Last October I came across a recipe for Greek barley bread posted by Magda on her blog, My Little Expat Kitchen. Her gorgeous barley bread had me drooling and I had been wanting to make some version of her loaf ever since then.
I was really happy with the way this turned out. I had a nice dense, chewy, moist loaf of bread!
inspired by Magda's Greek Barley Bread
1 1/4 cups barley flour
1 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour
3 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 tbsp flax seeds
1 1/4 tsp dried yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water, lukewarm
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
additional unbleached flour, if needed
In a large bowl combine the flours, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, yeast and salt. Make a well in the center.
Add the water to a large measuring cup and stir in the olive oil and honey. Pour this into the flour mixture and stir until you have a heavy dough. You might have to flour your hands and knead the dough a few times in the bowl. It will be soft and quite sticky. At this stage don't too much additional flour, if you can help it. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a draft free place for about 6 hours.
Punch down the dough and leave for another 6-8 hours. Keep repeating this for a day or so. Initially the risen dough will have a lot of small holes in it. Eventually with repeated risings the dough will become quite smooth indicating the gluten has had a chance to develop. In my case this took about one and a half days in a room that was about 65°F.
Punch down the dough and shape it into a ball. The dough should be smooth and slightly sticky. Lightly dust it with flour, if needed. Make a few cuts on the surface using a sharp knife. Let it sit for about 20-40 minutes; enough to for it to begin to rise again, but not until it has doubled.
Preheat oven to 450°F.
I followed Magda's suggestion and crumpled up a piece of parchment paper that I placed inside the Dutch oven. I then covered the pot with its lid and placed that into my preheated oven for about 10 minutes.
When the Dutch oven is good and hot, carefully pull it out and place the the dough into pot (over the crumpled parchment paper) and cover with the hot lid taking care not to burn yourself. Reduce the temperature to 375°F and bake for about 25-30 minutes.
Remove the lid and bake an additional *15-20 minutes or until the crust has nicely browned and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it. *At the end of 20 minutes my loaf wasn't quite brown enough. I was reluctant to leave it in longer because I was afraid it might dry out, so I turned on the broiler for a couple of minutes just to brown the top slightly. The loaf was perfect!
Allow the bread to cool completely before cutting into it.