The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Wheat Barley Bread

Mebake's picture

Whole Wheat Barley Bread

This is a Whole Wheat Barley Bread I baked yesterday. The recipe was made to include my barley flour.


Day 1:

Mix the Soaker contents in a Bowl until you form a ball. Put the dough in a an oiled container and leave at room temp. for 24 hours.

Mix the Biga contents in a Bowl until you form a ball. Put the dough in a a large oiled container and into a fridge for 24 hours.

Day 2:

Take the BIGA out to warm 2 hours prior to final mixing. Chop the Biga and Soaker into pieces and combine them. Distribute salt and yeast on top, and start mixing, resting 5 minutes after every knead. The Dough is wet, so you'll have to knead with wet hands. Form a Tight ball, and put the dough in a large bowl for 45 minutes fermentation.

Scrape the dough out, and divide it into two, three or four pieces. Preshape, rest for 5 minutes and then shape. Lay loaves in a floured basket for 45 minutes. Preheat Oven with two racks, and a steaming device to 470 F.

Cover the Oven glass, Load the doughs into the oven, and pour a cup of boiling water into a steaming device. seal the vent. 15 minutes later, remove the steaming devise and unseal the vent, and bake for 20 more minutes at 390F.

Cool on Rack for 2 hours befor slicing.

The flavor of this Bread is Nutty Wholesome, with a hint of barly sweetness in it. I think some honey would have enhanced the flavor more. i'll tweak this recipe in the future, God willing.



hansjoakim's picture

That's a great crumb for a formula so high in whole-grain and barley flour, Mebake! Well done - and a lovely crust too!

Barley is a widely grown grain here in the cold and rainy north, but very little is grown for human consumption, despite its many health benefits. What do you think of the barley flavour?

Mebake's picture

Thank you, Hans! Its such an honor to recieve compliments from you!

Barley Flour is subtle sweet , and does not contribute much flavor when used with other flours. However, it does lend a subtle grassy sweetness, that can be enhanced by Malt Sweetners. I believe, that Wholewheat flavor overpowers the sweetness of Barley. I intend to decrease wholewheat to 30% and increase bread flour.



MadAboutB8's picture

I have never come across barley flour before. Is it the same as pearl barley but ground?

Great looking loaves and crumbs.


Syd's picture

Lovely bake! As Hans said, a great crumb for a loaf that has 50 percent whole wheat.  Perfect thickness of crust, too. 



wassisname's picture

Beautiful bread inside and out!  Sounds like a wonderful flavor combination as well.   This is one of those breads I won't be able to get out of my head.  After seeing this I can't even remember what I was thinking about baking next.

pmccool's picture

and, I'm sure, to the tongue as well.  You have baked an excellent bread, Khalid.


wally's picture

That's a most interesting recipe: all preferment and soaker and no final dough except to incorporate the two.  As Hans notes, it's a beautiful open crumb for a bread that's 50% whole wheat flour.

I'm curious as to the short fermentation period of 45 minutes.  That would make sense if this were a high rye content bread, since there's little gluten development to be had.  Help me understand your thinking here.

In all events, the end result speaks for itself!

Nice bake,


Mebake's picture

Thanks, sue! Barley or naked barley are the same. I milled whole barley, and sifted some bran out.

Thank you, Syd! True, the crust was soft and chewy.

Thank you, marcus! I had to improvise in order to accomodate My barley flour. This recipe needs some fine tuning, such as honey/ malt sweetner. Toasted i found that Barley flavor shines through.

Thank you, Paul! The flavor is very good, enough to cause my wife to pair a slice with Neutela Spread and banana slices! Seems that barley breads pair well with sweet preserves.

Thank you larry! the recipe was adapted from Reinhart's wg breads book, mostly calling for 50% preferment that sits for 24 hours in a fridge. The short final fermetation is a natural choice when you deal with a high ratio of prefermented whole grain flour.

breadsong's picture

Hello Khalid,
You have such a talent using whole grains in your bread baking.
And I love the lighting in your photograph of your stunning loaves.
Photography is clearly another talent of yours!
Thanks for this formula and for sharing the results of this beautiful bake.
from breadsong



Franko's picture

Marvelous loaves Khalid!

I'm late to get here and comment, so I'll have to echo what everyone else has already said about the crust and crumb. What struck me when I first saw the photo though was the lovely, almost reddish tinge to the baked loaf. Your an artist, so I'm sure you could describe the colour much better than I can, but that's what I'm seeing from the photo.

I've never tried barley flour before, but from your description of the flavour of this loaf I think I'd better track some down. Excellent baking as always!


hanseata's picture

Great breads, Khalid! I was looking for a barley bread recipe - now I found one!



Mebake's picture

Thank you, breadsong! I have no talent in photography, i happen to love decorative setups. I love Wholesome foods, and bread is no exception.

Thanks, Franko! My profession isn't an artist, but i love art! As to the crust color, i have reduced temperature to 380F after steam removal. This lower temp. for 20 minutes with convection setting (Not Fan heat) brought about this color. I tried home made 100% Barley Flat bread and i loved the sweet grassiness flavor.

Thank You Karin! Do try it, with Honey.

teketeke's picture

Nice looking loaves, Khalid!  I like the crumb that looks moist and soft using such a low percentage of white flour. That is great.  It is also easy to understand your formula!! It is very neat and nice photos!! 

Best wishes,



Mebake's picture

Thank you Akiko! Soft it was, but Moist, No. The Crumb was drier than your typical Wholegrain loaf. This also Stales quickly, and should be refrigerated fresh.

Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

Beautiful loaves!

100% barley flatbread sounds interesting.  Do you have a recipe for that?

Mary Clare in MO

Mebake's picture

Thank You Mary! I don't have a recipe, but managed to mix in a dough/paste of whole barley flour, flattened it, and then cook it on a tortilla pan for 3-4 minutes on each side. I loved it!

Barley, though, has too little gluten to stretch, and you'll have to accept the crumbly consistency of it's bread. Experiment with Bread flour mixes, and show us the results.


Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

Just had to tell you that I made one-third of the recipe for your barley bread, adding a couple of teaspoonfuls of honey when the final dough was put together.  DELISH!  It made one nice-sized loaf that I baked in the combo cooker.  It does have a reddish crust that is so attractive.  I couldn't wait for it to cool completely before having a taste.  The dough was so quick and easy to put together, too.

I mill wheat and barley, and I had never used barley flour in yeast bread before, only in pancakes.  It has a lovely flavor.  

(I did cover the soaker and biga with plastic wrap, but the wrap was not in direct contact with the dough.  Where the dough met the air, the dough turned a grayish color.  I mixed it in and continued with the final dough, and the final color seems fine. I have seen this gray effect before... does anyone know why this happens?  It also happens sometimes when I make dumplings with whole wheat, etc.  I may post this on the whole grain forum.)

THANKS Mebake, for posting this recipe!

Mary Clare in MO

Mebake's picture

Iam glad you liked it, Mary Clare! as to the Grey-nesh of the dough, i think that wholegrain flours have active enzymes that when left at room temperature ffor extended periods of time, start breaking down the dough into sugars and other compunds that oxidize in the presence of Air.