I just got some hulled purple barley and with Suzanne's recommendation I am using 3 c. of water to 1 c. barley. I am soaking the grain in water. Next I will fry it--that's all the water it gets, sorry, barley. There's got to be some way to make it into a slightly chewy pilaf kind of thing instead of something that sucks all the water out of your preparation. I hope.
I wanted to make just plain cooked barley without it being in a broth, and, I changed my plan since the barley didn't soak up all the liquid. I wanted to see if I could make it without onion and all.
It is a success. I have cooked barley that is a little chewy and cooked just right, 1 c. barley with 3 cups water and 1 T.olive oil, and not sticking together either. Not gummy at all. I soaked the grain in water over about 32 hours, and I think one night would have done just as well because it hardly soaked up anything.
I used an electric skillet. I started it out at a 250 degree (F) setting, then after it started boiling I reduced it to about 200 and let it simmer about 55 minutes. During this time the heat cycled on and off, occasionally boiling for a minute and then turning off for a couple. I picked up the skillet and rocked it around to kind of stir it, once in a while. I turned up the heat at the end to evaporate the little bit of excess water.
Next time I want it just a little wetter. It's a little too chewy, but just a little. I will leave it at the 200 setting for longer, instead of turning up the heat to evaporate the water after 55 min.