, again pour off the liquid layer into a jug to use if you need to add water to loosen up the dough.
  2. You need to add twice as much sugar to the yeast than you otherwise would.  This is because you are eking out the last active bit from the yeast which has already been used to brew beer so it needs extra help; and it also takes longer than usual to rise.  On the first rise it is not time critical to knock it back, we usually leave it overnight but you can knock it back as soon as it starts to deflate.  The second rise is more time critical and you want to have it in the oven before it starts to deflate – in our kitchen this takes around 2 hours but will depend on how warm your kitchen is so just keep an eye on it.

Other than the above, make it like any other standard bread loaf.

My recipe is:-

100ml brewing yeast (the more solid layer, not including any of the liquid layer on top)

10g/2 teaspoons of sugar added to and mixed into the yeast when you are ready to add it to the flour

500ml flour (we have only used white flour to date but imagine wholemeal would work just as well)

1 egg and 1 egg yolk whisked together

7,5g/1.5 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons olive oil OR 25g butter

water or liquid yeast layer as required.

Method (using a mixer with dough hooks, if doing by hand then you have more stamina wthan us!!):-

Grease the mixer bowl with olive oil to help the dough not to stick then add in the flour.  Make a hollow each side in the flour (effectively make a dam in the middle of the bowl with flour) to keep the salt away from the yeast until you start to mix it.

To one hollow add the salt, olive oil and egg mix.

To the other hollow add the yeast (don’t forget to add the sugar to the yeast before adding it to the flour).

Turn the mixer on a low speed to mix the 2 sides of ingredients.  Add some additional water/liquid yeast layer if the mixture is too dry (better to be too wet than too dry – you get to know what you are looking for after a couple of goes, if in any doubt do get in touch or read Paul Hollywood’s bread book).

When the mix has the right consistency, turn the mixer up to a medium speed and mix for about 10 minutes.  The dough is ready when, when you  lift then mixer arm up to it’s upright position, the dough can stretch from the dough hook to the bottom on the mixer bowl.

Scrape the dough off the hook into the mixer bowl, cover with cling film or a clear plastic bag and leave to stand until it has fully risen and started to deflate.  As said above, this is not time critical and you can leave it until it is convenient to you to do the next stage.

Flour a surface and tip the dough onto it and knock it back (basically you are trying to kneed the air out of it).  This takes about a couple of minutes.

Grease a loaf tin with olive oil, shape the dough into a rectangle and then fold each edge in on each other so that you have a vaguely loaf shaped dough, and put iinto the tray with the fold on the bottom.

We put the tin with the dough into a large food container with the lid on to have its’ second rise, but you can put it into a large plastic bag provided you can fashion some way to stop the plastic touching the top of the risen dough.

Leave to stand again until it has risen but get it in the over before it starts to deflate.

Cook for 25 – 30 minutes at 225 degrees C (our cooker runs hot so we use an internal thermometer to gauge the temperature rather than what the dial says).

When cooked, leave to cool before taking out of the tin – it is cooked when it sound hollow if you knock the loaf on its’ bottom.

Do let us know how you get on if you have a go!


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