Napoleon is a very spoiled dog. He gets the best of everything, because he's my little puppy baby. He has such a stockpile of treats that I'm reluctant to buy anymore, but our homebrewing experiment yielded a ton of spent grain. I've been investigating all sorts of ways to use this bounty, and the Internet is a wonderful resource. I know some breweries feed their mash to chickens or compost it, while others partner with local bakeries and restaurants to create everything from pizza crusts to pretzels. I'd love to try all that, eventually, but it's a lot of work just to dry the stuff out.
After you finish the first phase of brewing, you're left with a giant pot of grain that looks a bit like dark-colored oatmeal. The first step is to spread this all out on cookies sheets and dry it. If you have a dehydrator, even better. I don't, so I baked it at 200 degrees for like six hours, stirring it every so often. I'll admit, I wasn't home for all these hours - my oven has an auto shutdown feature.
Once I dried the mash, I had a big ziploc of grain in the freezer for a while. I remembered that Charyln uses her mash for dog treats and decided to try an experiment. These treats turn out rather crumbly, and I think they're best suited for small or free-form treats. I used a bunch of cookie cutters in different sizes since my sister's dog outweighs Napoleon by 15 pounds and can take down a grown-up sized treat. The smaller treats held the shape better than the bigger ones, like the bats. Also, my grain required quite a bit more sticky stuff than all the recipes I read online to keep them cohesive. However, Napoleon loves both eggs and peanut butter, so I think he's still pleased as punch about the outcome.
Spent Grain Dog Treat Recipe
2 cups dried spent grain
1 cup whole-wheat flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
Beat the eggs and whisk in the peanut butter until smooth. Mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add the wet stuff and mix until incorporated.
Roll the dough out onto a floured surface into a 1/4- to 1/2-inch slab, then use cookie cutters to shape. Or, you could use a glass or knife. I don't think my dog knows the differences in shapes, it just seemed like an adorable thing to do.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 225 and bake for two hours. This is just to dry out the treats and ensure they'll stay fresh. I put the treats into small ziploc bags, then into a large bag for storage in the freezer. Of course, I left out one bag for the most spoiled Yorkie on planet earth.
He's lucky he's cute.