Saving Grains – A Bangalore-based Initiative that Upcycles Spent Grain
Elizabeth Yorke, Founder-Chef, of Saving Grains works on a unique initiative that focuses on food sustainability. She tells StayEatSee about her journey and what we as consumers can expect.
Inspiration can spark from anywhere. For me, it was an internship in the Bay Area USA, with bread historian William Rubel. I came across an interesting piece of history. Bakers and brewers, historically, worked closely and shared common ingredients - grain, yeast, and water. The baker would share the stale/leftover bread with the brewer to be used to brew beer and the brewer would share the leftover spent grains and spent yeast to be used in breads. Today we could call this a closed-loop circular system.
Back in Bangalore as microbreweries began blossoming and sourdough baking was on the rise, I started experimenting with spent grain, while working with a small restaurant that prided itself on innovation. The flavour was what first attracted me to spent grain, it was malty and had earthy flavour tones that other flours didn’t.
My curiosity about building better food systems took me to the Future Food Institute in Italy. Here my focus was on circularity and sustainability in the food system. This research gave me a great foundation to prototype the Saving Grains model.
At Saving Grains, we work towards building products with brewer's spent grain. The base product we make is our spent grain flour which we call ‘good flour’ because of its high fibre (46%), protein (23%) and flavour! We use that flour to make other products like chapatis, biscuits, cookies, cakes, bread, crackers, laddoos and halwa etc. We also incorporate whole spent grain into granola, cookies etc.
We currently work with the brewery Geist Brewing Co. which shares our vision regarding sustainability. We also work with a community centre in Kutumba where we’ve started using this flour to make chapatis. And we work with home bakers, and professional bakers to develop recipes and make some good bread and treats.
Increasingly the words sustainable, circular economy, and responsible, are being used by small brands, individuals, and large organisations to communicate that they are invested in building better food systems. And it is fantastic that people are listening and thinking about this. So, how do we understand sustainability in the Indian food system? What good practices traditionally exist? What global principles can be adopted? What are our constraints considering our context and how can we overcome them to build more resilient food futures?
We’re asking ourselves these questions and consciously trying to build a model that can nurture and nourish the community and the environment.
To explore and to buy Saving Grains products: https://www.instagram.com/savinggrains/
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