Slices of Ancient Grains : Barleymeal Soda Bread

Ancient Grains Bread : Barleymeal Soda Bread

This week I have been making soda bread using barley flour. Bread made entirely from barley quickly goes dry but has an excellent flavour. It is generally mixed with other grains (usually wheat) to make a loaf with more volume and better keeping quality.

Barley has a low gluten content so recipes using yeast tend to have a high proportion of wheat. Soda breads however can be made using a much higher proportion of barley as gluten content is not important for breads using bicarbonate of soda as a raising agent.

Ingredients needed to make Ancient Grains Bread : Barleymeal Soda Bread

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  • 12 ounces / 340 grams barleymeal flour
  • 4 ounces / 110 grams white spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 ounces / 55 grams butter
  • ½ – ¾ pint / 300 – 400 mls buttermilk

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C / 180°C Fan / 390°F / Gas Mark 6.
  2. Mix together the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour mixture.
  4. Mix to a soft dough with the buttermilk.
  5. Turn out onto a floured working surface and shape into a round.
  6. Place the dough into a greased and base lined cast iron casserole dish.
  7. Cut a cross in the round of dough and cover the dish with a lid.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 55 minutes until well risen and golden brown.
  9. Tip out of the casserole dish and wrap in a tea towel and cool on a wire rack.

Bread recipes that use barley flour

When looking for recipes for breads using barley I found quite a few for flat breads from Scandinavian countries. Similar breads, often called bannocks, were made in the past in Wales, Scotland and northern parts of England, cooked on a griddle or baking stove over an open fire like oatcakes. In Orkney traditional bannocks are still made using bere meal. Bere is an ancient form of barley still grown in Orkney and mulled at Barony Mill.

My recipe is based on a traditional recipe from the Isle Of Man for a barley meal bonnag. It is an oven baked soda bread where the barley flour is combined with a proportion of wheat. As I am trying to use ancient grains I substituted a white spelt flour for the wheat.

Equipment you will need to make Ancient Grains : Barleymeal Soda Bread

Apart from the usual kitchen items and tools you will need a cast iron casserole pan – the one I used for this recipe was approximately 20cm in diameter / 2 litre / 2 kilograms. I do also sometimes use a larger 2.7 litre casserole pan for my soda bread as well. If you only have a larger 2.7 litre pan then you can still use this to make this soda bread recipe, it will just fill up less of the pan.

Ancient Grains Bread : Barleymeal Soda Bread

Recipe by Scones Plus More Cuisine: BritishDifficulty: Easy
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

55

minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces / 340 grams barleymeal flour

  • 4 ounces / 110 grams white spelt flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

  • 2 ounces / 55 grams butter

  • ½ – ¾ pint / 300 – 400 mls buttermilk

Directions

  • Pre-heat your oven to 200°C / 180°C Fan / 390°F / Gas Mark 6.
  • Mix together the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Rub the butter into the flour mixture.
  • Mix to a soft dough with the buttermilk.
  • Turn out onto a floured working surface and shape into a round.
  • Place the dough into a greased and base lined cast iron casserole dish.
  • Cut a cross in the round of dough and cover the dish with a lid.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 55 minutes until well risen and golden brown.
  • Tip out of the casserole dish and wrap in a tea towel and cool on a wire rack.

Serving Suggestions for Barleymeal Soda Bread

Barleymeal soda bread is excellent buttered and spread with jam or honey. It is also very good served with cheese, homemade chutney and smoked fish such as trout or salmon.

I am experimenting with a lot of bread recipes at the moment – see my other bread recipes –

Ancient Grains Bread : Rye Soda Bread – The first time I have not used wheat when making a rye bread. I used half light rye flour and half dark wholemeal rye flour and I think it was very successful.

Wheaten Soda Bread – Also known as Brown Soda Bread or Wholemeal Soda Bread.

White Soda Bread – A great place to start if you are baking your own bread for the first time.

Rye and Oatmeal Soda Bread – The idea for this version came after someone posted a question in my Irish Soda Bread With Ancient Grains (Rye, Barley, Oats, Spelt) recipe collection asking if I had tried the rye bread with oats – so thanks to Frankie.

Irish Soda Bread with Ancient Grains (Rye, Barley, Oats, Spelt) – my collection of ancient grains bread recipes.

Next week I will be making a sweet soda bread using spelt flour.

Until then – Happy Baking!

Tanya

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