Pears and Barley
I guess I should begin with a disclaimer: I’m not usually one to put chunks of fresh fruit in my breads. Nuts, seeds, grains, even a bit of dried fruit, sure. But something about having all those mushy bits in the bread has made me wary of the whole concept. Plus, the sandwich possibilities can be limited.
Of course, where there is a rule there is an exception, and this is it. The credit goes to Hanne Risgaard’s Home Baked, which includes a very tempting pear sourdough bread. That by itself would be little temptation if not for the pear tree in my yard. Even with the birds claiming their share I still come away with more than enough to do some experimenting.
And so an annual bake has been born. Last year I stuck pretty close to the recipe in the book and baked some very tasty loaves. This year I changed almost everything and got some more very tasty loaves! Maybe there is something to this bread-with-fruit-in-it after all…
And so an annual bake has been born. Last year I stuck pretty close to the recipe and baked some very tasty loaves. This year I changed almost everything and got some more very tasty loaves! Maybe there is something to this bread-with-fruit-in-it after all…
The original recipe features spelt, toasted semolina, and yogurt. I kept the semolina, ditched the yogurt and spelt, and added whole barley flour and type 85 flour. The barley flour was a craving borne of some barley flour cookies I’d had recently, and the type 85 is just what I had on hand. Whole wheat flour would work in place of the type 85, though I might reduce the percentage to avoid adding too much of a bitter note.
For more on baking with barley check out blog posts by mebake, hanseata and sam. Barley has its limits in bread baking and without some background info from fellow TFLers I could have found myself in trouble! (I’m sure there are other posts but these were the first few that popped up.)
As for the result, no complaints! The crumb is close but very soft. The mild, slightly sweet flavor of the barley comes through and compliments the pears very nicely. I added to the toasted semolina flavor by using it on the bottom of the loaf when loading into the oven (otherwise, I just use regular flour) and that comes through as well. This bread doesn’t keep particularly well – moisture from the pears is my guess – so it is best enjoyed fresh. I’m sure there a more, and probably better, ways to put this loaf together, so any suggestions are welcome!
Meanwhile, up at the office we were enjoying the first day of... fall?
I always love it when Old Man Winter throws out a quick teaser of snow in September!