Sunday, 21 February 2016

Barley bread

I found a recipe, fiddled about with it, reduced the quantities by half with a bit of jiggling and had a go.  Dead easy and very delicious, so here it is.

First of all I ground pearl barley into flour as barley flour in bags is flippin' expensive and pearl barley is cheap.  Because it was being used for bread, I didn't sift it.
Then I used ordinary salt and ordinary sugar (the recipe said sea salt and caster sugar).
Also I used ordinary oil, not olive oil.
All in the interests of frugality. of course.

The most different thing was that the original said it was best baked in a Dutch oven.  I had to look that up and they are like those Le Creuset casserole pots.  I don't have one but I do have a hob-to-oven pot so I used that and it was fine.

It's a free form, rustic looking loaf and when my sourdough starter is ready I shall have a go with this recipe because I reckon it will taste even more wonderful.

Ingredients to make one smallish loaf
135g pearl barley, ground into flour as fine as it will go
80g strong wholemeal flour
75g strong white flour
5g instant dried yeast
just under 1 tsp sugar (about 4 mls)
15mls oil
under half tsp salt
175mls warm water

In a bowl, add the flours, the yeast and the sugar and mix well.  Make a well in the middle and add the oil, the salt and the water.  Mix into a rough dough and knead until you have a pliable dough that is not sticking to either your hands or the bowl but which is still slightly sticky to the touch.
(or do it in your mixer/processor/Thermomix as I did!)

Shape into a ball, drop into a bowl, cover with cling film and place in a warm place until doubled in size.

Just before the dough is ready, turn on the oven to 225C and place the Dutch oven in to heat up.

When the dough is ready, take it out of the bowl, knead it for literally just a few seconds, gently, on a clean, unfloured surface.  Shape it into a ball.

Take a large piece of baking parchment, scrunch it up, wet it, then open it out and shake off the droplets.

Place the loaf on the paper,  and carefully slash the top, gently place the paper and dough in the Dutch oven, put the lid on and put it in the oven.  Immediately turn the heat down to 180C.

Bake the bread, covered, for 30 mins, then remove the loaf from the pot, place it on the middle rack of the oven,  and bake for another 25 to 30 mins, until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Place on a cooling rack until cold.

You can bake it on a baking sheet but be careful the bottom doesn't burn.

I had it warm with butter, Beth had it cold with butter, I had some with my lunch soup (ham and veg) and I had some more with butter and cheese and it was, believe me, absolutely gorgeous with  a crusty outside and an open crumb.  Nothing tight about this loaf.  It has a nutty, rustic flavour that would go well with savoury toppings and accompaniments.
I don't know about sweet spreads because I didn't try, but I bet that would be nice too.

Another one to go on the list of bread to make again.


  1. My dad dint consider anything buttered unless you could see teeth marks in it!!!!!

  2. A man after my own heart, obviously! :-)
    J x

  3. I love all types of home baked breads and this recipe is merrily being copied now! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  4. A pleasure, Sarina. I hope you like it as much as I.

    J x