The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.


wassisname's picture


I finally got a chance to answer Karin’s latest challenge.  It was a good one and left me with a good loaf of bread, too!


Trying to come up with a loaf that would reflect the history of it all was a little too daunting, so I asked myself what sort of bread I would serve to the iron handed knight now.  What kind of loaf would I bake if he was standing in my kitchen?  (Any kind he wants!!)  Something with flavors of home but maybe a little more modern in style.  It didn’t take long to decide on a combination of barley, oats and flaxseeds in a medium-wholegrain sort of wheat dough.  It sounded good to me, anyway!  This loaf was baked as one large round.  I think I’ll split it next time, but for this bake the big round seemed appropriate.  The method was a little harder to decide on.  My first thought was good, old-fashioned hand kneading, but the man inspiring the bread is clearly no stranger to a little mechanical assistance, so I let the mixer do the work.


The result was as good as I could have hoped for.  The crumb was surprisingly light and soft and the flavor complex, though distinctly sour.  I prefermented quite a bit of the flour without really thinking it through.  I think it worked well against the other flavors, but for non-sour lovers it would probably be a bit much and the amount of leaven should definitely be reduced.  Barley flakes in place of the barley meal would be another change worth trying.  I think I would have opted for that from the start if I had had any barley flakes. 

All in all a worthy bread, I think, one I will be baking again.  I got a good response from everyone who tried it so I’ll make plenty for sharing.  If anyone doesn’t like it?  Well… thanks to Götz, now I know just what to say! :)





CAphyl's picture

Marcus:   I can see why you are pleased.  These loaves look fantastic with nice crumb and scoring. Thanks for the wonderful and clear instructions as well.  Another one for my list! Question:  If I don't have barley meal, what is your suggestion for a substitute? I also think I might cut the recipe in half, as that is a lot of bread! Thanks for sharing.  Best, Phyllis

wassisname's picture

Thanks so much Phyllis!  For such a big loaf it disappeared in a hurry, I was lucky enough to have some extra tasters around.  As for a barley substitute… if nothing else I think just increasing the oats (maybe steelcut) and flaxseed would make for a nice loaf, well maybe not too much extra flax, because the flavor would start to take over.  Otherwise, something mild like spelt flakes or coarse ground farro (I think I’ve seen it sold as a cereal) would work.  Really, anything could be good, you just end up with a different bread – never really a bad thing in my book!

108 breads's picture
108 breads

I literally was just thinking that the second half of my 108 breads project needs to go into the unexplored territory (for me) of the very grains in your recipe. I am printing out the recipe. Thanks so much for sharing

Okay, a perhaps stupid question. I assume that the 350g of boiling water for the soaker was weighed prior to boiling. I have not done a soaker yet.

wassisname's picture

Thank you, it is a nice combination.  I had used all of these things before, just never quite like this and I was pleasantly surprised.  Just keep in mind that barley flour is pretty destructive to bread structure, coarse barley much less so.  I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

A good question about the water, actually, I should have given a little more detail there.  The water was already boiling when it was weighed.  The bowl was on the scale when I poured the boiling water over the grains and the lid went on as soon as the water was stirred in, so evaporation was minimal.  I probably could have gotten away with cold water in the soaker, as the barley wasn’t super-coarse, but I decided to play it safe.

Kiseger's picture

Looks fabulous, great idea with the barley flakes.  Question: what is sifted wheat flour?  Just whole wheat, so high-extraction through sifting?  Love your last line, genius and very apt!  This has got to be delicious and I really love the scoring.  

pmccool's picture

Visually appealing and no doubt flavorful, too.


wassisname's picture

Thanks, Paul. I confess I kept the lumpy part of the loaf out of the crust pic, but the flavor is completely honest!

wassisname's picture

Thank you, Kiseger!  This one was popular with kids, dogs... everyone. 

Yes, the sifted flour is basically high extraction whole wheat.  I ground and sifted it myself, and since that isn't a very precise process I think of it just as sifted and maybe or maybe not quite the same as a commercial high-extraction flour.  The original idea was to use all sifted flour but I didn't grind enough whole wheat and was too lazy to grind more.

As for Goetz's famous quote, being from a German family I was familiar with the phrase, but it wasn't one I could get away with using around the house.  But now that I know of it's deep historical and cultural significance?  Well, that practically makes it respectable, doesn't it?  OK maybe not.  I'll just remember to duck after I say it. :)

dabrownman's picture

which is good for such a large loaf needing to be devoured by a hoard of knights - or even days :-)  Love the scoring and that crumb reminds me of so many of Lucy's recipes.......I bet even Josh would be confused.    Goetz never had it so good and he would never use that famous phrase, that seems so quaint today, in your house after having a mice dark brew and few slices of your bread with some cheese and fruit .  Well Done and

Happuy Baking.

wassisname's picture

Well, I could never match Lucy's creative prowess, but if I'm even in the ballpark it must have been a good bake.  Thanks, dabrownman!

hanseata's picture

Great combination, Marcus! I love barley in bread, made Farine's Barley Loaf several times, and used some in my Götzenbrot version, too.

The old knight would have never guessed that he would inspire a bunch of bakers centuries later.

That brings the number of breads up to 17 (with mine: 18), and more are promised.

Very excited,


wassisname's picture

I'll try that again...  Barley and oats are my favorite "sleeper" ingredients - quite in their presence but always crowd favorites.  Thanks again for firing our imaginations!

Isand66's picture

Great bake Marcus...glad you could join the fun.  I like the look of this one and have bookmarked it to try one of these days.


wassisname's picture

These challenges are kind of a relief.  It's always hard deciding what to bake so being pointed in a direction is welcome bit of help.  I do hope you get a chance to tinker with it, it's a fun one, and thanks, Ian!

WoodenSpoon's picture

I will be making mine sooner rather then later!

wassisname's picture

Thanks, WoodenSpoon!  I think you would like this one.  I bet this would work well as a beer bread, too, if you were in that sort of a mood.  I might just try that next time.

Mebake's picture

This bread is so fitting for a warrior's court. I've mixed a dough with quite similar ratio of ingredients, but my father's death sent the dough to the fridge. I tossed it later, as I had been away for over a week.

Lovely crust and crumb. Nice presented too, Marcus!


wassisname's picture

 I am so sorry to hear about your father, Khalid.  Thank you for the kind words.