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
Barley bread recipe
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4.41 from 5 votes

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.

      Moreish mushroom bread pudding recipe

       

      I’d like to introduce you to this gorgeously moreish mushroom bread pudding recipe. It combines mushrooms – luxuriously delicious and earthy in their own right – with a velvety and creamy bread pudding base. The perfect comfort food, it’s also a great way to reduce wastage of leftover or stale bread.

      Mushroom bread pudding
      Mushroom bread pudding

      This savoury bread pudding recipe makes a scrumptious side dish (serve with roast chicken for example) but also works perfectly well as a mid-week lunch or dinner, ideally with a sharp salad on the side.

      A few words on choosing your mushroom bread pudding ingredients…

      The mushrooms

      Choose your mushrooms well! They will lend the bread pudding their distinctive flavour. Go for white or brown button mushrooms if you can’t get your hands on other varieties with a more unique taste, but if available, try to at least mix in some porcini or shiitake mushrooms. Go and harvest your own wild mushrooms if you can and make them the main event of the bread pudding!

      Mixed mushrooms
      Mixed mushrooms

      “Mushrooms don’t have any chlorophyll, so are unable to harvest energy from sunlight, which means they have to do all their growing underground, feeding on whatever they find. So, mushrooms that grow under chestnut trees taste of chestnuts and soil. Mushrooms that grow under pine trees taste of pines and soil.Yotam Ottolenghi, The Guardian

      Mushrooms have also received a lot of press coverage of late for their health properties and if you’d like to read more about this, take a look at this article for a short overview or watch this video for a fascinating interview with mycologist Joe Rogan.

      The bread

      Lots of bread puddings use brioche or challah as the bread base. However, for this savoury mushroom bread pudding, I prefer the earthy flavours of sourdough bread containing rye flour e.g. pain de champagne.

      The cheese

      You can use cheddar cheese as your base cheese, but I like to at least mix in some other flavours e.g. Gruyère or Parmesan. Your cheese choice (same as your mushroom and bread choices) will have a big impact on the bread pudding’s flavour.

      Mushroom bread pudding recipe

      If you’ve only ever made sweet bread puddings, there’s no better time to try a savoury one. Warning: this is not for the faint-hearted (i.e. people on a diet), take a look at the ingredient list to find out why 🙂

      Mushroom bread pudding recipe
      Mushroom bread pudding recipe
      Mushroom bread pudding
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      Mushroom Bread Pudding Recipe

      Combine the best and most flavoursome ingredients you can find and bake this mushroom bread pudding recipe to perfection - with a crisp surface and melting interior. Choose a deeper casserole dish for a more tender pudding, a shallower dish if you like to have more of the crusty top layer. 

      Ingredients

      Ingredients

      • 300 g fresh bread cubes, ideally sourdough rye bread cut into 5 mm cubes
      • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
      • 1 onion chopped
      • 450 g mixed fresh mushrooms trimmed and cut into 1 cm cubes
      • 2 large garlic cloves minced
      • 5 tbsp white wine
      • 1 small bunch of parsley (or other herbs, whatever flavour you prefer)
      • 125 g milk
      • 100 g creme fraiche
      • 90 g single cream
      • 2 large eggs
      • 50 g Parmesan cheese grated
      • Salt
      • Freshly ground pepper

      Instructions

      How to make mushroom bread pudding

      • Preheat oven to 180°C.
      • Toast bread cubes in in a large shallow baking pan until golden-brown, about 10 minutes.
      • Heat the butter in a medium-large frying pan. Add the chopped onion and fry over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften.
        Add the chopped mushrooms, minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly milled pepper. Continue to fry and stir until the liquid the mushrooms give off has evaporated (about 15 minutes). 
        Add the white wine and parsley and continue to fry and stir for another few minutes. 
        Check the seasoning and remove from the heat.
      • In a medium-large bowl, combine the milk, creme fraiche, single cream, eggs and grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly milled pepper. 
        Whisk together well. 
        Stir in the toasted bread cubes and the mushroom mixture until coated well and let stand for 10 minutes to allow the bread to absorb some of the cream and egg mixture.
      • Butter the baking dish. I used a square dish (20 x 20 cm), about 8 cm deep.
      • Spoon the mixture into the baking dish and place on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until nicely browned on top. Please note that the baking time will depend on the depth of the baking dish you have chosen.

       

      Chickpea flour pancakes for weekend breakfast

       

      A new year, a new pancake recipe! This time, using chickpea flour. I’ve baked with chickpea flour before and always thought chickpea flour pancakes were a particularly nice way of using chickpea flour in baking. These chickpea flour pancakes are super light and fluffy (without the use of baking powder) and make an excellent weekend breakfast choice. Unfortunately, they are not quite vegan due to the added egg, but certainly a good option for anyone on a vegetarian diet.

      Chickpea flour pancakes
      Chickpea flour pancakes

      For more chickpea flour baking ideas including my recipe for chickpea flour and fennel sourdough bread, take a look at my chickpea flour baking post from a few years ago.

      Chickpea pancakes
      Chickpea pancakes

      Chickpea flour pancakes recipe

      This chickpea pancakes recipe uses a little bit of dried yeast as well as an egg to help them rise and make them light and fluffy.

      The pancakes themselves don’t include any spices such as cumin, coriander, mustard seeds or turmeric – as can often be found in Indian chickpea pancakes. Instead, I like to serve them plain or add some fresh ingredients (onion, chili and coriander leaves) to the batter.

      Serve with your choice of savoury topping; I’ve included some suggestions below.

      Chickpea flour pancakes
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      Chickpea pancakes recipe

      These chickpea pancakes are best served with a savoury topping. My personal topping of choice is a fresh salad of avocado, cherry tomatoes, rocket leaves or lamb's lettuce, seasoned with olive or rapeseed oil, salt, pepper and a little bit of lemon/lime juice. A spoonful of natural yoghurt on the side works well with this. Note: If you prefer to serve your chickpea flour pancakes plain, just leave out the onion, chili and coriander leaves from the recipe below. Yotam Ottolenghi serves his plain chickpea pancakes with this tasty spiced aubergine and coriander topping.
      Servings 4 people

      Ingredients

      Ingredients

      • 200 g chickpea flour
      • 4 g dried yeast
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      • 1 small egg beaten
      • 200 g water
      • 1/2 onion finely chopped
      • 1/2 fresh chili (green or red) finely chopped
      • Fresh coriander leaves a few sprigs, finely chopped

      Instructions

      How to make chickpea pancakes

      • Combine the chickpea flour, yeast and salt in a bowl.
      • Add the beaten egg and the water.
      • Add the chopped onion, chili and coriander leaves and combine well.
      • Cover and set aside for an hour, until nice and frothy.
      • Make the pancakes in a non-stick frying pan by heating up oil (I use a silicone brush to distribute a layer of oil evenly across the frying pan surface area). Use 3 tbsp of batter per pancake.
      • Serve immediately.

      For more breakfast pancake recipe ideas, take a look at my buckwheat groats pancake recipe, this recipe for sorghum flour pancakes with options for both sweet and savoury breakfast pancakes or this recipe for galettes de sarrasin.

      Bread during pregnancy: notes from a baker

       

      I wanted to write a quick post on eating bread during pregnancy. With bread playing such a big role in my daily food routine, and at 25 weeks pregnant, a special post devoted to this feels appropriate 🙂

      Here are my general tips around bread during pregnancy

      • According to the NHS UK; “starchy foods (carbohydrates) – including bread – should make up just over a third of the food you eat.”
      • However, try to limit or cut out white bread (and other ‘white carbs’ such as white rice or pasta) during pregnancy as much as possible.
      • Instead, opt for brown / wholegrain / multigrain breads, brown rice and wholemeal pasta.
      • If you are prone to snacking on sweets, incorporate some dried fruit into your loaf of bread instead. This date and nut loaf for example makes for a delicious breakfast bread or afternoon snack.
      • Adding nuts to your bread dough will add some much-needed protein into your diet too and, in general, I recommend to add seeds (e.g. sesame seeds are a good source of calcium) and extra wheat bran (for added fibre) to any bread you bake.
      Healthy whole grain bread
      Healthy whole grain bread

      The best bread during pregnancy?

      If you are looking to start baking your own bread during pregnancy or if you are looking to bake healthier loaves during pregnancy, take a look at this post on healthy bread from earlier this year.

      Wholemeal sourdough pita bread pocket
      Wholemeal sourdough pita bread pocket

      There is good dietary advice on the NHS (UK) website and a lot of this can easily be put into practice with your daily choice of bread.

      Here are my recipe tips:

      • Try this wholemeal pita bread recipe and pair it with homemade hummus, carrot and celery sticks if you fancy a savoury snack.
      • This Greek pastry snack with folate-rich spinach and feta cheese also ticks a few of the recommended dietary boxes.
      • Crispbread can be a life saver in the first three months of feeling nauseous and queasy; I found it really easy to eat during the tricky first trimester.
      • And if you are following a ‘eat little and often’ pregnancy routine, this oatcakes recipe is ideal.

      All the best!

      Disclaimer:

      All content on The Bread She Bakes is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. The Bread She Bakes will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on www.thebreadshebakes.com and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from this site to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.

      Buckwheat crackers recipe

       

      I love the taste buckwheat flour adds to baked goods. If you are in need of a quick buckwheat flavour fix, I’ve got a great buckwheat crackers recipe idea for you – a fantastic way of making quick crispbreads for when you need that savoury snack.

      Buckwheat flour crackers
      Buckwheat flour crackers
      Buckwheat crispbread
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      Buckwheat crackers recipe

      This buckwheat crispbread goes well with smoked fish or cured meats, with cheeses and pickles. Break the crispbread into smaller bits and you can serve up a delicious bowl of buckwheat crisps with your favourite dip.

      Ingredients

      Buckwheat crackers ingredients

      • 120 g whole-wheat flour
      • 90 g unbleached all-purpose flour
      • 90 g buckwheat flour
      • 15 g sesame seeds
      • 4 g salt
      • 40 g extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil
      • 120 g water as needed

      Instructions

      How to make buckwheat crackers

      • Preheat the oven to 180°C with two racks positioned inside and line two baking trays with baking paper.
      • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and form a dough. Ensure the dough is nice and smooth, not too runny and not too firm. Add a little more water if it's not very elastic.
      • Knead for a few minutes.
      • Lightly dust your work surface, and roll out the dough.
      • Cut into desired shapes -- squares or cookie-cutter shapes -- and place on the baking sheet, close together but not touching.
      • Bake for around 20 minutes until lightly browned, switching the sheet trays halfway through from front to back and top to middle.
      • Cool on a wire rack.

      These crackers are delicious with cheeses and pickles or smoked fish and cottage cheese.

      Buckwheat cracker
      Buckwheat cracker

      For more buckwheat inspiration, head over here for my buckwheat bread recipe or give this buckwheat pancake recipe a go for your next weekend breakfast. Galettes de sarrasin and buckwheat muffins provide great brunch options too.

      Malt bread recipe

       

      I love the flavour of malt and the sweet, fruity and slightly squidgy malt loaves which are brilliant for an afternoon snack, whether that’s at home or on a long walk with a hot cup of tea from the thermal flask. However, malt extract can also be a superb addition to a savoury loaf of bread and I wanted to share my malt bread recipe for a deliciously unique loaf.

      Malt bread loaf
      Malt bread loaf

      “A typical non-diastatic product is the malt syrup that can be easily bought in jars at a health food shop. It is a sweet syrup, rich in maltose that can be used directly as yeast food.  It also delivers that malty  flavour, and by raising sugar levels it ensures bright crust colour because the yeast will not have had time to eat all the sugars present, and plenty will be left to caramelise in the crust.”
      See more about using malt in baking here.

      Malt Bread Recipe

      Malt syrup helps the rise of the dough and adds a slight tan color to the loaf. The fresh potatoes in this recipe will keep the baked loaf fresh for longer.

      Malt bread recipe
      Malt bread recipe

      Malt Bread Ingredients

      For the sourdough (‘Monheimer Salzsauerteig’)

      Please note, this dough is using salt in the sourdough refreshment, so make sure you have more leftover starter in the fridge than you are using here as you will be using the full sourdough refreshment in the main dough.

      If you’d like to find out more about this salted sourdough refreshment, take a look here. Benefits include a more intensive aroma and better crumb.

      • 18g rye sourdough starter
      • 90g wholemeal rye flour
      • 90g water (ideal temperature for this process is 45°C)
      • 2g salt

      For the main dough

      • 300g potatoes
      • 30g wholemeal rye flour
      • 480g strong white bread flour
      • 3g dried yeast
      • 13g salt
      • 135g water
      • 1 tablespoon malt extract
      Malt bread
      Malt bread

      How to Make Malt Bread

      1. On day 1, prepare the Monheimer Salzsauerteig (salted sourdough) by combining the ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and leave to rest at room temperature for 15 to 20 hours.
      2. On day 2, peel the potatoes and finely grate into a large bowl.
      3. Add the refreshed, salted sourdough (all of it), as well as all the other main dough ingredients into the large bowl.
      4. Combine to form a smooth dough.
      5. On a clean work surface, knead for 20 minutes.
      6. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover and leave to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
      7. Prepare a proofing basket.
      8. Punch down the dough, shape into a loaf, cover with flour, then place seam-side up in the proofing basket.
      9. Cover with a polythene bag and leave to prove at room temperature for about an hour.
      10. Preheat the oven to 220°C (and if using a baking dome preheat this from cold at the same time).
      11. Bake for 60 minutes. If using the baking dome, take off the lid for the last 10 minutes.
      12. Cool on a wire rack.

      Proofing sourdough overnight

       

      I’m a big fan of the sourdough overnight rise i.e. proofing sourdough overnight. It allows me to fit sourdough baking into my daily routine more easily and offers an opportunity to improve the flavour and aroma characteristics of my loaves.

      In this post, I wanted to share some basics and tips around using this technique.

      How does the sourdough overnight rise method work?

      Fermentation will continue during refrigeration which will ensure the rise takes place albeit more slowly. By slowing down the process, sourdough breads that ferment overnight in the fridge develop more acidity during this time.

      In general, there are a few things to look out for when baking an overnight sourdough bread recipe.

      Overnight first rise

      This method relates to the initial rise of the dough once you have mixed your dough ingredients including the refreshed sourdough starter. If you want to give your bread a good, long rise for reasons of flavour and nutritional quality but you cannot start the process until late in the evening, this would be a good option. Try to mix the dough at around 27°C (you can influence this by using water at this temperature) to give it a head-start, then place in the fridge at 5°C overnight before shaping the loaf and its final proof.

      Overnight proofing

      This is a great method if you want to bake your loaf first thing in the morning. Overnight proofing however isn’t risk free as proof times will as always vary based on the dough temperature and general vigour of the sourdough used. When I use this method,  I tend to use water 27°C – 32°C for mixing the main dough ingredients and leave it to rest at room temperature for a good few hours before shaping the loaf. This means the fermentation process has well and truly started by the time the loaf goes into the fridge.

      However, if your dough is too lively at this stage, or your fridge not powerful enough, the loaf may over-proof before the morning and you won’t be there too notice until it’s too late.

      On the other hand, the dough may not be lively enough and the fridge will slow things right down. So by the time the morning comes, your dough may not have risen enough and due to the cold dough temperature it will take a while to get it to its final fully proofed stage. Experience will be your best guide here.

      Tips for proofing sourdough overnight

      1. The dough will be cold as it comes out of the fridge. If you are proofing your sourdough overnight for its first rise, it will take a while to get going again. Ensure it arrives into a warm space after its time in the fridge.
      2. Get to know the vigour of your sourdough and get the dough temperature right before starting the overnight rise. This will ensure you limit some of the risks described above.
      3. Experiment with different recipes and different flours to test and learn.
      4. Here are some recipes to get you started on this method: French pain de campagne and Russian 100% rye bread

      Eating Out In Edinburgh

       

      Eating your way around Edinburgh is a fabulous way to explore the city’s diverse neighbourhoods. Plan your day out with some tasty treats in mind – and don’t forget the bread!

      Best for brunch

      Urban Angel

      Urban Angel’s versatile all day brunch menu is the perfect fix for healthy brunch-time cravings. The menu offers up scrumptious favourites such as Eggs Benedict and brioche French toast but also delights with moreish alternatives including harissa-spiced haricot beans on toast and Acai smoothie bowls. Whatever tickles your fancy, you’ll find a delicious selection of brunch treats on the menu. What’s more, their extensive list of add on items allows you to top up your plate with anything from black pudding and slow roasted tomatoes to veggie haggis should you feel the urge!

      Urban Angel Edinburgh
      Urban Angel, Edinburgh

      Best for Vegetarian/Vegan lunch

      Hendersons

      I love dropping into Hendersons’ deli for lunch. Fresh and organic ingredients make for a vast range of veggie dishes including flavoursome salads, hearty soups as well as hot favourites such as their haggis parcels and Thai nut burgers. Hendersons’ Vegan restaurant around the corner from the deli serves up delicious dishes including Scottish pearl barley & parsnip risotto as well as my personal favourite, freekeh salad with kale, butternut squash, pear, grapes, almond flakes and cumin-maple dressing.

      Hendersons Edinburgh
      Hendersons, Edinburgh

      Best for seafood

      The Ship on the Shore

      My all-time favourite for romantic dinners and savouring the best seafood in town, the Ship on the Shore celebrates the rich seafood larder Scotland has to offer. Part of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, this is the place to get your fill of oysters, Shetland mussels, Scottish lobster and many more outstanding seafood dishes from the seasonal menu. Enjoy all this in a setting of understated elegance, right beside the Water of Leith.

      Best for inventive local dining

      The Gardener’s Cottage

      In the quaint setting of a gardener’s stone cottage built in 1836, the restaurant’s home-grown vegetable and herb garden greets diners as they arrive. The finest ingredients are sourced from local producers and sustainable waters. Make an occasion of it and book yourself in for the delectable seven course evening dinner. Stand out dishes include Arbroath smokies, hare pie, sea buckthorn sorbet with crowdie. Settle into one of the two cosy dining rooms on long communal dining tables and get ready to be enchanted.

      The Gardener's Cottage Edinburgh
      The Gardener’s Cottage Edinburgh

      Best for coffee

      Brew Lab

      We have a vibrant coffee scene in Edinburgh but the shining star amongst the many independent coffee shops is Brew Lab. A pioneer in taking the city’s coffee culture to a new level, Brew Lab launched in 2012 and continues to push the boundaries of what a coffee bar can be. Passionate baristas prepare your brew with meticulous care and are happy to impart their specialist knowledge to coffee lovers. What is on offer? Single-origin filter, espresso and cold brew coffees alongside a locally sourced selection of sweet and savoury treats to match. Pop in for your high-quality caffeine fix and take note of Brew Lab’s extended opening hours, open until 9pm Wednesday to Sundays.

      Best for cake

      Falko

      Indulge in the eclectic array of cakes Falko Konditormeister has to offer. Falko is a long-standing German bakery specialising in premium quality, traditionally prepared cakes and gâteaux. Cake varieties change frequently – just walk in and pick from the mouth-watering cakes beautifully presented in the display counter. Enjoy the continental Kaffeehaus vibes and treat yourself to a rich chocolatey Sachertorte or Swabian apple tart in the cosy wood panelled interiors of this Edinburgh institution. Have a pretzel while you’re there!

      Best for wine

      Smith & Gertrude

      For me, Smith & Gertrude is the best wine bar in Edinburgh and my favourite place for spending a lazy Sunday afternoon. I love stopping by for carefully curated flights of wines (cheese and charcuterie pairing optional) while the old record player in the corner takes care of some quality tunes. The S&G crew even welcome record requests! Also check out the website’s events page to keep tabs on upcoming tasting events. 

      Best for bread

      You might also wonder where the best bread in town can be found. Luckily, there are now several great bakeries to choose from. My top picks around town are Falko in Bruntsfield, Breadshare Community Bakery in Leith and Portobello and The Wee Boulangerie on Clerk Street.

      Brød & Taylor Folding Proofer Review

       

      I finally got my hands on a Brød & Taylor folding proofer and wanted to share my review notes with you. Typically, I proof bread overnight in the fridge when baking during the week. My weekend bakes usually proof during the day and this can take many hours as my Edinburgh flat rarely reaches temperatures above 20°C and is usually lower.

      Brød & Taylor Home Bread Proofer
      Brød & Taylor Home Bread Proofer

      The folding proofer is essentially a large cabinet that holds air temperature at a set level and provides a warm and moist environment for optimal dough proofing. I don’t have a proofing cabinet in my rather dated kitchen set-up and had therefore never tried to work with an ‘artificial’ proofing environment. Although, admittedly, my proofing baskets can been seen on radiators and near our fire place frequently.

      Brød & Taylor Dough Proofer
      Brød & Taylor Dough Proofer
      Brød & Taylor Folding Proofer
      Brød & Taylor folding proofer – I’ve taken the lid off the proofer for this shot. You can see the wire rack (the tray of water sits just underneath it) and the foldable sides.

      What I like about the folding proofer

      • Ease of assembly – The Brød & Taylor folding proofer is a high-quality product, super easy to set up and subsequently fold away to store.
      • Limits guesswork – A few degrees difference in dough temperature can change the duration of the bulk fermentation or the final proofing a lot and being able to set the temperature has allowed me to plan my time around the proofing processes a lot better. The home proofer delivers both in terms of predictability as well as reliability.
      • No need for extra cover – It takes away the need to cover your proofing basket or tins with a polythene bag as the included water tray keeps humidity at an optimum level. Fewer plastic bags used is always a good thing!
      • Works for all types of dough – I’ve used the folding proofer for yeast-based and sourdough bakes, light wheat and  heavy rye loaves as well as for enriched doughs and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the folding proofer has worked well in all instances.
      • In summary – I’ve found the folding proofer to be a useful and unobtrusive piece of baking kit which has very quickly found its way into my regular baking routine. It heats up to the desired temperature very quickly and the see-through window at the top of the proofer lets you check progress easily (I don’t even have to get up from the couch!)

      What would make it even better

      I haven’t yet got the add-on shelving which would make proofing a batch of buns much easier. However, that’s easily resolved 🙂

      Sourdough Loaf Brød & Taylor Bread Proofer
      Sourdough Loaf Brød & Taylor Bread Proofer

      Buttermilk sourdough bread recipe

       

      Just a quick post to share my newly developed buttermilk bread recipe with you. I had a purposeless tub of buttermilk sitting in the fridge and didn’t really fancy baking any of the usual options like scones or soda bread. So, I decided to make a buttermilk-based sourdough loaf, using predominantly white bread flour, but providing depth of flavour and taste by adding dark wholemeal rye flour. The resulting loaf tasted delicious (and has been baked five times since), so do give this a try if you like the sound of a buttermilk sourdough bread.

      Buttermilk sourdough bread
      Buttermilk sourdough bread

      Buttermilk is traditionally a by-product of butter-making – the liquid that is left over after butter is churned from cream. However, what we find in supermarkets nowadays is often made by adding an active bacterial culture to skimmed milk. These cultures convert some of the sugar in the milk (the lactose) into lactic acid which causes the milk to thicken. When used in bread making, buttermilk adds a pleasing tang and tartness and makes the crumb more tender. You’ll also find that the dough has a soft and creamy quality while kneading.

      I always use organic ingredients for cooking and baking and although it is not readily available in supermarkets, organic buttermilk can be found in the UK. Daylesford Farm offers the real deal. Creamy and tangy organic buttermilk, made in the traditional way as a byproduct of the butter they produce.

      Buttermilk sourdough bread recipe

      I used only a small proportion of dark rye flour in my recipe as buttermilk tends to work best with mild flours in order for the tangy flavours to come through and the crumb to remain soft. Add herbs or spices to this buttermilk sourdough bread to play with different flavour combinations.

      Buttermilk bread
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      4.34 from 3 votes

      Buttermilk sourdough bread recipe

      An easy recipe for a wholesome loaf of sourdough bread. I love using buttermilk in sweet baking and it's a beautiful ingredient for sourdough loaves too.
      Servings 8 people

      Ingredients

      Sourdough ingredients

      Main dough ingredients

      • 450 g strong white wheat flour
      • 100 g wholemeal rye flour
      • 300 g buttermilk at room temperature
      • 120 g water
      • 12 g salt

      Instructions

      How to make buttermilk sourdough bread

      • On day 1, prepare the sourdough by combining the sourdough starter, wholemeal rye flour and water in a medium bowl. Mix well, then cover and leave to rest for 16 -24 hours at room temperature.
      • On day 2, once the sourdough starter is ready, combine 260g of the refreshed sourdough (the rest goes back into the fridge for your next bake), the strong white wheat flour and wholemeal rye flour, the buttermilk (ideally at room temperature), the water and salt in a large bowl.
      • Combine to form a dough, then turn it out onto your work surface.
      • Knead for 10 minutes.
      • Place the dough back into the bowl, cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
      • Turn out the dough and knead for 1 minute.
      • Place back into the bowl again, cover and leave to rest for a further 30 minutes.
      • Turn out the dough and shape into a boule.
      • Bathe the boule in a flour bath so it's no longer sticky on the outside, then place seam-side up into a pre-floured proofing basket.
      • Proof for several hours until risen - it takes about 3 hours in my kitchen but as always the proofing time depends very much on the temperature in your room so it might take a little shorter or longer - then preheat the oven to 200°C, and - if using - your baking dome at the same time.
      • Turn out the fully proofed loaf onto the preheated baking dome plate (if using) or a baking tray lined with baking paper. 
      • Make several decorative slashes with a scoring knife. Put the cover on the baking dome plate (if using).
      • Bake for 15 mins at 200°C, then turn the temperature down to 180°C and bake for a further 40 mins. Take off the baking dome cover for the last 10 minutes to finish the crust.
      • Cool on a wire rack.