The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

buckwheat flour

sweetbird's picture

I was starting to feel morose as I watched my last bread,, dwindle down to nothing, so I knew I had to make another one right away. I adore that bread! I thought it would be fun to try a Buckwheat-Pear variation, and since I needed to pick up some more hard cider, I decided to see if the Woodchuck company in Vermont made a pear hard cider. I was delighted to see that they do. (And not only that, but they also make a raspberry hard cider -!!- so I may be dreaming up some way to try that out.)

I also picked up some organic dried pears, then started my liquid levain that night and baked the next day. I used the same local raspberry honey as I had done in the Buckwheat-Apple loaf.


I followed the same formula, simply substituting the pear hard cider for the apple hard cider and the dried pears for the dried apples. The only thing I changed was to make sure to dice the pears into smaller pieces, as they seemed to have more heft to them than the apples, and I thought large peices might be hard to chew.


Also, I used KA bread flour, which I had neglected to do the last time, and it gave the dough and the final loaf more integrity. Since buckwheat is a very weak flour it needs a boost from stronger flour; the vital wheat gluten is added to this formula for the same reason.

I had an appreciative audience while I worked, my sidekick Bigwig:

The house was filled with the same deeply wonderful aroma of roasting buckwheat when the bread was baking, and the loaf came out looking exactly the same as the other one, not surprisingly. I could hardly wait for it to cool so I could see what the difference would be in the flavor.

As it turned out, the differences were subtle, but definitely noticeable. The pear bread has a more delicate flavor, and slightly more natural sweetness. It's hard to pick a favorite -- I love them both -- but I would probably give the grand prize to the Buckwheat-Apple and the runner-up with honors to the Buckwheat-Pear. Either one is well worth having around, and the toast is a very, very, very special treat.

I'll submit this to Susan's yeastspotting:

Happy baking to all,




sweetbird's picture

While reading the article in New York Magazine on artisinal bakers in New York City that I posted in the forums yesterday (, I saw the photo of a buckwheat-pear bread and was reminded of this one that has become a favorite in our house. It's a buckwheat-apple bread dreamed up by a Swiss baker/blogger and posted on yeastspotting a few years ago. The blog post was so charming that I had to try it immediately. I have loved it and baked it many times since.

Here is the original blog post that captured my imagination:

I've made some minor changes based on what I have available. Here is the formula that I use:

Buckwheat Apple Sourdough


Liquid levain:
100 g buckwheat flour
125 ml hard cider
15 g mature starter (mine was 100% hydration)

385 g bread flour
15 g vital wheat gluten
230 ml hard cider (start with 200 ml and add more cider as required)
12 g salt
a little less than 1 tsp. instant yeast (I used SAF)
1 tsp. pear honey ("Birnel"), can be substituted by any sweetener
40 g dried apple rings, chopped
85 g (½ cup) whole buckwheat groats


Mix the ingredients for the liquid levain and leave at room temperature for 12 hours.

Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the whole buckwheat and let it soak for 10 - 15 minutes, until cooked through.  Drain well and set aside.

Mix the liquid levain, flour, vital wheat gluten and cider and let it autolyse for 15 to 30 minutes. Check the consistency and adjust as necessary; you’re looking for a tacky but not sticky dough.

Mix the final dough, but don’t add the apple chunks and the buckwheat yet. I processed for about 6 - 7 minutes on medium speed in my KitchenAid. At the end, mix in the apple pieces and about 2/3 of the soaked buckwheat groats. The rest are reserved for the top of the loaf, if you like (if not, go ahead and add them all to the dough).

Let the dough ferment in a warm environment (I kept it at a temperature in the mid-80sF) for about 1½ to 2 hours, with two folds at 30 and 60 minutes. The original recipe calls for one fold at 40 minutes, but I thought my dough needed more. I let it ferment about 2 hours.

This dough weighs about 1,050 g, and I bake it as one large hearth loaf. It can be divided into two smaller boules if you like. Bench rest and shape, and start your oven and stone preheating to 430°F at this point. I found that the final rise was fairly quick -- about 40 minutes. In fact, it took me by surprise and my oven wasn’t quite ready, so I ended up over-proofing slightly.

I used the dough ball trick that I mentioned in my previous post.


Bake the loaves on a preheated baking stone with steam at 430°F, checking and turning at around 20 minutes and lowering the temperature if the loaves are taking on too much color. I turned off the oven when the loaf reached an internal temperature of 205°F and let it sit on the hot stone with the oven door ajar for 10 minutes.


Ingredient notes:

I use a wonderful hard cider from my part of the world, the northeast U.S.  It's Woodchuck Hard Cider from Vermont and comes in a 355 ml bottle, which is just exactly the amount that is needed for this bread. About one-third goes into the levain and the rest is used in the dough. I use it at room temperature.

The flour I used in this loaf (besides the buckwheat flour) was King Arthur AP, even though the formula calls for bread flour. I would have been better off using the Sir Lancelot I had, or something else to offset the weak buckwheat flour, but even so this came out very well.

I use a raspberry honey from a local beekeper instead of the pear honey in the original formula.

This bread has a deep, somewhat nutty and subtly sweet flavor. It is outstanding as toast. I tried to capture the extra depth of color that it has when it comes out of the toaster. It's spectacular with butter and marmalade or with cheeses. I encourage you to try it! Thank you to the sweet baker from Switzerland (who doesn't seem to be blogging any longer, sadly). I'm grateful for this very special bread.


All the best,


I'll send this back where it started from, to Susan's yeastspotting:


Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Mrs PG and I visited my parents and other family this month. Some of the time was loosely connected to my baking activities and a pleasant part of the journey.

First, we visited Orchard Hills Bakery in Alstead, NH based on an entry in the "Farine" blog from last January. Let me say that if you approach the bakery from Gilsum, NH as we did, you won't have to worry about being caught in a speed trap along the way. The roads are rough and bumpy enough that the local constabulary needn't worry about speeders as much as they do parts that might have fallen off vehicles as they traverse the roads. The bakery is located on a hard packed gravel road off the paved roads. It's worth the trip.

The bakery is sited on a farmstead that goes way back to the owner's grandparents, maybe even older than that. They had been pressing apples for cider the day before and we could smell the leftover pressings despite the rain. Inside the barn that holds the bakery is an impressive Llopsis oven from Spain. I admit to admiring the effort and vision of the owner, Noah Elbers, to go this level as much as I admire his breads. They are excellent and remind me of how much more practice I need with my own bread. We bought a loaf of the Maple-Oatmeal  featured by MC in her posting and a batard of their French Bread. The cookies we bought didn't last much past the driveway of the farm.

After visiting Acadia National Park, we stopped at a Hannafords supermarket in Ellsworth, ME to do a little foodie shopping. There, I located some made in Maine mustard from Raye's and a bag of buckwheat flour from the Bouchard Family Farm of Fort Kent, ME. I don't have any experience with buckwheat flour but that didn't stop me. We always enjoy finding local foods on our trips.

Way back in Spring I posted about Rose32 Bakery in Gilbertville, MA. We stopped in for lunch on Saturday and found a busy place with lots of locals and the owners on site. The Mitchells have a good thing going on. The pastries aren't the common supermarket fare and worth the cost. They have a good selection of breads, cooked in their Llopsis oven, with excellent flavor. Breakfast and lunch is served by an efficient and enthusiastic staff. Beer and wine is available as well as the required coffee and tea. I also met the co-owner of Ruggles Hill, a goat farm that supplies goat cheese for sale at the bakery. He told me he was happy to buy his breads from Rose32 until he had time to build his own WFO. Happy locals eating, a happy staff, and happy owners, there isn't much more needed for an enthusiastic recommendation than those facts.

It's time to get back into the kitchen to practice and improve my breads after tasting what professional bakers can do. I certainly learned that much.

EdY MI's picture

Having some light buckwheat flour in the refrigerator and stone-ground wholemeal rye in the freezer, it was impossible to resist baking a loaf of Karin's buckwheat rye bread. For this first attempt, the spices were omitted. After an overnight fermentation in the refrigerator, a 750 g section of dough was proofed in an oblong banneton and then baked in a preheated Romertopf clay baker. The result did not disappoint.

Light Buckwheat Rye


Karin's recipe, even without the inclusion of spices, produced a unique and delicious bread. Many thanks to Karin for her excellent and inspiring post.


Franko's picture

For my second bake from Richard Bertinet's 'Crust' I wanted to try something with ingredients I've never used before. The recipe that caught my eye was his Breton Bread as it calls for sel-gris and buckwheat flour, neither of which I've had any experience with. For anyone not familiar with sel-gris, it's an unrefined sea salt from Brittany that's very course and gray coloured. It's flavour is a little sharp at first, but leaves a subtle aftertaste of minerals that's quite pleasant. I think I'll be using it in my future baking quite a bit, particularly for rustic breads. For more info on this salt and others, here's a link to a guide of the various types of salt available for cooking and baking.

Buckwheat pancakes are my only previous experience with this grain, having had them when I was a kid at Scout camp, but never using it professionally or at home for any baking. Some of the breads I've seen since joining TFL that use buckwheat, spelt, kamut etc. have intrigued me enough that I felt I needed to branch out more and discover some new territory. Our friend Khalid, in particular, has been a great inspiration to me with all the beautiful grain breads that he's made over the last few months.
Bertinet's formula for Breton Bread calls for using a pate fermentee as well as bakers yeast as it's leaveners but I thought I'd like to do it using a rye levain instead. Reason being, I had my rye sour going great guns, tripling in volume every 5-6 hours or so and thought it'd be a waste to not use it while it was so active. Late in the afternoon the day before mixing, I made the stiff levain but using rye starter as my base . By next morning the levain had doubled and domed so I went ahead and mixed all the other ingredients in the formula, adding the levain in chunks during the last part of the mix. Because the sel-gris is quite course, Bertinet advises dissolving it in a portion of the overall hydration, which is 69.8% (not counting the stiff levain).The dough was mixed on low speed for 8-9 minutes, then on 2nd for five. The dough came off the hook somewhat sticky but uniform and then was worked for about 5 minutes till it came clean off the counter. It rested for 1hr. at 73F, then stretched and folded and given another hour and another fold. After 30 minutes more of rest I molded it into a boule and put it into a heavily floured banneton, covered it with linen and put it in the fridge to rise. Four and half hours and 18 holes of golf later the loaf went into a 500F oven for 8 minutes with normal steam, then reduced to 440 for the remaining bake of 22 minutes. The loaf seems a bit over proofed to me but compared to the photos of it in the book it's quite a bit higher. It opened up much more along the slashes than I thought it would since it was a nice tight boule before going in the oven, so I'm wondering if this is perhaps a possible effect of the buckwheat flour content which was at 26%. I wouldn't call it a disaster by any means as the flavour of this bread more than compensates for any proofing or slashing errors on my part, but maybe next time I'll just give it a 9 hole proofing time. This is a really tasty bread, full of big flavours and aroma, the rye sour just adding another layer of flavour to it. My colleagues at the bake shop, who also serve as my tasting panel, all agreed that it was one of the more flavourful ones I've brought in for them to try. A few photos of it below. Please excuse the picture quality. My wife is visiting relatives back east and she decided to take the camera with her... for some reason, so I had to use my cell phone cam.


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