Buttermilk Barley Biscuits

When Bryan and I decided to move to Oak Park, we were moving further away from our friends. It was the one part of the decision to leave our old neighborhood that we were agonizing over. For anyone not familiar with Chicago’s geography, Oak Park is the first town directly west of the city center. It is still connected by the same public transportation and the Sears Tower (I reject its new name) is a major part of the view from our apartment. Think of it as a Manhattanite moving to Brooklyn. Or Hoboken? The point being, we could easily have moved somewhere else within the city limits and been much further away from our old neighborhood and friends. But still, we worried. Ultimately we decided to go for it, and honestly have never found the extra 20 minutes of a commute to be a problem, and we love our new community.

But it has affected us is some positive ways.

We have friends over for brunch a lot more often than in the past. It is easier for friends without cars to get to and from our place during the day. Consequently, I am developing my brunch repertoire and have been discovering that I really enjoy cooking brunch foods (and not just because it provides an excuse for coffee cake!). It can be a lazy meal, followed by a walk about town. We love it, our friends love it. Good deal.

I’ve talked about The Breakfast Book here before, and many bloggers have sung the praises of this small morning encyclopedia. It has become an important inspiration for my brunch making. These simple buttermilk barley biscuits demonstrate why the book is so awesome. They are whipped up in a flash and are delicious smeared with some cream cheese and jam.

If you don’t already own The Breakfast Book, there are few books I would recommend more highly. Literally every single recipe I have tried from it has been delicious. Marion Cunningham is a real treasure.

These biscuits freeze pretty well. I defrost them in the toaster. They are much flatter than most biscuits, and all the more charming and tasty for their lack of height. No need to split them open, just slather your jam on top. These are the perfect compliment to whatever you’re making for breakfast.

Buttermilk Barley Biscuits (from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham)

  • 1 1/4 cups barley flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.

Put the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir with a fork to mix it well. Stir in the buttermilk and beat briskly until mixed and smooth. Add the melted butter and blend well.

Dust a board with flour and turn the dough onto the board. Pat the dough out to about 1/4-1/3-inch thick. Use a 2-inch cutter to cut out the biscuits. Prick each biscuit 2 or 3 times on the top with the tines of a fork. Place the biscuits 1/2-inch or so apart on baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden. Serve warm, ideally with some soft cream cheese and jam.

18 comments to “Buttermilk Barley Biscuits”

  1. Lovely post, as always, and these biscuits look scrumptious. Also, brunch parties are delightful. Good for you for hosting!

  2. I love barley flour. In Greece we use it all the time for bread and dried rusks.
    I will give these cookies a try. They sound good!

  3. These would probably make good strawberry (or other berry) shortcakes as well. Might try that for my next dinner party, or what the heck, for brunch!

  4. …Very intriguing and must try! I will also have to check into this book, I love the thought of a cook book devoted to strictly breakfast/brunch oriented foods. :o)

    …Thank you for sharing and bravo to you for being the perfect host! ;o)


  5. Oh these sound so very good. Biscuits? Check. Now on perfecting a brunch cocktail…

  6. Back in the old days when The Breakfast Book was published and I was poor, I used to check it out from the public library, bring it back after two weeks and recheck it this way time and time again, as if the book belonged only to me. Now, one of my prized possessions is my signed first edition! Times do change.

    This is my favorite cookbook of all time. As you mentioned, Tim, I’ve blogged about it too! I admit though, that I’ve never made these biscuits. Time to change that next Sunday morning!

  7. These biscuits sound delicious and very easily to make! Need to try this and the sugar snap salad, though not together!

  8. Tim, my past few months have entailed a love affair with barley flour and I have never heard of these biscuits. Thanks for showcasing them. I also happen to have eight (!!) new flavors of jam that I made in the last three weeks. I’m thinking either the wild sour plum or a perfect simple apricot preserve would taste delicious on these.

  9. These are gorgeous, and sound like the perfect thing for me to spread all this homemade jam I’ve been making on!

  10. Wauw! I simply must buy The breakfast Book….but until then, these biscuits could help me through :-) I am constantly on the lookout for recipes using barley flour (you might want to give this recipe af try: http://nami-nami.blogspot.com/2011/03/estonian-soda-bread-recipe.html – it’s from the estonian foodblogger Pille Petersoo and is delicious) – it has such an interesting flavour, and even though barley used to be a common crop in Denmark, it somehow is not a part of the current cooking repertoire, only as italian inspired pearl barley. But then, our dark rye bread is always, has always been and will always be our culinary holy grail ;-)

  11. Tim, these biscuits look awesome. I wonder if oat flour could also be used for this.

  12. You know, I’ve never been much of a brunch food person (brunch-ette?) before, but lately I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve been missing out this whole time. Who am I to ignore such a magical merging of breakfast and lunch foods?! These biscuits look wonderful! I love that they’re so flat, and high five for coffee cake love.

  13. These look yummy! And (as a Frank Lloyd Wright fan) Oak Park is one of my favorite places!

  14. I’ve never given barley flour much thought (in fact I never knew it existed). I do love brunch with friends and biscuits, so it looks like a win. I’m going to look for the book too. Looks great.

  15. I love brunch, love your photos and the recipe. Very inspiring, thank you.

  16. So pretty. I need me one of these.

  17. Hmmmm. These look familiar….When are we doing it again?!

  18. Kate Turner says:

    March 16th, 2014 at 11:46 am

    I made these today and they were awesome!! They tasted light and had a great flavor. I ate them with cream cheese/jelly (as recommended).I also tried them with butter and then with just honey. They were wonderful each way.

What do you think?