Mediaeval Barley Bread

A modern version of a recipe said to have been used by mediaeval monks. Came from the British Museum so it must be true – before I got my hands on it of course. I’m not sure what the purpose of the small amount of rice flour is or if it would have been available to said monks.

The flavours of toasted barley, beer and honey.

Well in advance, toast the barley flour in the oven. Bake more than the 137g in the formula because it will lose weight through water loss unlike your barley grain which will put on weight as you boil it. Cool both well.

Mix all the ingredients and knead using your normal method. If you’re new to baking check out the Sourdough pdf under the Library Menu.

Form into a rough ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover. Allow to ferment for about four hours stretching each hour for the first three hours. This is not essential but will improve the dough structure.

Alternatively ferment overnight in the fridge.

Prepare a proving basket. Shape the dough and place it in the basket seam side up. Cover and leave for 3½-4 hours checking with the finger tip test after 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to about 210C.

Gently turn out the dough onto a baking sheet floured with wholemeal rye. Slash and bake for about 50 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack

Mind it doesn’t become a habit …