What Is Barley Flour? (What Is It Made Of, What’s It For, Substitutes + More) 

Normally, wheat flour is used to make most recipes that require flour, but other alternatives to wheat flour are popularly used as well, such as barley flour.

If you have never tried barley flour before, you may be curious as to what barley flour is. I did some research, and here is what I discovered!

What Is Barley Flour?

Barley flour is flour made from ground whole barley grain, and barley flour tastes somewhat mild with a bit of a nutty flavor. Barley flour can be used to create flatbread, baked goods, and more. Despite barley flour not being wheat flour, barley flour does contain a small amount of gluten that can cause reactions in celiacs.

Do you want to learn what barley flour tastes like, how to make barley flour, and what substitutes you can use for barley flour? Keep reading!

What Is Barley Flour Made Of?

Generally, barley flour is created from ground whole barley grain.

What Does Barley Flour Taste Like?

Normally, barley flour is a generally mild-tasting flour with a neutral flavor, but you may notice slight nuttiness to it.

What Is Barley Flour Used For?

Typically, barley flour is used to create flatbread since barley flour does not contain as much gluten as wheat, allowing the bread to have a little volume but not rise that much.

Additionally, many infant food recipes you will find online or prepared infant food contain barley flour instead of wheat flour.

Normally, barley flour may be used with wheat flour or instead of wheat flour for bread to increase the moisture and offer a texture similar to cake.

Moreover, barley flour can also be used in the kitchen as a thickener to thicken stews, sauces, and gravies.

Does Barley Flour Rise?

Barley flour does not help the dough rise much because barley flour does not contain enough gluten to create a significant rise in most dough recipes.

For instance, barley flour usually has 5-8% gluten whereas gluten-rich flour has 10-15% gluten, so you would need flour that has at least 10% gluten to rise.

How Do I Make Barley Flour?

How Do I Make Barley Flour?

While you can buy barley flour at most supermarkets or online, you can opt to make barley flour at home if you only need a small quantity.

If you happen to have barley grain that still contains the husk, you will need to sprout the barley first then immediately dry the barley grain in a dehydrator before grinding.

For instance, starting with hard and dry whole-grain barley needs to be thoroughly rinsed and soaked overnight twice to soften the husk.

You will also want to sprout the barley grain once the husk has been removed by keeping spraying water on the barley grain then tying the barley grain in a cloth.

Generally, you will need to spray the cloth several times a day then soak the grain overnight again to create sprouts.

Once you see sprouts in your barley grain, you will need to dry your barley grain immediately by putting the barley grain into a dehydrator.

If you do not have a dehydrator, you may opt to lay the barley grain on a baking sheet and dry the barley grain in the oven on the lowest setting.

Once your barley grain is ready, you can start grinding small amounts of the barley grain in an electric coffee grinder until the grain resembles a fine flour.

Be sure to sift the barley flour before using it to remove large clumps, and you may grind the clumps again to create more barley flour.

Additionally, you can make larger quantities of barley flour at home, but you will need a milling machine.

Is Barley Flour The Same As Wheat Flour?

Barley flour is not the same as wheat flour because barley flour is made from barley while wheat flour is made from wheat.

Moreover, barley flour and wheat flour have different levels of gluten since barley flour contains around 5-8% of gluten while most types of wheat flour have 10-15% gluten.

Is Barley Flour The Same As White Flour?

Normally, barley flour is not the same as white flour because white flour is often made from wheat flour, and wheat and barley are not the same.

Does Barley Flour Contain Gluten?

Barley flour does contain gluten because barley flour contains 5-8% gluten, which is lower than most wheat flour.

Despite having a lower gluten content than other wheat flour, barley flour is still not ideal for people allergic or sensitive to gluten to consume.

Technically, barley is a cereal grain but people with wheat allergies would often get reactions from barley since barley has gluten.

Can You Substitute Barley Flour For Regular Flour?

You can use barley flour instead of regular flour, but you will need to alter the measurements to create a similar texture.

For instance, ⅓ cup of barley flour instead of regular flour to achieve a tender baked dish because barley flour does not contain as much gluten as regular flour, which is usually wheat flour that is higher in gluten.

What Is The Difference Between Barley Flour And Malted Barley Flour?

Barley flour and malted barley flour are not the same because barley flour is ground whole grain barley while malted barley flour has undergone malting.

Moreover, there are two types of malted barley flour, which are diastatic and non-diastatic, whereas there is only one type of barley flour.

What Is A Substitute For Barley Flour?

Normally, bread flour is a decent substitute for barley flour because they work similarly, but you can expect your dish to rise more from bread flour because bread flour has more gluten than barley flour.

Take a look at our other articles to find out what Manitoba flour is, what masa flour is, and what malted barley flour is.


Barley flour is flour created from ground barley, which can be used to make flatbread, some baked goods, and more.

Despite not being the same as wheat, barley flour does contain low levels of gluten that will not make the dough rise, but barley flour can cause reactions in people who are sensitive and allergic to gluten.

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