Here is a basic barm bread recipe for you to use with your home-made potato barm.
I am still experimenting with recipes other than loaves of bread, and will hopefully be able to post some other uses in due course, but in the meantime, I present to you a basic recipe, and some suggestions of how you can use it to adapt to what you have to hand. If you have multiple loaf tins, feel free to double or even triple this recipe.
Both breads on this page, and the two white loaves on the previous page, were made according to this recipe. The above image is a cross-section of a loaf made with Stoneground Wholemeal Flour. The image below is from a loaf made with Stoneground Wholemeal Flour and Buckwheat Flour in a 50:50 ratio.
Simple Barm Bread
350g bread flour(s)
150ml room-temperature barm¹
150ml warm water
- Mix 50g of the flour with the barm and the warm water. Set aside to work for 30 minutes. This is not strictly necessary with fresh barm, as it is full of life, but it is good to get into the habit for the future, be it weeks or months later, in order to check whether your barm is still lively. If there are no bubbles visible after 30 minutes, you can try and jump-start it by stirring in 1tsp brown sugar and waiting another 15 minutes.
- When bubbles are visible, add the rest of the flour and the salt and mix thoroughly. Knead by hand for 10 minutes. If you’re using a mixer and a dough hook, set it to the lowest possible speed for 10 minutes, then the highest speed for two minutes. You want the dough to be elastic, but probably a little more moist than regular dough – the long rise time is very drying and if the dough is too stiff to begin with, it will restrict the rise.
- Grease a large loaf tin well.
- Tip out the dough and knead it into a loaf shape. I usually pat it flat(ish), then fold the ends in, then the sides in, then turn it over so the seal is on the bottom.
- Lay the dough in your loaf tin. Brush the top of the dough lightly with a little oil or spray with water and/or scatter flour over the surface. This will help keep the dough from drying out.
- If you have a plastic bag large enough, you could put your tin inside and ‘inflate’ it around the loaf to keep off any drafts. I usually just put it in the oven.
- Set aside to rise. The rising time will depend on the age of the barm, the type of flour used and the temperature of the room.
- I recently made white bread with a fresh batch of barm, and it took 5½ hours to rise during the day (warmer).
- Stoneground wholemeal flour bread with some month-old barm took 10 hours overnight (cooler).
- Enriched (with sugar and butter) dough with fresh barm (for hot cross buns) 9 hours overnight.
- When the dough has risen sufficiently,² bake in a hot oven, 200°C, 180°C Fan for 50 minutes, turning the loaf around half way through the baking time to even the colouring.
- For an extra crispy crust, remove the loaf from the tin and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes before cooling on a wire rack.
¹ Be sure to shake/whisk your barm up well before taking your measure out.
² This should be when it has doubled in size. For this amount of flour, in a large loaf tin, it will be when the dough almost ¾ fills the tin. The last bit of rise should be in reaction to the heat of the oven (oven spring). Don’t worry if you mis-judge it and let it go a little too long, bake the loaf anyway – it will be delicious, just with a rather flattened top.