Beremeal from Barony Mill, Birsay, Orkney
I love baking, it’s my favourite way to de-stress as well as putting home-made treats on the family tea time table; and, as well as baking, I am very keen to try new (or in this case, ancient) ingredients in my test kitchen – it stems from my very nomadic life, from South Africa, Hong Kong, Germany, Cyprus and France to Northumberland, Hampshire, Cornwall and North Yorkshire, with many more far-flung and closer to home places in-between, I am an avid collector of recipes and ingredients that I’ve not made or used before. Beremeal is a new ingredient to me, but this ancient grain is not that new, it has been grown on Shetland and the Orkney Isles (and in Wales) for thousands of years, and has provided nourishment and enjoyment for the islanders through baking and brewing.
Bere, (pronounced “bear”) also called Bygg, from the Norse word for barley, and is a “six-row” barley which was grown by crofters on most of the Scottish Western Isles, and is currently available as flour, (Beremeal) being milled by Barony Mill in Birsay, Orkney. It was thought to have been brought to Britain by the Vikings during the 8th Century, and was the staff of life for all the islanders, providing bread, bannocks and beer to sustain them throughout the centuries. The lovely people at Barony Mill, who saw my article about Beremeal and Orkney Pancakes, very kindly sent me some of their Beremeal to create, make and bake some new recipes. Thus far, I have made some beautiful Beremeal Baps and today’s recipe for Beremeal Parsley Scones with Seaweed Salt & Black Pepper.
My recipe for Beremeal Parsley Scones with Seaweed Salt & Black Pepper, which is shared below, was a huge success, and contains 100% Beremeal in the recipe, which means for people on a wheat-free diet, these are the perfect alternative to normal scones. (Beremeal does contain some gluten however, and is not suitable for those who suffer from celiac disease) The addition of some home-made seaweed salt, with home-grown parsley and cracked black pepper puts these humble scones into the gourmet range of home-baking, and they are delicious when served warm from the oven, with butter and cheese. I am also planning to make another batch of these scones very soon to accompany home-made soup or stew.
You can buy Beremeal with ease (on-line) if you wish to replicate any of the recipes I am and will be sharing, Real Foods sell it here: Real Foods Beremeal, it comes in a wide variety of weights from 100g to 6kg, so you can start off with a small amount to get the hang of baking with it, as it is very different from wheat based flours. It has a nutty and almost earthy flavour, and when using it in baking recipes with no other types of wheat flours added, it needs a little help with the rise, so, in this recipe for 100% Beremeal scones, I added an egg, baking powder and cream of tartar to help the scones rise and give them a lighter texture.
The recipe for my scones is shared below, and I hope you are all tempted to try them, with Beremeal of course, and with some seaweed salt too! I will be sharing the method for making your own seaweed salt in a few weeks time, but you can also buy it on-line and of course, normal sea salt flakes are also perfect in this recipe too. See you soon with more tales from Canada, as well as some new Easter recipes, Karen
Disclaimer: I was sent some Beremeal from Barony Mill, a limited edition tea towel and some new branded packaging to use and create new recipes. I was not paid to share my findings and recipes here, nor was I asked to publish them, but I chose to share them as I love Beremeal as an ingredient and wanted to share it with my readers.