Fermented Barley Soup

There are so many benefits to fermented grains. Wanna know more? Read further!


Grains, exactly like veggies, benefit a ton from fermentation. Fermented grains are more easily digested than unfermented ones, contain more nutrients, and the process adds an extra taste. Fermentation also helps to reduce the anti-nutrients and breaks down complex carbs and starches. This has the effect of a pre-digestion.

Another advantage of soaking (which is a necessary condition for fermentation of grains) is that the cooking time is considerably reduced. A soaked grain is almost tender already before cooking.

Fermenting cereals can appear difficult, but it is absolutely not! And there’s not a risk to fail. You just need to soak them in water for 12-24 hours and wait. That’s it!
After one day you will see some bubbles rising from time to time and a froth on the water surface. The water will taste slightly acidic. At this point, you can already use the grains or decide to wait one more day for an ideal result.

You can choose to use the sour water to cook your recipe or not. In this version of barley soup, I discarded some of the acidic water. Feel free to use only fresh water for a milder flavor, or the fermentation water according to your preference.

I decided to use soy milk for this recipe and dared to use wine as well. I was not really sure about the result but it turned out to be a great combination. The wine adds some flavor and the soy milk makes it deliciously creamy.


My veggies of choice are here carrots, leek, and broccoli. Other options might be onions, cauliflower, spinach, kale during the cold season, otherwise zucchini, green beans, or peas.


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5 from 1 vote

Fermented Barley Soup

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
soaking time1 day
Total Time2 days
Course: Main Course, Soup
Keyword: barley, fall, fermented, winter
Servings: 4 people


  • 1 cup barley
  • 1 carrot, grated or finely chopped
  • 1/2 leek, finely cut
  • 1/2 broccoli, in really small chunks
  • 100 g smoked tofu, in small chunks
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 cup white wine
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • dill and rosemary or thymian


Soaking & Fermenting

  • Cover the barley grains with about 2 cups of water and let them soak for 2 days (or even after one day). The longer you wait, the sourer the result. When you'll see some bubbles and a froth appear it means the fermentation happened.


  • Heat some (olive) oil, add the veggies, and then the barley grains and the chopped tofu. Stir for a couple of minutes. Douse with white wine and when the wine is almost gone, add the soy milk and keep stirring for one or two minutes.
    Add hot water according to your preference: the soup can be thick and nutritious by adding very little water but you can add more liquid for a lighter version. NOTE: You can decide to use all of the fermentation water, part of it, or non at all. The fermentation water is acidic so if you prefer a mild soup, use fresh water. (I like to use a combination of both for a slightly sour taste).
    Add salt & pepper and the herbs.
    Cook for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the veggies and the grains are tender.
    Serve and enjoy!


  1. 5 stars
    I absolutely loved this recipe! I’m a huge fan of fermenting grains, and always leave my breakfast porridge to soak for at least 36 hours. I let the barley sit for a full two days and it was perfect. Sour, tangy, but never bitter. I did add some nutritional yeast and used white wine vinegar in lieu of the white wine (at a much small portion). I didn’t add any water other than what the barley soaked in, and it had a porridge like consistency. I might try the recipe again replacing the soy milk with vegetable broth to make a thinner/broth-ier soup. Thank you for the recipe!

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