10% Barley Loaf
The last time I tried a barley loaf, I went way too heavy on the barley, and ended up with a brick. During my research following that disaster, I discovered that some experts who have studied loaves and how they are perceived advise no more than 10% barley flour in a bread.
So here, I'm trying a barley loaf again, this time only using 10% barley (100g). The question for me here is: is that enough to make a noticeable difference in the taste/formation/healthiness of my bread?
My barley flour was set overnight in 100g of water, so it is basically extra leaven for the loaf (or if you like, you can consider it a pre-ferment). I did not cut back on the amount of whole wheat starter, so the total of starter for this loaf was 400g.
I did, however, cut back on the amount of hydration I used, the next morning when I was mixing my dough. Here, I used only 600g in the beginning, and an extra 50g when adding the salt. So the total hydration, including what was in the barley leaven, remains at 75% (and as usual, we aren't including the water from the whole wheat starter in that amount, as per the Tartine method).
|ready to proof|
|my loaves taking a backseat to my wife's apple crumble cake|
To be clear, here is the list of ingredients for this loaf:
• Whole wheat sourdough or wild yeast starter at 100% hydration: 200g
• Whole wheat flour: 900g
• Whole barley sourdough or wild yeast starter at 100% hydration: 200g
• Salt: 20g
• Water: 600g + 50g
• Whole barley seed, freshly ground into flour/cracked barley for sprinkling: 1/4 cup
The dough felt good when folding it in the bowl, the barley didn't seem to affect the gluten formation. It baked nicely, and had a nice spring to it in the dutch oven. The dough was not so sloppy that it did not retain its shape.
As usual, I gave away one of these breads.
The crust was not thick, but more tender than the typical 100% whole wheat sourdough I have been baking.
The taste was milder than 100% whole wheat, with less bitterness, perhaps because slightly less wheat got roasted. The cracked barley on top of the loaf mostly falls off when you slice the loaf, but it may have protected the outer crust when baking so that there are less bitter notes. Some survives during chewing, and gives the crust a nutty texture without much extra taste.
The interior crumb is slightly irregular, as many sourdough loaves can be. The taste is different enough from whole wheat to make a marked change, even at 10%. It is as if the barley has tempered the whole wheat slightly. In short, this whole-wheat barley-bread "alloy" is certainly worth making, even at such a low rate of inclusion.
Notes to Myself
- What if you pre-ferment the cracked barley and include it in the dough?
- Would you have achieved as nice a loaf if the barley flour wasn't pre-fermented?