If you've never baked with barley before, try these simple bannocks.
This recipe from Scotland makes a wonderfully tasty quick bread that is similar to Irish Soda Bread both in taste and method. Barley flour is more nutritious than all-purpose flour, but produces a finer crumb than whole wheat flour. Bannocks should be served just out of the oven, but leftovers can be split, toasted and topped with butter for a tasty breakfast.
2 cups barley flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick mat. Set aside.
Mix the flours, cream of tartar and salt together in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle.
Stir the baking soda into the buttermilk, then pour the mixture onto the dry ingredients and stir together with a wooden spoon. The mixture will be slightly sticky.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and pat into a ½”-inch thick round. Cut into six wedges and place on the baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes in the middle of the oven. The bannocks will be lightly browned. Serve warm.
Adapted from Carol Wilson and Christopher Trotter, “Bere Bannocks” in Scottish Traditional Recipes: A Heritage of Food & Cooking (London: Hermes House, 2008), 219.
Illustration from Guy Mannering (click to enlarge) from Wikipedia
Speaking of Scotland, my favorite book by Walter Scott is Guy Mannering, which is set in Galloway. It's typical Scott fluff, but is a more enjoyable read than either Ivanhoe or Waverley, mostly due to the supporting characters, including gypsy Meg Merrilies and jolly farmer Dandie Dinmont, who was so popular a dog breed was named after him.
Guy Mannering is the ideal book for a dreary, gray Sunday afternoon in February. Put another log on the fire, put the kettle on the hob, cover up with a (tartan) blanket and be wonderfully entertained.
Public-domain photo from Wikipedia