Driving through the barley fields of Aberdeenshire and Moray after my visit to the Aberlour distillery, I was inspired to try a loaf that incorporated some elements from the whisky making process. I used pearl barley, as that was the easiest to get hold of; as an un-malted grain with the bran and hull removed, this isn’t really a true reflection of barley as it’s used in whisky making, but it’s easily available. Had I thought about it a bit, and having now done the googling, I see that home brewers use malted barley and so it’s possible to get small quantities online from brewing suppliers.
- 200 g ripe leaven
- 200 g white flour
- 100 g wholemeal flour
- 50 g barley flour
- 50 g coarsely ground barley used to make wort.
- 225 ml water
- 5 g salt
Refresh your leaven overnight with equal weights of water and white bread flour; make sure that it is light and spongy before use.
Coarsely grind the barley in a blender. Add the water, just off the boil. Leave it to steep for about 40 minutes. Every 10 minutes or so, run the blender on low for about thirty, to stir up the barley. Drain, keeping the liquid (the wort) and allow it to cool to lukewarm. Discard the barley.
In a large bowl, mix the flour and most of the wort (barley water). Dissolve the salt in the remaining liquid – about 10ml is about right. Allow half an hour for autolysis, and then add the remaining, salty, wort. Squidge together the dough and added liquid, and bulk raise. Every half an hour, stretch and fold the dough a few times. After bulk raising, form the loaf and transfer to a proving basket. Proof, overnight in the fridge if wanted. Bake in a hot oven – 200 degrees C (convection), 400 degrees F, Gas mark 6, until brown and sounding hollow when tapped on the bottom.