Eating barley has been shown to have a range of health benefits, including lowering bad cholesterol, regulating blood sugar, and protecting cells in the body from oxidative stress. It has the lowest glycemic index of all grains and is better tolerated by diabetics. In this article, we will be looking at how to make barley bread (including some recipes), and how it might be beneficial to health.
What You'll Learn Today
- Can Barley be Used to Make Bread?
- Is Barley Bread Healthy?
- Does Barley Flour Rise With Yeast?
- Yeast Risen Barley Bread Recipe
- Yeast Free Barley Bread Recipe
- Barley Banana Bread Recipe
Can Barley be Used to Make Bread?
Yes, barley has been used traditionally to make all kinds of flatbread around the world for thousands of years.
It can also be used to make yeast-risen bread, and although many people use barley flour combined with wheat flour, it is possible to make this type of bread using barley flour alone, as you’ll see in our recipe below.
Is Barley Bread Healthy?
Barley is a nutritious grain containing essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is also high in fiber and beta-glucan that may help control blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.
Barley has the lowest score on the glycemic index, making it more suitable for diabetics or people on a low-carb diet. Unlike other grains, it won’t spike blood sugar levels.
Half a cup or 100 grams of raw, hulled barley has:
- 354 Calories
- 73.5 grams of Carbohydrate
- 17.3 grams of Fiber
- 12.5 grams of Protein
- 2.3 grams of Fat
Vitamins and Minerals
- Copper 25% Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)
- Folate 5% RDI
- Iron 20% RDI
- Magnesium 33% RDI
- Manganese 97% RDI
- Niacin 23% RDI
- Phosphorus 26% RDI
- Potassium 13% RDI
- Riboflavin 17% RDI
- Selenium 54% RDI
- Thiamine 43% RDI
- Vitamin B6 16% RDI
- Zinc 18% RDI
Barley also contains antioxidants in the form of beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin B12. These protect cells from oxidative stress and can help in their repair.
Does Barley Flour Rise With Yeast?
The reason wheat flour rises so well is due to the presence of gluten. There is some gluten in barley flour, but it isn’t sufficient to make it rise efficiently. For this reason, if you want to make bread using barley flour, you will either have to mix it at a ratio of 20:80 with wheat flour or add additional gluten to the barley flour.
Flatbreads that have a denser consistency to yeast-risen ones have been traditionally made with barley flour for 1000’s of years. Baked goods can also be made using barley flour when mixed 50:50 with wheat flour.
Yeast Risen Barley Bread Recipe
Although you can substitute barley flour for 20% of the wheat flour in traditional bread recipes, you can also make bread using yeast with 100% barley flour if you add extra gluten to the mix, as we will show you in this yeast-risen barley bread recipe.
All barley flour bread will be denser than its wheat flour counterparts, but they are also very delicious and more suitable for people on a low-carb diet.
- Barley flour – 4 ½ cups
- Wheat gluten – 4 tablespoons
- Salt – 2 teaspoons
- Yeast – 2 tablespoons or one packet
- Honey – 1 tablespoon
- Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
- Lukewarm water – 2 cups
- Preheat the oven to the lowest setting and allow it to warm while making the bread dough.
- Line two loaf tins with parchment paper.
- Dissolve the honey in the warm water.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients flour, gluten, salt, and yeast, keeping 1 ½ cups of the flour back for later.
- Add the oil and honey water to the bowl, gently mixing them together until well blended.
- Let the mixture stand for a few minutes.
- Add the remaining flour, and, using your hands or a dough hook attachment on a mixer, mix well together. If hand mixing, turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for 10 to 20 minutes. If using an electric mixer with dough hooks, allow the machine to mix at a slow speed for about 5 minutes.
- Turn off the oven, keeping the door shut.
- Turn the dough onto a floured board and cut it in half.
- Shape each half to fit into your loaf tins.
- Place the loaf tins into the middle of your warm oven and allow the dough to rise for about an hour.
- If you want to have a browner crust, whisk an egg, remove the risen dough and brush the top of the loaf with the egg mixture.
- Turn the oven to 350°F and return the tins to the oven.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
- To test the loaves, turn them out of the pans and tap the bottoms. They should sound hollow if they are done.
- Set on a wire rack to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes before cutting.
- Keep the cold loaves in an airtight container and use them within one or two days.
- Any leftover bread can be used to make bread crumbs.
In this video, you can see another yeast-risen barley bread recipe:
Yeast Free Barley Bread Recipe
If you prefer to make a quick and straightforward barley bread recipe that doesn’t contain yeast, then this is for you!
- Barley flour – 3 cups
- Salt – 1 teaspoon
- Baking powder – 2 tablespoons
- Baking soda – ½ teaspoon
- Eggs – 2
- Buttermilk – 1 ½ cups
- Olive oil – 1/3 cup
- Honey – 3 tablespoons
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line a loaf tin with parchment.
- In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the dry ingredients together.
- In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, oil, and honey.
- Add the mixed wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ones and fold in gently with a spatula.
- Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake in the center of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
Barley Banana Bread Recipe
Time for some dessert! This banana bread recipe uses equal parts barley and wheat flour to make a delicious sweet treat everyone is bound to enjoy.
- Bananas (very ripe) – 3
- Caster sugar – ½ cup
- Canola oil – ¼ cup
- Eggs – 2 large
- Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
- All-purpose wheat flour – ¾ cup
- Barley flour – ¾ cup
- Baking soda – 1 teaspoon
- Salt – ¼ teaspoon
- Chopped walnuts – ½ cup (optional)
- Chocolate chips – ½ cup
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line a loaf tin with baking parchment.
- With a potato masher or the back of a strong fork, mash the bananas with the sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl.
- Add the flours, salt, and baking soda and stir in gently, then add the walnuts and chocolate chips and stir in evenly.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
- Bake in the center of the oven for approximately 50 minutes until the loaf is golden, springy to the touch, with a cracked on top.
Barley can be used to make wonderful tasty bread and a whole range of other dishes, including baked goods, sauces, soups, and stews.
If you want to make bread using yeast and don’t wish to include wheat flour, then you will need to increase the gluten content by adding it to the mix.
There are plenty of other yeast-free recipes to be found online that don’t need you to add any additional gluten.
Barley bread is nutritious and has a lower glycemic index than wheat flour bread.