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Thursday, July 17, 2014


Here is a recipe found in the newspaper archives from 1918. Think WW1. It seems there was an acute white flour shortage at the time, so these recipes were suggested.  Barley flour is not gluten free so be aware of that.  These recipes do sound good and I will have to give them a try. How about you?

I wasn't even sure barley flour would be easy to find these days so I googled it, and there are suppliers, so you might be able to find it in your stores, or at least online if you are interested in trying it. I also found the following information about barley flour at this link:  http://bakingbites.com/2008/01/what-is-barley-flour/
Barley flour is just what it sounds like: a non-wheat flour made from grinding whole barley. It’s a popular alternative to wheat flour because, unlike many non-wheat flours, it contains some gluten. This obviously doesn’t make it a good choice for those with celiac’s, who cannot tolerate gluten, but it does mean that it is an excellent option for more conventional bakers looking to expand their skills by working with alternative flours.
Barley flour has a mild, but very slightly nutty, flavor the complements both regular and whole grain flours. You can substitute it into a regular recipe for up to 1/2 of the ordinary flour without compromising the texture of the baked good (with the exception of very delicate/sensitive baked goods, like angel food cake, that rely on the presence of a precise amount of flour to work well). In fact, because it has a low gluten content, it can actually help to tenderize baked goods while still lending enough gluten to the recipe to allow it to rise properly. When compared to regular all-purpose flour, there are some nutritional benefits to barley. It has slightly fewer calories and more than 4 times the fiber of all-purpose. It also has slightly more fiber than whole wheat flour.
It is a good flour to substitute into quick breads, muffins and cookies for a little whole grain twist and is an easy ingredient to play around with in the kitchen in general. You can find it at just about any natural foods store (Whole Foods, etc.) in the baking or cereal aisle.


  1. know most of the hints, The hint about the fire shovel is neat, it would work for outdoor fire cooking too.

  2. I have baked with barley flour before and really enjoyed its subtle, nutty flavor. The texture is interesting, too--one would think it would be rather coarse, but it is so silky soft! Bob's Red Mill barley flour is what I use.

    Recipes 1 and 2 sound really good to me! I am not an expert bread baker, but I love to fiddle with recipes and think I would add a tsp. or so of instant yeast to see if I couldn't improve the rise. And reduce some of that baking powder; 4 and 6 teaspoons of baking powder just sound excessive and I would think the taste (bitterness) would come through. And recipe 2 seems to want cinnamon, given the nuts and raisins...

    Thank you for sharing--I will have a good time trying them out!

  3. The addition of cinnamon does sound good. I wonder if it may not have been as available then as it is today. I admit I have not tried the recipes yet. Let us know what you think after making them.

  4. So! I tried Recipe #1. The small changes I made were all in the interest of getting a higher loaf. The sugar and honey were just for my own tastes. ;^)

    I added a teaspoon of instant yeast, only 1 teaspoon of the baking powder, added 1 tbs of honey and 1 tbs of sugar, and used sour milk instead of water. I read some other barley bread recipes that said the dough is like wet clay, and that is true. However, I think this recipe is short on liquids--it's a little dry. I would add AT LEAST another 1/4 cup of milk/water.

    I baked it in a small (7-7/8 x 3-7/8 x 2-7/8) loaf pan greased with Crisco. I heated the oven to 425 degrees, put the bread in, and then immediately dialed the temp down to 350. I baked it for 25 min to an internal temp of 190 degrees F. The bread popped out of the pan no issues. It never rose above the top of the pan--so much for all my careful adjustments!

    I tasted it right away, of course. It has a nice crispy crust and a very firm interior with a dense crumb. It held together nicely when slicing. The taste is rather like weak cornbread; pleasant, but I keep wondering where the rest of the flavor is. Hopefully the flavor will improve when it is fully cooled. Of course butter cloaks a multitude of sins. ;^)
    I think this would be a good bread to serve with a soup or stew. It's probably great toasted with jam/jelly and a cup of coffee. But I would not try to make sandwiches out of it--it's not going to hold up.

    Will I make it again? No. For me the barley/corn combo doesn't do each flour justice. But I'm glad I baked it, because I learned so much! It turns out that using aluminum-free baking powder eliminates that bitter/chemical flavor that I associate with "too much" baking powder, so I'm going to make that switch. And I really enjoyed researching to find out what temp it should bake at, and for how long.

    There was absolutely nothing wrong with the way the bread turned out. Turns out I'm just not a fan of that particular flour combo. There's a barley/garbanzo bean flour bread recipe I found that might just be up my alley, though, and I just happen to have garbanzo bean flour on hand! I will always love experimenting with new recipes!


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