Barley is an ancient grain that was eaten for thousands of years It’s mentioned in the bible a number of times and inspires popular Ezekiel bread recipes.
Ezekiel 4.9: “And you take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt, and put them into a single vessel and make bread of them.”
Ezekiel ate this healthy bread while living in the desert. It was called many floured bread because it contained so many healthful grains made into flour. And today there’s a huge interest in eating right with whole grains and natural foods, and barley is one of those grains.
Ezekiel bread typically contains barley, spelt, wheat, beans, lentils and millet. It’s a yeasted bread which takes some time to make. The ingredients are ground into a flour or sometimes allowed to sprout before using in the bread. My recipe contains wheat, millet, barley, and wheat germ. It’s a quick bread and really delicious. The millet gives it a wonderful crunch and has iron.
Preheat oven to 375.
Ezekiel Bread Recipe
3 cups self rising flour
2 tablespoons each: quick cooking barley, wheat germ and millet ***
2 tablespoons honey
1 can, 12 oz, beer (I used light beer)
2 tablespoons butter or substitute, melted
Mix flour and grains together. Add honey and then stir in beer. Don’t overmix. You’ll get a thick, lumpy batter. Pour into sprayed loaf pan. Pour melted butter over. Bake 45-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
I know Ezekiel bread is gaining in popularity now and contains many grains, including barley. Can you buy Ezekiel bread? Yes, there is a brand of commercially available Ezekiel bread in the natural frozen food section and is usually labeled “Ezekiel Bread 4.9”. It will always contain barley, among other grains.
Barley was the sustaining food the laborers of King Solomon’s time. Supposedly over 180,000 bushels a day were eaten. And the barley of Bible times wasn’t what we normally eat today: it was natural brown barley which only had the tough inedible hull taken off, not “pearled” barley like what most of us eat today, and it had a higher nutritional value.
Eating any barley today is good for the heart, helps prevent cancer, is great for digestion and it’s a good source of vitamin E which is a good antioxidant. Barley also helps reduce the formation of blood clots. And it’s low in sodium, so it’s good for your heart.
To cook barley, stir it into boiling liquid and it swells up to 4 times its size. There’s two kinds of barley: quick cooking pearled barley and longer cooking hulled barley. I like the hulled since it’s more nutritious but it’s best to soak it overnight and it does take a while to cook. If you’re just starting to eat barley, go ahead with the quicker cooking kind.
Barley is always in Ezekiel bread, but it’s also delicious in soups, pilafs, stews, muffins and, of course, other breads. Mom used to make barley water for the little ones when they were recovering from an illness. I didn’t know then how absolutely nutritious it was and how smart she was!
Barley is nutty with a chewy texture.
***Tips from Rita’s kitchen:
If you don’t have all of the grains called for, don’t worry. You can make a regular kind of bread with any of the three, or even none at all. (But don’t call it Ezekiel bread!).