barley sourdough bread

Healthy High Fibre Barley Sourdough Loaves

Today I discovered a packet of hulled barley grains in the cupboard. Part of the lockdown shopping madness! While I could have made a nice tuscan Barley Salad, the kids here aren’t that crazy about that, so I decided to prepare some Barley Sourdough Bread.

I have been making sourdough bread rolls and traditional Rounded loaves during lockdown but I wanted to make a nice, easy to slice, Rectangular loaf. Great for the kids, for Sandwiches and toast.

Hulled Barley is considered a wholegrain, it only has the outer inedible shell removed. It is High in Fibre, and low in gluten. It does contain . Note that the more commonly available pearled barley is not a true whole grain because the fibre containing bran has been removed. However, pearled barley is still a good source of some nutrients, and will still work in this recipe and add that wonderful distinctive Nutty Barley flavour to the final bread. So just work with whatever you have to hand.

Making Barley Sourdough Bread

There are a few options for using these grains in our bread, one option is to use a flour mill or high powered blender such as the Thermomix, to grind the grains into Barley Flour, and then use you would in a normal flour based sourdough recipe. However I often find that there are still hard pieces left even when you have a high powered blender, so for today’s bread I wanted to use another method. First we cook the barley grains in hot boiling water. I had parboiled grains so this only took 10 mins. Then you drain the grains in a sieve, and run cold water through them until the cool completely.

Once cooled, we then blend the soft cooked grains in the blender into a creamy porridge like mix. and that become the base of our bread dough. To which will add our Sourdough Starter, Wheat Bread Flour, Salt, Olive Oil and water.

Although barley flour does contain some gluten (a protein that assists in making dough rise), it does not contain enough gluten for the dough to effectively rise, so gluten-rich flour, such as a white wheat flour or Farina tips “0”, is often added to the barley for bread making.


Barley Sourdough Loaf

Katie Cardile
Crusty, nutty, Barley Sourdough Loaf. A nice change from everyday Wheat loaves.
We start with cooking the barley in hot water, then drain and rinse in cold water until cool.
Then the dough making begins, first 3 hour rise and shape, final 3 hour rest and bake.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Proofing Time 6 hrs
Course Bread
Cuisine Italian


  • 250 g Barley Grains
  • 400 g Strong White Bread Flour or Tipo "1" Farina
  • 200 g Sourdough Starter 100% Hydrated (100g water 100g flour)
  • 300 ml water
  • 30 g Olive Oil
  • 15 g Salt


  • Cook the Barley Grains in Boiling water according to the instructions on the packet. Parboiled grains are ready in 10mins while traditional grains usually take around 45 mins.
  • Once cooked, Drain and Rinse the Barley in Cold water, until cool.
  • In your Blender add the Cooked and drained Barley grains and blend for one minute or until it forms a smooth porridge like consistency.
  • Add 400g of flour, 200g Starter, 300ml of water and the olive oil.
  • Mix in the blender for approximantly 2 mins until well combined.
  • Add the salt and Blend again on the dough setting or using dough hooks for another 2-4 minutes.
  • Remove the dough from the mixer and place in a large bowl, cover and let rest for 3 hours.
  • Prepare two loave tins, oil them and line the with grease proof paper.
    barley sourdough
  • Flour the top of the dough, flour your work surface a little, and then turn our the dough from the bowl, floured side down, onto your work surface.
  • Cut the dough into two even portions, and begin to shape the loaves.
  • Shape the Dough:
    Stretch the dough out into a large rectangle, gently, using wet hands to avoid stickying too much and use also the dough scraper to ease from the work surface. Now fold one corner into the very centre of the dough. Repeat with the other three corners, until you have a roughly rounded rectangle.
    Fold now the dough from the long edge into the centre and repeat on the opposite side until you have a nice long roll.
  • Turn the dough upside down with the seems underneath the loaf, and flour lightly on all sides. Lift with your dough scraper and place inside the loaf tin. Repeat for the second dough portion.
  • Cover and let rest for 3 hours or over night in the fridge for up to 18 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Add a baking tray just below the middle rack and add 500ml of hot boiling water. Leave for 5 mins to heat.
  • Now add the two tins to the oven and bake for 35 mins or until fully cooked. When fully cooked if you tap the underside of the tin they should make a hollow sound.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for at leave 20 mins before cutting.
  • Enjoy for breakfast with butter and jam, or drizzled with Olive oil and salt for a midnight snack!
Keyword Barley, bread, Orzo, sourdough

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