It’s likely not Ontario that comes to mind when you think of fields of barley blowing in the breeze. That’s for a good reason–the vast majority of barley comes from Canada’s Prairies.
There are, however, some doggedly determined farmers growing barley in our fair province, and they’re evangelical about raising barley up from its status as a second cousin to more industrialized crops like corn, soy and wheat.
Mark Hayhoe from K2 Milling comes by artisinal milling naturally. His family owned and ran a mill in 1935. Today Mark operates his mill in Tottenham where he makes a point of growing barley to include in his multigrain and barley flours.
Mark believes barley is a misunderstood grain (“it’s barley understood” in his words) and its attributes not well understood.
The fact is that barley is a very low GI food. That means it doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels when you eat it, and it releases sugars into the body much more slowly than say white flour. In fact farmer Mark suggests that Nabisco would be wise to use barley flour in Oreo Cookies since the darker colour wouldn’t be evident and it would greatly slow down the release of sugars in the cookie.
Well guess what Mark, I happened to stumble upon a vegan Oreo Cookie cake loaded with barley flour. Also, Newman’s Own’s version of Oreo cookies called Newman O’s has organic barley flour as the primary ingredient.
But Mark’s favourite barley application is pancakes. And he’s not alone. Many people prefer barley flour for pancakes because they are lighter and slightly nutty. Many have experimented to create the perfect barley flour pancake. In fact, Toronto’s Crepes a Go Go gets high praise for its crepes made with the good stuff.
Blogger The Messy Apron seems to have perfected the barley pancake by including orange juice and vanilla in her recipe. I’ll be giving it a try this weekend. I’ll let you know how it goes.
In the meantime, you can get K2 Milling Multigrain and Barley flours at a number of great independent shops including The 100 Mile Store in Creemore and at K2 Milling’s on farm store.