The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Buckwheat Apple Sourdough

Salome's picture

Buckwheat Apple Sourdough

We've got so many jars and tins and boxes and bottles in our house. I "digged" in our cellar and found an old jar of dried apples. Dried 1998, surprisingly still look alright. Found a bag of organic buckwheat flour which my parents brought home from the Bretagne, France some holidays ago. And found a glass with some kind of Estonian instant Buckwheat which our Estonian exchange student left here two years ago. Everything looked alright, smelled alright, felt alright, I decided: It's time to use it!

End of August - The fall is coming! What about an Buckwheat Apple Bread, that sounds good and seasonal. It just had to be created. That's where I came into play. I intensified the apple flavor trough some cider, which we had in our cellar as well, and added a little bit of pear honey as well. Rather easy, utterly delicious.

The apple and the buckwheat are not only on the picture a nice couple, I found that the light sweetness and the sour tang of the apple worked very well with the nutty buckwheat flavor. Especially the crunchy loaf had a very interesting mouth feel!

Buckwheat Apple Sourdough


liquid levain
100 g buckwheat flour
125 ml cider
15 g mature starter

final dough
385 g bread flour
15 g Vital Wheat Gluten
230 ml cider (start with 200 ml and add more cider as required)
12 g salt
a little less than 1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp pear honey ("Birnel"), can be substituted by any sweetener
40 g dried apple rings, chopped
1/2 cup whole buckwheat


  1. Mix the ingredients for the liquid levain, put aside for 12 hours.
  2. pour some hot water over the whole buckwheat and let it soak for a while.
  3. In the meantime, mix the liquid levain, the flour, the Vital Wheat Gluten and cider and let it autolyse for some time. I let it sit for about 15 minutes, as long as it took to clean up after lunch. Watch out with the amount of cider added, I had to juggle a bit with some extra flour and extra cider until I found the right consitency, a tacky but not sticky dough.
  4. strain the buckwheat berries and let it drip off well.
  5. mix the final dough, but don't add the apple chunks and the buckwheat yet. Knead until the gluten is developed, then incorporate the apple pieces and about 2/3 of the buckwheat berries.
  6. Let the dough ferment for about 1.5 hours, with one fold after 40 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough into two, shape two boules. I rolled one in the leftover buckwheat berries and let it proof on the board, the other one proofed in a proofing basket.
  8. after the proofing, I decorated the second boule with an apple sign (Cut out an apple out of paper, mist the boule, place the apple on the loaf and dust the loaf now with flour. Take the apple paper away and in the oven it goes).
  9. Bake the loaves on a preheated baking stone with steam at 430°F, lower the temperature when the loaves take on to much color. (I finished baking at 400°, after about 40 minutes of baking in total)
  10. let it cool on a rack and enjoy plain, with butter or with a mild cheese.

Simply autumn, doesn't it look like it?

No other pictures of the "sleek" apple loaf, I gave it away to somebody who has borrowed me her car for my driver's license preparation a couple times. Of course I couldn't cut into it. ;)



Paddyscake's picture

I used to love the flavor of buckwheat pancakes, which I haven't had since I was a kid. What are the buckwheat berries like on the outside of the loaf? Crunchy like nuts? I'll have to see if I can find some. Your stencil pattern is a nice touch.

Thanks for sharing,


Salome's picture

the berries on the outside are crunchy, even though they were very soft after the soaking. I think they didn't burn because I soaked them well.

ehanner's picture


What a creative effort that turned out beautifully. They both look wonderful.


ques2008's picture

two weeks ago, i bought a bag of organic buckwheat flour with the intention of making pancakes, but with the leftover I can try your recipe!  if i used fresh apples, would that work (or probably make the dough too wettish)?

what kind of texture did you get with buckwheat?

Salome's picture

it's possible that the loaves would become somewhat wettish if you use fresh apples. I really liked the dried apples, because the flavors are much more concentrated than in a fresh piece of apple. And I liked the texture contributed trough the apple pieces. Hamelman recommends for his Normandy Apple Bread to dry apple chunks in the oven to intesify the flavor and prevent the dough from becoming to wet. That's maybe an idea for you, if you can't or don't want to buy dried apples.

The texture of the bread crumb was soft, but the whole buckwheat berries inside and on the outside gave it a pleasant bite and crunch. I'd say that the bread had a interesting (positive) mouthfeel, with the "leathery" sweet and sour apple pieces, the buckwheat crunch and the soft, nutty-tasting crumb.


chouette22's picture

It's funny to read your description of jars, tins and bottles full of 'stuff'. It's the same for me, I have lots of different whole grains and other baking ingredients that I use very rarely. They just sit there for some undefined future use...

My first thought when I saw your picture was that the bread looks like a hedgehog. Very nice with all those buckwheat berries on the outside! I was surprised that you added them after only soaking, I'll try that as well since I like a good crunch in a bread (Reinhart again, just like with millet, says to cook these before using in a dough).

How have you become such a creative and knowledgeable baker at such a young age? Just interest? In any case, it's very impressive!

And - your English is amazing! It cannot be just school-English, can it?

Good luck for your driver's test! As you said in another post, it's very expensive in Switzerland and the test is very demanding. Hopefully you'll succeed the first time around.

Salome's picture

haha, hedgehog, yes! I had this association as well. =) I do like the hedgehog style better than the flour style, but I still think that they're a very nice couple.

About the buckwheat - Well, I mentioned briefly that this buckwheat originates from Estonia, and I don't know how this buckwheat has been treatened. (And guess what, I just wrote threatened first, but then remembered your comment about me saying that "a day full of baking is a threat". Haha) It's possible that my buckwheat is precooked in some way. I just added some water to it and let it soak for 1/2 - 1 hour, and then the grains were very soft, not crunchy at all!

I learned baking by doing it. A lot of reading online and two real baking books so far. (but two more coming! Daniel DiMuzio's Bread baking and Laurel's kitchen bread book [because of all the whole grains in there]) So yes, just interest. No professional bakers in my social network... I spent a year in Sweden as an exchange student and my host mom used to make a bread occasionally, which I loved at the time. Soon I took her baking over... But at that time I was still far away from "real baking". When I came back, I wasn't really challenged by school and had a lot of freetime, and I tend to become nerdy occasionally. So in breadbaking. ;)

I just learned english somehow. At school, travelling, trough my former Californian boyfriend, a lot of english books, and when I'm out of words, is my best friend.


loydb's picture

Fantastic bread. I made this yesterday with the following changes:

  • No commercial yeast. I let it proof 4 hours, shaped, then 2 hours.
  • Added a couple of ounces of walnuts.
  • Soaked the buckwheat in hot cider instead of water

We pretty much destroyed the first loaf yesterday. I doubt the second will live through the weekend...

Thanks for a great recipe!



Salome's picture

great! The changes you made seem to be worth a try!

Salome (who still has got loads of buckwheat flour and therefore should bake this bread again, with your changes!)