Barley and Wheat Germ Sandwich Bread

By • January 30, 2011 6 Comments

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Author Notes: Here’s a fragrant sandwich bread I’ve been making a lot lately. Like so many of our favorites, this one features barley and wheat germ; both give the bread a beautiful texture and flavor. This loaf has barley flakes as well as barley flour. Be sure to soak the flakes right before making the dough. I don’t know if it is the weight of the flakes, or if they are like shards breaking the gluten strands, or if there is some other explanation, but I do know that you get a much better rise, and a more even, chewier crumb, when you soak the flakes. This makes great toast and is particularly well suited for panini. Enjoy!! AntoniaJames

Makes 1 good sized loaf, boule or batard

  • 1 ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup rolled barley flakes
  • 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for coating and brushing the loaf
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 ¼ cups bread flour
  • ½ cup toasted wheat germ
  • ½ cup barley flour
  • 1 tablespoon gluten
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (plus more for kneading and shaping
  1. In a large bowl, soak the barley flakes in the milk for 30 – 40 minutes.
  2. Add the yeast, oil and honey and stir well to combine.
  3. Add one cup of bread flour, the wheat germ, barley flour and gluten. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the salt, the remaining bread flour and half the all-purpose flour. Stir to combine, turning out onto a floured surface when the dough become too difficult to stir.
  5. Add ¼ cup of the remaining all-purpose flour a bit at a time, kneading just until the dough comes together and is not too sticky.
  6. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Wash your mixing bowl and dry it, and coat it with a teaspoon or so of olive oil .
  8. Knead the bread well, using a bench scraper to pull up dough that sticks to the counter. If the dough is so sticky that you can’t pull your hand off it, add a bit more flour (including on your hands). Be careful though not to add too much. I use my bench scraper to pull over about a teaspoon or two at a time from the little pile of flour I measured out before I started kneading. Remember, you may not need all of that remaining ¼ cup of flour. If you do, or if you need a bit more, that’s okay, too.
  9. Continue to knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.
  10. Shape the dough into a ball, put it in the oiled bowl, then turn it over to coat it well. Cover and let rise for at least an hour, or until doubled, in a covered bowl in a draft-free place that’s not too chilly. (A microwave that's been warmed up a bit by heating a half cup of water for about 2-3 minutes works very well.)
  11. When the dough has doubled in size, press it down gently, pushing the dough with the heels of your hands to shape a thick rectangle. Allow the dough to rest, covered with a damp cloth, for about ten minutes.
  12. Shape the dough into a loaf, if you’re using a loaf pan, or into a boule or batard, or whatever other free-form shape you plan to make. (If not using a pan, I typically put the shaped dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Then I just pull a corner of the parchment to slide it onto my baking stone.)
  13. Brush the dough generously with olive oil and let the dough rise for another 30-40 minutes. If you are using a standard loaf pan, oil it lightly and let the dough rise in it.
  14. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or whatever temperature your oven manufacturer recommends for baking yeast breads in the form that you’re making, i.e., free-form vs. in a pan).
  15. When the dough has finished its second rise, gently slash the dough diagonally three or four times, then brush it again with olive oil. This is key. It helps gives the bread a beautiful, fragrant crust.
  16. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, or until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Check the loaf after about 25 minutes. Convection ovens can make the crust a bit dark, especially those made with milk, so if the crust is looking too brown after 25 or 30 minutes, cover it very lightly with a piece of foil.
  17. When the loaf is done baking, remove from pan and let it cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
  18. Enjoy!!

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Comments (6) Questions (0)


about 2 years ago Scottsdale Bubbe

Questions: 1) Do rolled barley flakes have the same low glycemic index of whole or pearled barley? 2) Is barley flour a whole grain flour? 3) Who manufactures-carries rolled barley flakes and barley flour?


about 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I don't know the answer to your first question, so you might want to ask the Hotline here on FOOD52.

Bob's Red Mill produces both barley flour and barley flakes, which it calls "rolled barley flakes." The label on the flour bag says it is a whole grain flour.

I'm able to get both barley flakes and barley flour at an independent bulk foods store nearby (the Food Mill in Oakland -- an amazing place).

I believe I've seen them in bulk at Whole Foods, too. Call your local WFM first, though, as products offered in the stores differ, based on the demand in their local communities. With all of the alternative grain cookbooks these past few years, barley in various forms has become much more widely available! ;o)


over 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Well thank you, HLA. The crumb on this is perfect, to my mind, and it smells delicious, too, as you bite into a slice. The "nose" of a good slice of bread is often overlooked. I think the honey, wheat germ and olive oil can be thanked for that here. ;o)


over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

So glad you're sharing your wonderful breads!


over 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

My pleasure, really. This is one of my best, ever. Thanks so much. ;o)


over 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Sounds delicious, excellent instructions, and the crumb looks beautiful! Well done, AJ!