Pearls before swine
February 22, 2008 11:12 AM   Subscribe

Hulled barley: how long should it take to cook?

The internets have failed me. Every recipe is for pearled barley, but I've got the chewy whole grain kind. How long should it take to cook, either on the stove or in the slow cooker? Should I use broth or water? and how much liquid to 1 c barley? It's been soaking for about 5 hours now. Bonus points for a barley-mushroom soup recipe using hulled barley, though I can probably improvise that based on the Zingerman's version. Extra special double points for good websites and/or cookbooks for cooking with whole grains.
posted by libraryhead to Food & Drink (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Funny, I was reading about cooking barely earlier this week. You may have had problems searching for a method to cook them because the whole-grain variety of barley is typically called hull-less barley (sounds like the opposite of what it actually is). There's this page that has a pretty basic whole-barley cooking instruction Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add 1 cup hulled barley. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until done.

In the first linked article, the author suggests cooking barley in a rice cooker (1 part hull-less barley to 4 parts water) which seems like the easiest cooking solution.
posted by zippity at 11:56 AM on February 22, 2008

Yum yum barley! The longer you cook it, the softer it'll get, and I like it pretty firm. For steaming, it's 1 cup barley to 3 cups water or broth. I would definitely use some veggie boullion and pepper for preparing hulled barley straight as a side. to the rescue!

Looks like most internet wild mushroom and barley soups are beef based, but here's one that's vegetarian, to boot! I have a Costco sized jar of dried mushrooms and this is going straight to the top of my to-try list.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:56 AM on February 22, 2008

Response by poster: The hulled barley report: I decided to parcook first in water. After soaking for 6 hours, it only took 45 minutes' simmer to get to an edible, if chewy, state. An additional hour in the soup and the grains were perfect, not mushy at all. A perfect dinner for a snowy day.
posted by libraryhead at 3:46 PM on February 22, 2008

Just don't let it get too mushy. I prefer when it has a bit of bite to it. Slightly chewy is best.
posted by HotPatatta at 6:03 PM on February 22, 2008

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