Expert Explains What Upcycled Flour Is And How To Use It

Upcycling is pretty trendy these days, although it's really nothing new — people have been applying new coats of paint to ugly old furniture and making over worn-out clothing as long as furniture, paint, and clothes have existed. Upcycled food, too, is hardly a revolutionary concept as people have been getting creative with stale bread and mushy produce since time immemorial. What is new(er), however, is the fact that many commercial enterprises are now jumping on board to the point where you can now buy pricey upcycled snack foods made out of ugly produce and bottled water leftover from juice concentrate.

Yet another ingredient available for purchase is upcycled flour, something that Upcycled Foods, Inc. founder and CEO Dan Kurzrock explains is flour made out of the grain left over from beer-making, aka "brewer's spent grain." In an interview with Mashed, Kurzrock notes that, in addition to being environmentally friendly, upcycled grain has much more protein and fiber than regular all-purpose flour. He also says it even contains prebiotics to promote good digestion. That being said, though, he admits that upcycled grain can't replace all of the flour in a recipe, just 10 to 30% of it.

You may need to tweak your recipes to bake them with upcycled grain

In addition to doing the math necessary to replace only part of the grain in your recipe, Kurzrock also cautions that you may need to adjust the amount of liquid in the recipe. (He does not, however, tell us whether you need to use more or less of the stuff.) What's more, upcycled flour has a distinctive flavor that Kurzrock describes as "nutty and toasted," and it imparts a brownish color and crunchy texture. You probably wouldn't want to use this grain in an angel food cake, but Kurzrock tells us "The flavor can be complemented well with sourdough yeasts, while warm spices like cinnamon and ginger work well." He also adds, "Indulgent flavors like chocolate, coffee, and caramel can also enhance the taste of sweet baked goods."

Folks who aren't sure if they want to invest in upcycled flour for their own baking projects don't have to. There are bakeries that use the stuff. One such establishment is Atoria's Family Bakery. While many of its products are distributed in grocery stores, these are also sold online. Kroger, too, will be selling its own bread made with brewer's spent yeast, providing another option that doesn't require consumers to do the baking.