Spent Grain Beer Bread for Homebrewers

I just started homebrewing and felt really bad about just throwing out the grains from my brews. I was sure there was something I could do with the spent grain, so I googled and found a recipe to make some bread. If you want to retain a lot of the grain flavor in the bread, this is the recipe to start with. Here’s how it went for me.

First things first, I opened a brew that my friend gave me. It was several years old (yes, I said years), so it formed a huge head which eventually settled into a scary monkey face.

With that out of the way, I pulled my grains out of the freezer where I had been storing them for about 5 days. After I brewed, I actually dried the grains for a few hours in direct sunlight, and then when the sun was gone, I put them in the oven on the lowest setting for about 5 hours to get them nice and dry.

I threw some grains into the coffee grinder and got them nice and fine. I think I went a little too fine and will leave them more hearty next time. I also didn’t have the 3 cups of grains that the recipe called for, only about 2.5. I filled the remaining 1/2 cup with whole wheat flour instead.

This was the only recipe that I found online that called for an egg, so here’s a nice pretty shot of it all beaten up.

Jasmine’s recipe called for sugar, but I used honey instead. I’m pretty sure the 1/4 cup was not enough, so I’d up that to at least 1/2 cup next time, or at least use the honey in addition to the sugar. She gave the option of 1/4 cup of butter or olive oil, and I chose butter. For the milk, I substituted almond milk (original flavor).

After adding all the ingredients to the mix, it looked like this and I could tell it needed more moisture.

I added another cup of milk and that didn’t do much to help, so I added two more for a total of 4 cups of milk to give it some moisture. Finally, I was able to get it to look like this.

I’m pretty sure the lack of moisture came from me drying my grains instead of using them wet like Jasmine did. At any rate, it was time to put the ball in the oiled bowl and let it rise for 90 minutes. When that was done, I split it into 3 loaves and let it rise for another hour. I made a time lapse of the rising with one photo every minute.

I’m not sure what happened during this phase, but it really didn’t rise as much as I think it should have. My guess is that the yeast weren’t working hard enough, or there wasn’t enough sugar for them to eat. Another reason why I will be doubling the honey for the next batch.

I rubbed some water on the top of each loaf and scored them, then threw them in the oven for 50 minutes. They came out looking just slightly larger than when they went in.

As you can see, this is really dense bread. It smells like the wort when I was boiling on brew day, and that’s a great smell. The best part is that it even tastes like it smells! It’s pretty sweet bread, but not overpowering as if it were cake. You probably wouldn’t want to make a sandwich out of it, but it was definitely amazing with a little butter or honey on a thin slice. Better yet, try it with a little honey butter and it’s a really nice treat.

Thanks to Jasmine for the recipe. Happy baking and brewing!

Grid Layout

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve posted on my blog. I really should be fired, but luckily I’m my only employee.

A friend and co-worker, Jesse Inman, recently introduced me to the grid system. I’ve been really impressed with the way it responds to the viewport, and the ease with which it allows a designer to add blocks of content to a site. Here’s another grid system that has some differences.

With that in mind, I updated my blog theme to one that is built on a grid. What this means is that you can view my site in a browser on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone and it will automatically scale itself down to fit best on that particular device. You can test it out if you’re using a desktop browser right now. Resize your browser’s width all the way as small as you can get it, and watch how it intelligently reformats the content.

I know the looks of the site aren’t all that special right now, but I’m hoping to do an update to that aspect when I get around to it.

iPhone MMS Message Send Failure

My iPhone 3G was doing very well with the new MMS capabilities until one day it wouldn’t send any. I didn’t update, add any apps, or change any settings. All I did was sync it with iTunes to backup the phone. I don’t know if that caused the problem or not, but it was the only thing I did besides normal usage of the phone. I was hunting for a fix online and saw a lot of suggestions for people who couldn’t get MMS working from the beginning, but none about how to get it working again after it had been working previously.

Some suggestions were drastic including a full restore of the iPhone, and others were annoying by suggesting that you call at&t customer support. All that noise sounded like way too much of a headache to me, so I just did a simple power cycle (turn off the phone, then turn it back on), and that fixed it. Amazingly simple. I’ve made it a habit to start with that as my first step of troubleshooting my iPhone, computers, routers, modems, cable boxes, etc. Sometimes it fixes it, and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s nice when it does.

Transfer Music From iPhone to Computer

I recently got a new iMac and wanted the music from my iPhone on it. I have tried several different apps that work well with iPods, but have trouble with the iPhone for whatever reason. Senuti used to be my go-to app, but it hadn’t been updated for the iPhone 3G, not to mention that they had started charging for the software. Yamipod is a great free app that does the job for getting music off, as well as putting music back on the iPod (although a little unrefined as far as UI goes and occasionally crashes), but it doesn’t work with the iPhone 3G either.

I settled on Music Rescue, which costs £10 to register, but you can download and try it for free.

When you first launch it with your iPhone plugged in, it automagically recognizes it and gives you the option to open it or QuickRecover. Pretty smart, eh? I chose to open it, because I didn’t know what QuickRecover would do. I’m ignorant. I admit it.

Auto Detect

After you open it, you can see the contents of your iPhone in a beautiful and very iTunes-esque interface. I’m not saying iTunes is the best, but at least it eliminates the learning curve. You have access to view and playback your music, movies, podcasts, and audiobooks. I didn’t have any TV shows on my iPhone, but it appears to handle all media on your iPhone. Probably not voice recordings, though.

Media Library

I was impressed with all the options in the preferences to customize how you want the app to behave. Very flexible and useful. You can even setup a profile for your device that will be stored on the device itself so that when you plug into other computers with Music Rescue, it will remember the settings. This could be useful if you want to keep two computer music libraries synced through the use of your iPhone.

App PreferencesProfiles

When you’re ready to start the copy, click the button in the bottom right corner that says “Begin Copy…” and you’re presented with some options of which media you want to copy as shown below. I love options and flexibility! I also love the little encouragement in the bottom left, “Don’t steal music.” Isn’t that Apple’s line?

Copy Options

If you use the software in the Demo mode, then you’ll be nagged every 50 songs with this little window which goes away by clicking OK. I love developers who tell you it isn’t free software, yet they let you use it for free. It’s like those companies that send you free return address labels, but then ask you to send in a donation if you plan on using them. Yeah, ok, I’ll get right on that.

Register Nag

It’s a small annoyance, but if you use this more than once, it would definitely be worth it to purchase a license key. After all your media is copied from the iPhone, it then opens iTunes and adds it to the library. If there are conflicts, it warns you and gives you options for overwriting, skipping, or merging data. How very thoughtful!

Overall, a very flexible, easy, quick, and painless procedure to get my music off my iPhone. I highly recommend this software to anyone in the same boat.

P.S. They also offer a Windows version, but I have not tested it. Let me know how it works for you.