Overnight 20% Spent Grain Loaf

I wanted to push the limits of what’s an acceptable amount of spent grain flour to use in a loaf of bread. I usually add about 10% but in this loaf I decided to up it to 20%. While the dough, and resulting bread, was definitely extremely dense, the taste and flavor is excellent.

Overnight 20% spent grain flour

Schedule: I based this loaf off of my overnight bakers yeast schedule.

Since this bread got an overnight bulk fermentation, I only needed to use a scant 1/8 tsp (~0.4g) of bakers yeast. I had to make sure to mix it extremely well in the beginning to make sure the yeast got thoroughly incorporated.

30 minutes before mixing the bakers yeast and salt into the dough, I performed an autolyse by mixing the water and flours together.



  • 400g bread flour
  • 100g spent grain flour
  • 390g filtered water @ 90-95’F
  • 11g sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp yeast


After mixing in the salt and yeast, I performed 4 stretch and folds within the first 2 hours. The dough was extremely stiff and stretching proved extremely difficult. The dough bulk fermented at room temperature for about 13 hours.

As soon as I woke up the following morning I checked to see how well it rose. It was definitely not as well risen as I normally see after a full bulk fermentation, but I shaped the dough and let it proof for about an hour and a half at room temperature.

30 minutes into proofing I started preheating the oven. After an additional 45 minutes I dusted the dough with AP flour, scored it and baked the loaf in a preheated dutch oven at 450’F for 38 minutes covered, then removed the lid of the dutch oven and baked for an additional 18 minutes.

Overnight spent grain top view


The proofed dough was still extremely dense but I scored it and threw it into the oven anyway. Even though it was very dense, the dough rose fairly well in the oven and got a really nice split from the scoring.

The color of the crust is very dark brown looking almost like I added chocolate powder. Normally at 10% spent grain, the crust looks very similar to a loaf with about 20-30% whole wheat flour. The crumb is very compact and has the same dark brown color.

The flavor of the bread is very earthy and rich in whole grain flavors. Some of the darker malts from the spent grain (it was from a cocoa porter) lend nice roasty and chocolate flavors and aromas as well.

Overnight spent grain crumb

Thoughts for next time:

While the flavor is pretty nice, I think 20% spent grain flour is probably pushing the limits of what I like. Perhaps increasing the hydration would help open up the crumb but I’ll probably stick with my 10% for now.

My Baking Notes

  • Ambient temperature: 70’F
  • Started autolyse @ 5:00pm
  • Water temp: 92’F
  • Dough was 88’F at autolyse
  • Mixed @ 5:30pm
  • Dough was 84’F after mixing (I let this one ferment in a metal bowl which retained heat too well)
  • 4 stretch and folds in first 2 hours, w/ overnight bulk fermentation at room temp
  • Started proof @ 6:30am the next morning
  • Preheated oven @ 7:00am
  • Into oven @ 7:45am

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