Monday, January 12, 2009

Daily Bread

I'm beginning to think that it would be satisfying to run a bakery that mostly made bread. Think that a good name for it would be Daily Bread?

If I did, I'd be sure to make the loaf I made on Saturday a regular item. It's called Buttermilk Barley Bread. It is really, really good.

Marion Cunningham is well known in the cookbook world, having taken the old Fannie Farmer Cookbook and updated it (although this was a while ago), and, more recently, she wrote a wonderful book for bakers called The Fannie Farmer Baking Book with 800 great baking recipes and lots of tips, hints, directions on basic techniques, etc.

One of the recipes in the bread section is for a Buttermilk Barley Bread Which she describes as “a mildly sour loaf with the earthy, distinct taste of grain.”

This bread goes together easily, is moist and has an nice, tight crumb.

The flavor is outstanding and I ate my first piece without anything on the bread because it was so delicious as is.
Today I had a turkey sandwich for lunch made with this bread. It's a great sandwich bread.
I gave a loaf to a friend on Saturday. She made toast and tells me it makes great toast, too. See why it needs to be a regular bakery item?
I used Bob’s Red Mill stone ground barley flour, some barley malt syrup, and the only change to the recipe was that I substituted one cup of whole wheat flour for one of the cups of all-purpose flour called for. Well, two changes, actually; the whole wheat flour change and I used a cup of whole wheat sourdough starter instead of the yeast called for. An additional ½ cup of all-purpose flour made up for the extra liquid in the starter. I used scissors to make snips in the top, just for fun and to see what it would look like.

If you want to make it with active dry yeast, just take a package of dry yeast and stir it into 1 1/2 cups warm (but not over 110 degrees F) water, and let it sit for a few minutes to activate. Ignore the starter in the recipe and use a little less flour. Should come out just fine.

The recipe below reflects the changes I made to Marion Cunningham's recipe:

Buttermilk Barley Bread

1 cup sourdough starter at room temperature
1 ½ tablespoons barley malt syrup (you can use 1 tablespoon of sugar if you don’t have barley malt syrup but the flavor won’t be the same)
2 cups barley flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 to 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (unbleached is best)
2 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk

Put the starter in a large mixing bowl. Add the barley malt and sugar and stir to combine. Sift together the barley flour, whole wheat flour 2 cups of the all-purpose flour, the baking soda and the salt. Add the buttermilk to the mixing bowl and stir to combine. If using a dough hook attach it.
Add the flour mixture a little at a time letting the dough hook knead it as you go. Once all of the flour mixture has been incorporated, add additional flour a little at a time until dough is just a little bit sticky. (You can do it without a mixer, too. Just stir about 2 cups of flour mixture into the liquid mixture, turn out onto a floured surface and knead in the rest of the flour, using a bench scraper to keep the surface [mostly] clean.) Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.

Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until double in bulk.

Punch the dough down and divide in half. Shape into two loaves and place in greased 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch by 2 ½ inch loaf pans. Let rise to the tops of the pans.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the pans and cool on racks.


  1. Ah, do you realize you're a bread freak? My favorite people are bread freaks.
    I'm always thinking it would be so neat to have a bakery. I want a bunch of co-owners and they'd all need to to bread freaks.
    I need some barley flour now.

  2. Anonymous8:36 PM

    Your bakery idea is a great one! I think the one deterrent would be having to be up and at 'em so early... I'd come visit your bakery though just to get a bite of this! Yum!

  3. This sounds wonderful - and I like the scissor-cuts on top!

    On the plane back to Scotland we watched a BBC show called the Hairy Bakers, only they usually are the Hairy Bikers. They were baking British bread. Strange stuff, some of it, but yummy. You might see if you can find them? They're entertaining, at least. :)

  4. Anonymous2:26 PM

    I love bread, but don't make it enough. Let me know if you need help with your bakery!

  5. Can I work at your Daily Bread bakery???
    Looks great.

  6. I just made this recipe and was a little confused since my dough used less than half the required dry ingredients. I had to add an additional 1 cup of liquid in order to even use MOST of the flour (still not the whole amount).

    I haven't actually baked it yet so I won't know for a while if my additions ruined it :(. I hope not.

  7. SB, did you use 1 cup 100% hydration sourdough starter? If not, you need to use an additional 1 cup water. That wasn't clear...very sorry. Hope your bread worked out well. Also, many flours retain different amounts of moisture in storage. During the winter if the air is dry, they may have less residual moisture, so the recipe might need to be adjusted by adding additional water. Sometimes I add an extra tablespoon at a time if I've mixed in half the flour mixture and the dough is almost as stiff as I want it to be. Adding in some water at that point is pretty easy and you can always increase the flour some at the end if you add a bit too much. Bread dough is pretty forgiving, but the flour-water ratio can be slightly different each time.