The Bere-Barley from Orkney has been a bit of a discovery for me this year. It’s an ancient cereal which was spread across Europe in Neolithic times by the first farmers, and is still harvested nowadays in Orkney and stone-ground nearby at the island’s water-powered Barony Mill. Since ancient times it’s been used to make everything from nutritious biscuits and bread to the malt for beer and whiskey. It blends beautifully with the Cotswolds Eight Grain flour. This bread is different, delicious and very healthy.
It’s worth trying the new Matthews Heritage Bibury Barley Flour in its place and I’m looking forward to trying that as soon as I can get my hands on some!
Mix and knead the dough in the usual way, making sure to keep the salt away from the yeast until all is mixed. Add the water with care for a good consistency – the Bere-Barley alters the texture of the bread, and you may find you need slightly less water than you’d expect. The bere-barley also needs less salt than normal bread flour.
Use a large well-greased bread tin or baking tray. Rolling the dough to coat it in a little of the coarser bere-barley meal makes a satisfyingly crunchy crust before you set the dough in the tin or on the baking tray to rise.
Leave to prove for about an hour then knock back and leave to prove again for another 40 minutes.
Set the oven to warm to 200 degrees C (fan)
When the bread has risen to double the original size, bake for approximately 50 mins.
Thanks to Steven Battersby for sending in this delicious recipe.