I know I was going to do ale barm bread, but a friend of mine gave me some mead barm at Tir Righ Arts and Sciences back in October. I decided to use that… in November… yeah, this post’s been on the back burner a while.
Mead barm is easy to keep alive, just add honey and water and it will keep growing for a long time. I made three batches of it. I just used my basic medieval bread recipe and used the mead barm instead of the yeast. Because of this I didn’t need to add as much water to make it similar, but more on that in a moment.
First, mead barm does not have as much leavening power as modern bread yeast. Not a big surprise there. I treated it like sourdough and didn’t punch down the dough, as I figured it wouldn’t have a second rise. My first attempt turned out rather flat. I suspect this was because the bread stuck to the bowl it was rising in, and because of that when I took it out I killed a lot of the leaven. Mead barm does not create a very strong leaven. I suspect one of the issues was that there was a very low yeast to liquid content in the barm. I’ll have to try to fix that when I do ale barm.