Using up cooked barley

I live for a good summer salad.  One that you can just throw together and eat for dinner on a hot summer night when the last thing you want to do is stand over a hot grill or stove.

My criteria for a summer salad is the following: it cannot be mostly greens (in fact, I usually don’t include ANY greens), and it has to include seasonal produce (such as zucchinis, corn and tomatoes).  To top it off, I’ll add some feta or goat cheese, a fresh herb like basil, oregano or mint, and a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar.

So basically it’s:
Fresh Vegetables + Crumbly or Soft Cheese + Herb + Olive Oil & Vinegar + Salt & Pepper

Pretty easy, right?

Sometimes I’ll throw in a cooked grain such as wheat berries or barley to give the salad some added heft, which is what I did for our church’s after-worship fellowship hour

I tried to keep the proportions of the different ingredients more or less equal, which unfortunately meant that after my salad was constructed, I still had massive amounts of cooked barley left over.

I decided to look for recipes that would incorporate the cooked barley, as well as some other things I had on hand that I wanted to use up.  I adjusted each of these so much that I feel justified including my recipes here.  If you want to check out the original versions, just click the links.

Buckwheat Multigrain Bread (guided by this recipe)

You will need:
8 ounces/240 grams bread flour
4 ounces/120 grams whole wheat flour
6 ounces/ 180 grams cooked barley
2 ounces/60 grams buckwheat flour
1 ounce/30 grams flax seeds (I used ground flaxseed meal
12 ounces/340 grams water
2 teaspoons/10 grams kosher salt
1 teaspoon/3 grams active dry yeast (if you need a fast rise, you can double this)

1. Mix together everything in a bowl.  Add about 250g of the water first, then add more if you need to.   Once everything is combined into a wet dough, let it rest for about 10 minutes in the bowl.
2. When the 10 minutes are up, gently shape the dough into a ball and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel.  Let rise overnight in the refrigerator.
3. In the morning, remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it get back to room temperature (I usually do this while I’m at work and it’s ready when I get home 9 hours later).
4. Punch down the dough and shape it back into a ball.  Lay out a piece of parchment paper and put the ball on the parchment paper.  Wash your bowl and use it to cover your ball during the second rise.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F with your dutch oven inside.
5. When the oven is ready, remove the glass bowl and use a sharp knife to score the top of the loaf.
6. Bake in the covered dutch oven for 30 minutes, then take the lid off, bump the heat down to 375 degrees F, and bake another 20 minutes or so, until the bread has a crusty exterior, is a deep golden brown, and sounds hollow when tapped.

And here it is sliced.  You can see the barley grains too.  This bread is fantastic toasted with peanut butter for breakfast.

Banana Barley Muffins (guided by this recipe)

You will need:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup sugar (I used brown sugar because I had some lying around)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons oat bran (not necessary but adds some fiber)
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 cup cooked barley
½ cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil (or however much you need for the right consistency)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Butter a 12-cup muffin tin.
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, oat bran and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.
3. Mix together the bananas, eggs, barley, milk and butter in a medium-sized bowl. 
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula to combine.  It should be the consistency of oatmeal.  If it’s too dry, add the vegetable oil a little at a time until you have the right consistency.
5. Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.  Bake for 20 minutes until they turn brown and are firm.

And once again, the inside of the muffin with the intact barley grains:

I hope these recipes will inspire you to experiment with barley and try something new.

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