As an avid homebrewer who is also environmentally conscientious, I’ve looked for creative ways to use the byproducts of brewing beer, including the spent grain. Spent grain is the byproduct of an early stage of the brewing process called mashing and consists of a couple pounds of grain that is used up for beer but still quite nutrient rich. Spent grains are primarily made up of carbohydrates, proteins and lignin, which make excellent compost for the garden and delicious whole grain for baking bread (in fact, some of our stores actually use spent grain from local breweries to bake bread).I’d also heard that spent grain acts as a great source of protein and vitamins for animals. Always looking for new ways to delight our loving lab, Yampa, I decided to bake dog treats out of the grain. I found a few simple recipes on homebrewer forums and modified them to fit Yampa’s palate (she served as the official taste tester).I added diced apples and organic 365 Everyday Value peanut butter to the grains to make them extra flavorful...in fact, they looked so delightful that I helped myself to a bite! While they are a little on the bland side to my sophisticated taste buds, they are divine to a canine. I rolled them up into bite-sized balls before baking, which made them dry efficiently and are the perfect size for a little snack for Yampa. She loves them! And they make an inexpensive and eco-friendly gift for all of our dog-loving friends and family.
Of course, not everyone is a homebrewer with spent grain. No worries! We created a homemade dog treat recipe with universal appeal. Most dogs we know love peanut butter, so that’s a featured ingredient. We also included banana and egg to hold the treats together, along with oat flour and rolled oats, and parsley for breath-freshening action.You can shape the treats to the optimum size according to the size of your pooch. Also note that if your dog has trouble chewing some things, you should grind the rolled oats in a food processor before adding them to the other ingredients. These treats are free of wheat, corn and soy ingredients, as some dogs have sensitivities to these ingredients.So, try making your own dog treats and let us know what you and your best friend think about them! Happy baking!