If you’re like me, and you love to bake, you’re not going to stop doing it just because you’re trying to be healthier. There is a great solution for this: bake with whole-grain flours.
I take two approaches to incorporating whole grain flours into my recipes. Either I use a tested recipe from a cookbook, or I add a little buckwheat flour here, a little barley flour there. I only recommend the second approach if you know the gluten content of the flour you’re using. This can wreak havoc with the structure and chemistry of a cake, and since baking is just a delicious, heavenly-scented form of chemistry, one needs to be careful with gluten-modification.
Good to the Grain is a great cookbook for those who want direction when starting to bake with whole-grain flours. Try this Strawberry Barley Scones recipe for an introduction to barley, a flour with a nutty, creamy flavor. Try your favorite jam, I have enjoyed many different flavors with this slightly sweet, delicious scone.
Servings: Makes 8 Scones
1 cup plus 2 tbsp barley flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 oz (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Strawberry Jam(or any flavor you want)
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp sugar
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Rub a baking sheet lightly with butter. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.
2. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch pieces and add them to the dry mixture. Use your hands to rub the butter between your fingers, breaking it into smaller bits. Continue rubbing until the butter is in sizes ranging from rice grains to flattened peas. The more quickly you do this, the more the butter will stay solid, which is important for the success of the recipe.
3. n a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg until thoroughly combined. Scrape the buttermilk and egg into the dry mixture, and mix until barely combined.
4. Use a pastry scraper or a spatula to transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface. The dough may be too sticky to handle; if it is, dust it with flour and fold it together a few times. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Flour your hands and pat each piece of dough into a disk about 3/4-inch thick and 7-inches in diameter.
5. Cover one disk with the jam. Top the spread with the other disk and press down gently so that the dough settles into the jam. Brush the dough lightly with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.Â Use a sharp knife to slice the circle into 8 triangular wedges, like a pie. Carefully place the wedges on the baking sheet, leaving a few inches between them.
6. Bake the scones for 22 to 26 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. The scones are ready when their tops are golden brown and some of the jam has bubbled over onto the pan. To keep the scones from sticking to the pan, slide a thin spatula underneath them while they’re still warm and move them to a baking rack. The scones are best eaten warm from the oven or later that same day.
Serve with whole grain bread.
Marcus ‘Joar’ Samuelsson is an Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised chef and restaurateur who lives in Harlem, New York with his wife.