April 14, 2009

Barley Bread

Continuing with my experimentation with no-knead, quick rising breads (as introduced here), I have another success story. This time it is a barley Bread.

Bread in North Africa is sacred. Strong ties and friendships are cemented with the"breaking of bread" ceremony. When the Tuaregs of the Sahara share Bread with a stranger, they mark the occasion by saying "By bread and salt we are united."

The Bread commonly found in Morocco is usually dense and hearty, made with coarse grains such as whole wheat and barley. Barley is yet another mostly unknown and underused grain in the States. Most people see it only in beef barley soup, but the grain is actually quite versatile. When ground into a flour, it can make very sumptuous breads. Please note that barley does contain gluten, so this is not a grain or flour to be eaten by those who are gluten intolerant.

In this recipe, I blended half barley and half all-purpose wheat flour. I also threw in a dash of nigella seeds to add a little exotic touch to it. Nigella are black, triangular seeds that are similar to onion seeds, and in fact their taste has a hint of onion. They are used in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. This bread has a very delicate crumb. I would like to try to "toughen" it up a little, so more experimentation is in order.

Barley Bread


2 c barley flour
2 c all-purpose flour
1 t nigella seeds
1 t salt

1¾ c warm water (100° F)
2 T canonla oil
2 T honey
2½ t yeast


1. Prepare a bread pan by spraying with oil, then dusting with flour (I use semolina).

2. Mix all the wet ingredients in the bowl of your mixer.

3. With the mixer running on low speed, add the barley flour, salt, and wheat four. When all is moistened, turn the mixer on high and mix for 3-5 minutes.

4. With wet hands, press the dough into the prepared pan. Place a wet cloth over the pan and set it in a warm oven to rise. Let rise 20-30 minutes.

5. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.

6. Turn out on a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.

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