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For places in Iran, see Barm, Iran.

Barm is the foam, or scum, formed on the top of liquor – fermented alcoholic beverages such as beer or wine,[1] or feedstock for hard liquor or industrial ethanol distillation – when fermenting. It was used to leaven bread, or set up fermentation in a new batch of liquor. Barm, as a leaven, has also been made from ground millet combined with must out of wine-tubs[2] and is sometimes used in English baking as a synonym for a natural leaven.[3] Various cultures derived from barm, usually Saccharomyces cerevisiae, became ancestral to most forms of brewer's yeast and baker's yeast currently on the market.

Other uses[edit]

In parts of North West England and Yorkshire, a barm or barm cake is a common term for a soft, floury bread roll: menus in chip shops offer chip barms consisting of chips in a bread roll, these are also known as "chip butties" in some areas. Other areas describe an identical roll as a "bap", "bread bun", "bread cake","batch" or "blaa". It is applied equally to yeast-leavened bread, without implying the use of sourdough or barm leavens.

In Ireland, barm is used in the traditional production of barmbrack, a fruited bread.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Barm". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 407. 
  2. ^ Botham's of Whitby. "The story behind a loaf of bread". 
  3. ^ Reinhart, Peter (1998). Crust and Crumb. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press. ISBN 1-58008-802-3.  Reinhart derived the term from his training under Monica Spiller.