If you want to bake a medieval style bread then this barley bread recipe might be just what you are looking for. Modern day bakers tend to use little barley in their baking. They choose wheat more than any other cereal. However, in recent years, bread makers have become more adventurous offering options of rye or multi-grain and seeded bread.
If we look at barley as a cereal, it is not as popular today as it used to be. In medieval times, barley was commonly used in baking and barley bread was really popular.
In fact, when you look into the history of bread making, the cereal was actually used long before that. Historians believe that barley bread was made in Britain as far back as the Iron Age. How far back is that? About 3,000 years ago (to 1,000 BC). That is a lot of history in support of a little cereal!
What I particularly like about this barley bread recipe is the combination of the cereal with honey and ale. The bread that you get as a result of this has a wonderfully, earthy smell and taste which comes from the barley and the ale.
Baking barley bread reminds me of my childhood. My grandmother always baked her own bread and she often used ale as an ingredient. In particular, she liked to use Yorkshire Ale. She was Yorkshire born and bred and it was a traditional recipe passed down to her from previous generations. Sometimes, for a special occasion such as Christmas, she would add some chopped walnuts to her bread recipe. However, it was the ale that gave her bread the most distinctive of flavours!
Click here to read more about the drinking and culinary use of ale in medieval times.