The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Barley Buttermilk Biscuits

chris319's picture

Barley Buttermilk Biscuits

Over the past two days I've been trying out a recipe for buttermilk biscuits made with barley flour. I chose barley because it has (barley) gluten and a lower glycemic index than wheat flour. I started by making a Bisquick substitute, for which there are many recipes on the web. In my Bisquick substitute I substituted barley flour for wheat flour, used olive oil instead of shortening made with partially hydrogenated oil and those evil trans fats. Instead of sugar (Bisquick contains dextrose) I used Splenda.

On day 1 the biscuits turned out OK. Barley has a different texture, keeping in mind that it is whole barley, not like white or cake flour, so it contains the bran and germ of the grain, like whole-wheat flour. It also has a sweeter flavor; I wonder if this is due to the malting of the barley when it is baked. But something was definitely, definitely missing. It lacked the tanginess of the Bisquick biscuits I used to make a long time ago and really liked. What could account for this lack of tanginess? I went on an Internet quest to find the missing link, and it was so simple! The missing ingredient was buttermilk powder. On the second day I added some buttermilk powder and there was the tanginess I so fondly remembered! Most on-line recipes for Bisquick substitute follow the current formulation and omit the buttermilk solids. I'm happy so far, but further study is warranted, maybe eliminating the Splenda and using a tiny bit more buttermilk solids; to a small extent they fight each other. I also used cultured buttermilk but I don't think it added that much compared to regular milk.

Here is the full recipe:


1 C barley flour

½ tsp baking soda; 1 tsp cream of tartar

½ tsp salt

1 TB light olive oil

¼ C buttermilk powder

1 packet Splenda


2 ¼ C faux Bisquick

 2/3 C cultured buttermilk

 Drop biscuits onto sheet, bake at 450 degrees