by Ibán Yarza (lamemoriadelpan.com, tequedasacenar.com)
A couple of years I collaborated with a researcher at the CSIC in the development of varieties of barley for baking, especially for its nutritional qualities. Barley, like oats, is rich in fibres known as beta-glucans which have remarkable properties. That’s why I’ve been baking barley bread regularly for years and have developed a special love for its strong aroma and flavour.
Barley is an almost forgotten cereal in baking (especially in our part of the world), which is a shame because it is a cereal that gives the bread unforgettable organoleptic qualities. As for the taste, you can think of barley as a cousin of rye; it gives the bread a more intense aroma than wheat, a rustic colour typical of the best country-style bread, and humidity. Once cooked, when you have a cut loaf of barley bread in the kitchen, a deep and intense aroma of cereals will pervade the room. Barley also gives a colour to the crust that would make any baker think that you have used malt in the dough, reminding us that one of the main destinations of the barley we grow is precisely the malting plant, in addition to its use in fodder and the manufacture of feed.
Furthermore, this recipe uses poolish, which is a simple way to bring flavour and aroma to the bread and improve conservation. If we join the two pieces of the puzzle, barley and poolish, the result is a rustic bread, cousin of pain de campagne, that conveys all the “cereally” (so to speak) aroma of when you drive with the window down next to a field of wheat just before the harvest. It is precisely this sweet aroma of porridge that we are looking for, the idyllic nuances of cereal, and barley will be our ally.
- Bread making flour (180 - 200 W) 200 g
- Water 200 g
- Yeast 0,3 g (a very small pea).
- Poolish 400 g
- Bread making flour (180 - 200 W) 1600 g
- White barley flour 400 g
- Water 1320 g (the water temperature will depend on the flour; starting at around 14º, less in summer).
- Salt 40 g
- Yeast 4 g
For the poolish, dissolve the yeast in water, mixing the flour and fermenting at room temperature (20 - 24°) for 10 - 12 hours (ideally during the night).
The following day, add all the ingredients in the bowl of the planetary mixer BE-10 and knead for 3 minutes at speed 1 and then for 4 minutes at speed 2. We do not want a total development, but rather a rounding of the dough with a fold during fermentation en bloc. In this way we retain the greatest quantity of carotenoid pigments, with yellow and creamy tones, as well as the aroma and flavour of the cereal.
We ferment for two and a half hours at 24° C, with a fold after one hour. We divide into pieces of 800 - 1000 g and round slightly. We leave to stand for 15 to 20 minutes and we shape (baguette or round loaf) and put into a fermentation basket. We ferment for another half an hour and place in the refrigerator, covered with film (or placed inside a plastic bag). The following day (between 12 and 24 hours), we remove from the refrigerator and put directly in the oven (ideally a hearth oven) heated to 250°. On placing the bread in the oven we generate an intense vaporization and cook with the vent closed for 30 minutes. When this time has passed, we open the vent (and the door, to let the steam out properly) and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes, depending on size and type of oven. We then leave to cool on a rack.