Home Bread-Bakers v104.n031.3

Barley Bread

Maggie Glezer <glezer@mindspring.com>
Sat, 03 Jul 2004 13:43:34 -0400
Dear Chuck,

I created a barley bread recipe for my upcoming book on Jewish breads 
(called _A Blessing of Bread_) that sounds like what you are looking for. 
An abridged version of the recipe follows. You can only use 25% (baker¹s 
percentage) barley flour in the dough without the bread becoming really 
heavy, but I managed to cram in a little more barley by adding the barley 

Let me know how you like it.

All the best,
Maggie Glezer

Whole-Grain Barley Bread with Barley Grits

Yields: 2 24-ounce (680 g) breads
Time required: about 4 hours

For an artisan-style bread inspired by the barley bread of ancient Israel, 
I lighten whole grain barley flour with bread flour and add texture with 
barley grits for a nubby, moist, loaf with a mother load of fiber.  The 
bread is much more flavorful if the shaped dough is refrigerated overnight 
before baking. The fig variation is excellent for breakfast or with cheese. 
The unleavened barley breads the Israelites ate during the Feast of 
Unleavened Bread must have been coarse and dark, barely palatable.  Barley 
was an important cereal in ancient Israel, but it was only eaten when wheat 
was not affordable or available. Barley has an attached hull, meaning that 
the hull adheres to the bran.  To make it fully digestible, the hull needs 
to be removed, a technology that did not exist in ancient Israel. A few 
thousand years later we have not only figured out how to pearl barley, that 
is, polish off the hull, bran and germ to make the barley palatable, but 
recently have even bred hulless barley­­barley with a loose, removable 
hull­­so that we need no longer have to discard the bran with the hull. 
Eating foods high in soluble fiber is one of the best ways to lower 
cholesterol, and pearled barley, which is bran free, is a rich 
source.  With the bran included, hulless barley becomes a treasure chest of 
soluble and insoluble fiber for those interested in both lowering their 
cholesterol and preventing colon cancer.

For the Soaked Barley Grits

1 cup (180 g, 6.3 oz) whole barley grits*
     (Arrowhead Mills' Bits o' Barley whole grain hot cereal is what you want)
3/4 cup (165 g, 6 oz) boiling water

For the Dough

About 1 2/3 cups (165 g, 5.8 oz) whole-barley flour*
About 4 3/4 cups (650 g, 23 oz) bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (4 g, 0.2 oz) instant yeast
     (a.k.a. "Bread Machine", "Perfect Rise", "QuickRise", or "RapidRise" 
2 1/4 cups (510 g, 18 oz) warm water
All the soaked barley grits
2 3/4 teaspoons (17 g, 0.6 oz) table salt
2 tablespoons (40 g, 1.4 oz) mild honey
About 2 1/4 cups (400 g, 14 oz) dried, soft Calimyrna figs, or about 23 
medium figs, stems removed and cut into chunks, optional

*Note: As of this writing, Arrowhead Mills seems to be the only source for 
whole-grain hull-less barley flour and grits. You can find their products 
at health-food stores.

SOAKING THE BARLEY GRITS Combine the barley grits and water in a small bowl 
and let it soak for about 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

MIXING THE AUTOLYSE In the meantime, in a large bowl combine the barley 
flour, the bread flour and the yeast. Add the warm water and stir the 
autolyse until it is smooth.  Cover the bowl and let it autolyse for 20 

MIXING THE DOUGH Mix the salt, honey and barley grits into the autolysed 
dough, scrape it out onto your work surface, and knead it until it is soft 
and smooth, no more than 10 minutes.  You can also mix this dough in a 
mixer for about 7 minutes on medium speed. (Soak your mixing bowl in hot 
water now, to clean it and warm it if you would like to use it for 
fermenting the dough.) If you are not weighing your flour, be prepared to 
adjust the consistency of the dough, because the barley flour is very 
variable.  If the dough is too firm to easily knead, add a tablespoon or 
two of water to the dough; or, if the dough seems too wet, add a few 
tablespoons of flour. This dough should feel soft and a little tacky, but 
be easy to handle and have a smooth sheen.

If you are adding figs, knead them in by hand after the dough is finished.

FERMENTING THE DOUGH Place the dough in the clean warm bowl and cover it 
with plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment until it has doubled in bulk, 
about 2 hours, depending on the temperature in your kitchen.

SHAPING AND PROOFING THE DOUGH Cover a large baking sheet with parchment 
paper or oil it, or flour two linen-lined bannetons. Turn out the dough 
onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two loaves, shape 
them into simple rounds or long shapes, position them seam-side down on the 
prepared sheet or seam-side up in the bannetons for a floured top, and 
cover them well with plastic wrap. Let the loaves proof until tripled in 
size, about 1 hour.

OPTIONALLY REFFRIGERATING THE LOAVES The loaves will have a richer flavor 
if refrigerated for at least 12 or up to 24 hours immediately after being 
shaped and covered. Check the dough before you plan to bake.  It might be 
ready to bake immediately, or it might need more proofing at room 
temperature, up to 1 hour.

PREHEATING THE OVEN One hour before baking the bread, position an oven rack 
on the second to top shelf and remove all shelves above it. Place a baking 
stone on it and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C, gas mark 7).

BAKING THE LOAVES When the loaves have tripled, do not push back when 
gently pressed with your finger but remain indented, they are ready to 
bake. If you have proofed them in bannetons, flip each one seam-side down 
onto the prepared baking pans or onto a sheet of parchment paper.  Score 
them with a single-sided razor blade in a decorative pattern, spray or 
paint them with water if they have not been floured, then peel them on the 
hot stone. Bake them for 45-50 minutes. After 30 minutes of baking, switch 
the loaves from side to side so that the breads brown evenly and bake from 
15 to 20 minutes more. When the loaves are very well browned, remove them 
from the oven and let them cool on a rack.