Barley Bread

BY Jennifer McGruther TIMEJuly 21, 2022 PRINT

During World War I, much of the wheat crop grown in the United States was sent to Europe, both to provide nourishment for soldiers and to satisfy the hunger of Allied civilians who faced starvation after years of war. Accordingly, this created a shortage on the homefront, and the State Council of Defense encouraged homemakers to minimize their usage of wheat.

This Barley Bread is inspired by the mildly sweet quick bread recipes in “What to Eat and How to Cook It,” a 1918 government-issued cookbook on wartime cooking.

Makes 1 loaf

  • 2 cups barley flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons dark maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Line a 1-pound loaf pan with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk the barley flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon to combine. Beat in the butter, honey, milk, and egg until well combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, then drizzle the maple syrup over the batter, and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts.

Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Jennifer McGruther, NTP, is a nutritional therapy practitioner, herbalist, and the author of three cookbooks, including “Vibrant Botanicals.” She’s also the creator of, a website that celebrates traditional foodways, herbal remedies, and fermentation. She teaches workshops on natural foods and herbalism, and currently lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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