Low glycemic index bread: barley flour bread recipe

 

Although barley is almost exclusively used in the brewing industry on account of its very low gluten content, barley flour is a really nice ingredient to introduce into bread baking. You’ll have even more reason for using barley if you are looking to keep the glycemic index (GI) of your home-baked bread as low as possible. I’ve been baking with barley flour ever since I came across the delicious barley rusks (used to prepare Dakos) hugely popular on the Greek island of Crete and after lots of research and experimentation I’d like to share my barley flour bread recipe with you.

Dakos
Dakos – If you’d like to make Greek barley rusks at home try this recipe which uses 44% barley flour… https://akispetretzikis.com/categories/snak-santoyits/kritharokoyloyres

Firstly though, I want to give you some background on barley flour and the glycemic index GI/ glycemic load GL values of different types of grains.

Barley flour bread is low GI bread

I’ve recently looked into low glycemic bread options as I’ve had to ensure my blood sugar levels were as stable as possible throughout the day for health reasons connected to my pregnancy. Out of all the grains, barley seems to come out on top. It contains a soluble fiber called beta-glucan which has been shown to slow glucose absorption and thought to help lower blood cholesterol.

The table below shows (reasonably) comprehensive information comparing the GI and GL of different grains, flours and one specific brand of bread. Data source: http://www.diogenes-eu.org/GI-Database/Default.htm

“The Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates with a low GI value are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and, therefore usually, insulin levels. Glycemic Load (or GL) combines both the quantity and quality of carbohydrates.  It is also the best way to compare blood glucose values of different types and amounts of foods. The formula for calculating the GL of a particular food or meal is: Glycemic Load = GI x Carbohydrate (g) content per portion ÷ 100.Source: https://www.gisymbol.com/

The Glycemic Index Foundation suggests that a GI of 45 or less is classified as low GI. For GL, 10 or less qualifies as low GL.

From the table below, we can see that only barley is low GI and none of the grains or flours listed qualify as low GL. Nonetheless, barley scores well.

Food name GI value GL
Pearl barley raw 25 21
Vogel’s sunflower and barley brown bread 40 16
Porridge Oats 58 20
Crispbread rye 64 45
Bran wheat 70 19
Wheatgerm 70 31
Rye bread 70 32
Wheat flour wholemeal 70 45
Wheat flour brown 70 48
Wheat flour white for breadmaking 70 53
Rye flour  whole 70 53
Wheat flour white plain 70 54

My barley bread recipe has taken inspiration from the above-mentioned Vogel’s sunflower and barley brown bread, incorporating both wheat and barley flours as well as sunflower seeds.

Barley flour bread recipe (sourdough barley bread)

Opt for barley bread if you are looking for a hearty addition to a low-GI diet. 

Barley flour bread recipe
Barley flour bread recipe

It is best to use barley flour in conjunction with high-gluten flour. My barley flour recipe uses 50% barley flour and 50% wholewheat flour to ensure the bread rises better. By adding at least 50% wheat flour benefits the crumb. In the interest of flavour and extensibility, I wouldn’t recommend to increase the % of barley flour. The higher the percentage of barley in relation to wheat, the less extensible the dough. I increased the dough hydration as well in order to account for the higher water absorption of the flours.

Barley flour bread low glycemic
Barley flour bread – low glycemic index bread
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Barley flour bread recipe

Barley flour adds a pronounced sweetness and a suggestion of maltiness to this loaf. This is even more pronounced due to the added barley flake soaker. Add in some pre-boiled barley kernels to make a coarser type of barley bread if you wish.
Servings 8

Ingredients

Ingredients

    Sourdough Ingredients

    • 100 g wheat sourdough starter 100% hydration
    • 50 g wholewheat flour
    • 50 g water lukewarm

    Barley Flake & Sunflower Seed Soaker Ingredients

    • 50 g barley flakes
    • 50 g sunflower seeds
    • 100 g hot water

    Main Dough Ingredients

    • 250 g wholewheat flour
    • 250 g barley flour
    • 10 g salt
    • 320 g water lukewarm
    • 100 g natural yoghurt

    Toppings

    • 1 handful of sunflower seeds
    • 1 handful of barley flakes

    Instructions

    How to make barley flour sourdough bread

      Day 1  - Refresh your sourdough starter & prepare the soaker

      • For the sourdough - 
        In a medium bowl, combine all the sourdough ingredients, cover with a lid and keep at room temperature until the next day.
      • For the soaker - 
        Toast the barley flakes and sunflower seeds in a frying pan (no oil) to release the nutty flavours, then take off the heat, add the boiling water and cover immediately. Set aside at room temperature.

      Day 2 (about 24 hours later) - Prepare the main dough, proof & bake

      • Combine 100g of the refreshed sourdough (the rest goes back into the fridge for future bakes) with all the remaining ingredients (the soaker you prepared the day before and all of the main dough ingredients) and knead for about 10 mins. The dough will be sticky yet pliable.
      • Leave the dough to rest for about an hour.
      • Oil a bread baking tin and distribute a handful of sunflower seeds across the bottom of the tin, covering the surface evenly.
      • Transfer the dough into the oiled and seeded bread baking tin, evenly distribute the barley flakes across the top of the dough and cover with a lid or a polythene bag to keep the moisture in.
      • Rest until fully proofed (this takes a good 4 hours in my cool kitchen) and preheat the oven to 220°C in time.
      • Bake at 220°C for 10 mins, and at 200°C for a further 40 mins.
      • Leave to cool on a wire rack.

      Grape seed flour bread recipe

       

      I stumbled upon grape seed flour in a small farm shop in Austria and was intrigued by this little known ingredient. Of course, I had to have it to use it in bread baking 🙂 Here are my notes on baking bread with grape seed flour.
      Grape seed flour can be made from any variety of grape, each with its own characteristic taste. When added to bread dough, the resulting loaf benefits from the grape flour’s richness of colour and flavour. I’ve noted down my grape seed flour bread recipe for those of you interested in giving this a go!

      Grape seed bread
      Grape seed bread

      Grape seed flour (which is actually more like a fine powder) is produced from pomace i.e. the skins, seeds and pulp generated during wine-making. Typically, only 80% of the total harvested grape crop is used to make wine, so it’s a nice way of using the ‘waste’ of the wine-making process. The seeds are pressed to extract the oils, and then, along with the grape skins, dried and milled into flour. Grape seeds have long been used to produce grape seed oil, and grape seed flour is just another alternative.

      Grape seed flour bread
      Grape seed flour bread

      How to use grape seed flour

      • Grape seed flour can be added to baked goods. The recommended ‘dosage’ is 5-7% based on the bread’s flour content.
      • Grape seed flour pancakes are another great option. Just use your standard pancake recipe and add a tablespoon of grape seed flour into the batter mixture.
      • It can also be added to yoghurt or smoothies and used to thicken and flavour soups or salad dressings.
      • It adds rich colour and flavour with a slightly astringent yet fruity taste. White wine grapes will lend a tan colour to baked goods, while red wine grapes will add a darker, purple-brown colour to them.
      • Grape seed flour provides a boost of antioxidants and is high in fibre.
      • Finally, it’s a gluten free ingredient.

      Grape Seed Flour Bread Recipe

      Have fun baking with grape seed bread and pairing it with wine. I used grape seed flour from the Urkornhof in Austria, but you can buy grape seed flour online too. The cold-pressed grape seed flour I used combines seeds from both white and red grape varieties into one flour.

      Ingredients

      Sourdough

      Main dough

      • 265g strong white bread flour
      • 35g wholemeal wheat flour
      • 15g grape seed flour
      • 8g salt
      • 180g water

      How to make grape seed flour bread

      1. On the day before baking, refresh your sourdough by combining the sourdough ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well, cover and keep at room temperature for 12 – 16 hours.
      2. On the day of baking, combine 200g of the refreshed sourdough starter (the rest goes back into the fridge until your next bake) with the main dough ingredients.
      3. Knead for 10 minutes and you should have a smooth dough at this point.
      4. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover and rest for 1 hour or so until visibly risen.
      5. Punch down the dough and, on your work surface, shape it into a boule.
      6. Lightly dust the loaf with flour on all sides, then place it into a suitable proving basket.
      7. Cover the proving basket with a polythene bag (to prevent the dough from drying out), then leave to prove at room temperature for several hours until fully proved.
      8. Preheat the oven and your baking dome (if using) 20 minutes before the bake.
      9. Turn out the dough onto the baking dome plate or a baking tray lined with baking paper. Score a pattern with a scoring knife if you like.
      10. Bake at 180°C for 35 minutes and a further 10 minutes without the baking dome lid (if using) to brown the crust.
      11. Cool on a wire rack.

      Recipe for German Spätzle Pasta

       

      Fancy some homemade pasta without the work and effort usually involved with homemade pasta? German Spätzle pasta – small, squiggly egg dumplings from the Southwest of Germany – are easy to prepare and can be ready in a matter of minutes.

      German Spätzle Pasta
      German Spätzle pasta – lovely irregular shapes, perfect for sauces

      German Spätzle Pasta Recipe

      The flour

      Austrian flour type 480 (“griffiges Mehl”, flour type 405 in Germany, Italian 00 flour and soft pastry flour in the UK and US) should be used to make Spätzle.

      The ingredients (to serve 6 people as side dish) –

      • 500g Austrian flour type 480 / Italian 00 flour or types as specified above
      • 375g water
      • 2 eggs
      • 6g salt

      Please note that I am using a Spätzle maker (in German Spätzle-Sieb) to help me with the Spätzle making. Alternatively, you can use a sieve, colander or steamer with large (5-6 mm) holes.

      German Spätzle pasta maker
      German Spätzle pasta maker
      1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. All flour should be folded into the dough well. The dough will be more like a batter (it should drip, but not be too thin), so not the same as typical pasta dough.
      2. Heat a large pot of water until it reaches simmering point.
      3. Place the Spätzle sieve on top of the pot, put a few ladles of dough onto the Spätzle board and scrape the batter through the holes directly into the simmering water.
      4. The ‘dough droppings’ will sink to the bottom but they’ll pop up to the water surface once cooked through. Stir to make sure the Spätzle separate. The cooking will take only 2 to 3 minutes.
      5. Using a slotted spoon, take out the Spätzle as soon as they float to the top.
      6. Place them into a colander, rinse with cold water and drain.
      7. Toss in a little melted butter to keep them from sticking and warm through before serving.
      8. You can keep Spätzle in the fridge for a couple of days; heat through before serving.

      Spätzle

      Serve as a side dish to sauce-based meat dishes. Warning: very filling!

      Danish seeded rye bread with malted flour

       

      This month’s theme for the #TwelveLoaves bakers is Malt. I have previously used malt extract for dark wholemeal breads to add flavour and as a source of sugar for the yeast. However, with malt taking centre stage this month, I wanted to do more and decided to home-malt rye grains to make my own malted flour.

      Malt is created when simple grains such as rye, barley or wheat are left to germinate and sprout. When this happens, active enzymes in the grain convert the starch into a simple sugar called maltose. If the grain is then dried and toasted, the maltose darkens in colour and takes on a complex, rich caramel flavour.

      In this post, I’ll show how I made malted flour at home and then used it to bake a delicious Danish rye bread loaf.

      Malted rye bread
      Malted, seeded rye bread

      How to make malted flour at home?

      1. Germinate a handful of grains such as rye, barley or wheat – I used a germinator to do this. The process takes about 2 – 4 days depending on the temperature in your room. Germinate until the shoot is about the length of the seed itself.
      2. Dry the sprouted grains by laying them out on kitchen paper and leaving them to dry at room temperature for 12 hours. Move the air-dried grains onto a baking tray covered with baking paper and roast at a low temperature (50 – 75°C) for 2 to 3 hours. Drying the grains halts the germination process but the temperature at which the grains are roasted is important.
      3. Lightly roasting the grains at a low temperature (as above) ensures that the the flour remains ‘diastatic’ i.e. the malted flour will still contain considerable enzyme activity to increase the extraction of sugars from the flours for use as food during the fermentation process, yielding a strong rise, great oven-spring and increased crust-browning.
      4. More heavily roasted grains result in a much darker flour but the enzyme activity is destroyed. Flour made from such grains are used for purely for colour and flavour.
      5. Grind the sprouted and dried grains into flour. Very finely ground malted flour can sometimes also be referred to as malt powder.
      Malted rye grains
      Malted rye grains

      And here we have it! Malted flour i.e. flour ground from sprouted, dried and roasted grains.

      Rye, malted rye grains, malted rye flour
      Rye berries; Malted rye grains; Malted rye flour

      In bread baking, malt ingredients are used in small quantities (around 1% diastatic malt flour as a % of overall flour used) while for sweet malt bakes (e.g. for malt loaves, malted cookies and malted chocolate tarts) generous quantities of malt extract and malt flour are used to achieve the distinctive flavour, colour and stickiness.

      Malted rye slice
      Danish malted, seeded rye slice

      How to bake Danish seeded rye bread with malted flour

      16 – 24 hours before preparing the final dough

      Sourdough

      Combine the starter, flours and water in a bowl, mix well, cover with a lid and leave to rest at room temperature for 16 – 24 hours.

      Toasted seed soaker

      • 100g sunflower seeds
      • 50g oats
      • 50g flaxseed
      • 200g cracked whole rye
      • 8g salt
      • 400g boiling water (the cracked rye doesn’t soften easily with cold water, so boiling water is recommended)

      Toast the sunflower seeds and oats in a non-stick frying pan. Turn them often and watch the seeds and oats closely to avoid burning. Combine the toasted seeds and oats, the flaxseed and cracked whole rye in a  bowl, add the salt and the boiling water. Mix well, cover with a lid and leave to rest for 16 – 24 hours.

      1 hour before preparing the final dough

      Boiled rye berries

      • 65g whole rye berries

      Place the rye berries in a small pot and cover with cold water. Bring to boil and continue for about 45 minutes. Top up with more water if needed. Using a sieve, discard any remaining water. Leave to cool.

      Preparing the final dough

      • 500g rye flour
      • 200g strong white wheat flour
      • 2 tbsp malted flour
      • 435g water
      • 22g salt
      1. Combine 400g of the sourdough, the toasted seed and oat mix, the boiled rye berries and the final dough ingredients in a large bowl.
      2. Mix with your hands – you won’t be able to knead the dough as it’s too sticky.
      3. Cover the bowl and leave the mixture to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
      4. Butter a large loaf tin (I used a tin 33 x 10 x 10 cm).
      5. Give the dough mixture another good mix with your hands.
      6. Move the dough into the loaf tin and spread evenly. Cover the loaf tin and place the dough in the fridge overnight (approx. 12 hours).
      7. Remove the tin from the fridge for approx. 1 hour before baking to bring the dough back to room temperature.
      8. Bake for 15 mins at 250°C and for a further 50 mins at 200°C.

      Danish malted rye bread

      Perfectly delicious with just butter, with all types of strong cheeses, all salty food as well as pickled or smoked fish.

      #TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of girlichef, and the rest of our fabulous bakers.

      Our host this month is Heather from girlichef, and our theme is Malt. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s selection of #TwelveLoaves Jewish Breads!

      If you’d like to bake along with us this month, share your Malt Bread using hashtag #TwelveLoaves!