Hulled Vs. Hull-less Barley

Readers of this blog know I make a loaf of sprouted wheat bread every week. It’s made from whole wheat, whole barley, and a little salt. That’s all. (Here’s the recipe, with photos.)

I recently lost my source for the barley I use, which is a hulled barley, not pearled barley. I need the grain to contain the germ so it will sprout. I looked around online and found these two from The Grain Place, one is hulled and the other is something I’m unfamiliar with, eBarley which is a “hull-less” grain.

Here’s how The Grain Place describes them:

Hulled Barley: Hulled barley has only the outer husk removed, and is thus more nutritious than pearled barley, which has husk, bran and germ removed.

Ancient Grain eBarley: eBarley or Ethiopian Barley is a hull-less ancient grain barley. The difference between hulled and hull-less barley starts in the field. Hulled barley or “covered barley” has a hull that adheres to the grain. Hull-less barley or “naked barley” has an outer hull that’s loosely attached to the kernel so it generally falls off during harvesting. This form of barley likely has slightly higher fiber content because it requires less processing.

And here’s what happened when I tested their sproutability.  The dry grains are at the bottom, and the sprouts are above them in bowls:

This was after one day soaking and about 36 hours of sprouting. You can see that the eBarley took off, similar to how my wheat looks after this time. The hulled barley was a dud. It looks like it tried to sprout but stopped. It could have been old. Maybe it would have sprouted if given more time, but I need the wheat and barley to sprout together since I mix them at the beginning.

I made my first loaf with the eBarley today. It needs a few days to condition. I’m excited to see how it tastes. If it works out, The Grain Place will have me as a customer for a while.

6 thoughts on “Hulled Vs. Hull-less Barley

  1. Christian Evans

    Good morning Fanatic Cook!
    We ran across your blog entry recently and I wanted to first say, great site! Second, say thank you for mentioning us. And third, let you know why the Hulled Barley probably won’t work for sprouting – at least not reliably.
    Because the hull of the barley has to be ground off to remove it (for Hulled Barley), the germ usually gets damaged preventing sprout.
    The ebarley has a hull that falls off easily, isn’t damaged in the “processing”/cleaning of it and will therefore get you the sprouting results you desire.
    By the way, how did it taste??!!

    Hope that helps and keep up the great work!

    Reply
    1. Bix Post author

      Hi Christian Evans. Thank you for stopping by!

      Your eBarley is unlike any barley I’ve used in this bread. I’ve been making it for about 4 years now, every week, and the only barley that sprouts reliably and with gusto is eBarley. You should use it as a selling feature, especially since so many people sprout their grains these days. (The breads I made with it were a bit sweeter and maltier, some of my best.)

      Thank you for a great product!

      Reply
  2. Sarah Oliveira

    A very interesting article. I am researching uses for hulless barley. We grow it here in Alberta and I am researching potential use for it. Do you know if the market is very big for sprouted grains?

    Reply
    1. Bix Post author

      I don’t really have my thumb on the pulse but I’d say sprouted grains are more popular today than 5 or 10 years ago.

      Reply
  3. Sudney

    Hi Fanatic cook, I recently learned that barley had a very low glycemic index and therefore is good for diabetics who can’t eat wheat and other flours. In fact hull-less barley is even lower than pearled. So, I’m going to try it as a breakfast cereal, as well as in soups, and substituting for rice.
    Check out David Mendosa’s site and you can learn more about it.
    Me, I’d love nothing more than a bread made from it that doesn’t send my glucose level spiking up.

    Reply
    1. Bix Post author

      Hi Sudney,

      I used to make a breakfast cereal with hull-less barley. I should get back into it, chewey and nutty. Hope you like it. It take a while to cook!

      Reply

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