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Did I make something or did I just spoil my barley?

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Alright, it might be a bit of a stretch to call this cooking in any way, and thus worthy of inclusion on this board -- but it did happen at home and I figured this board is where the relevant experts are:

I fermented some barley in water by accident. (To make a long story short, I had it soaking, got sent out of town for work unexpectedly, and left it for two days.) I just got home and discovered it with all this foam on top and exuding a strong smell of -- well, fermentation. Am I on my way to making beer or anything else delicious? Could I wash the barley and make soup with it like I was planning to, originally? Or has the barley gone entirely bad (the Miami, spring break version)?

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  1. Make the soup. It will be even better than before. The batch of beer would be too small and too much work, albeit good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

      Thanks, Sam. The beer recipes I looked at all involve heat at the outset. Can you can really make beer by soaking raw barley?

      1. re: cimui

        People all over the world make beer from different grains. Seems to involve initial cooking and then, often, chewing some of it and spitting it back into the container. Had a friend here who made beer--that didn't involve spit. He had a kit from the US with some equipment to monitor satisfactory fermentation.

    2. Barley is one of the great (and most ancient) grains for making beer. Unfortunately it involves a bit more than soaking the barley. Google "barley beer" and see what you come up with. As for using your already fermenting barley, I would try cooking a tablespoon or so and tasting it. It might still be good, it might have gone over the edge and soured. Testing is the only way to find out without risking that the larger amount of ingredients will become disposal food. Good luck!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Caroline1

        The barley would have to be malted (sprouted then toasted) before you can make beer.

        You can make very good bread with sprouted grains.

      2. Thanks for your help, everyone.

        I ended up making a sweet oatmeal-like cereal with the barley, which does have that slightly sour, fermented taste. It reminds me just a wee bit of a mildly alcoholic Chinese dessert soup my mother used to make, so it's not altogether bad -- though I'm not sure I'd repeat the experiment on purpose.