The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Buckwheat Batard

occidental's picture

Buckwheat Batard

I baked the buckwheat batard from Leader's Local Breads yesterday.  This is my third or fourth attempt at this bread, and by far the most sucessful.  The first time I tried this bread I was unaware of the errors in the formula (if you do a search of the site you will find posts on the errors of this book) and ended up experimenting just trying to get a buckwheat starter that I could work with.  The flavor is so unique that I did not give up and have come up with a formula that works for me.  For the buckwheat levain I used 75 grams of my liquid levain that is approximately 100% hydration.  To that I added 35 grams of water and 40 grams of buckwheat flour, which totals 150 grams, close to the 125 grams needed for the dough, with just a little to spare.  I let this sit and ferment overnight.  There was not much visible fermentation as far as rising or bubbles coming to the surface with this levain, however upon stirring it up it was evident from the texture that it was active.  I then followed the rest of the formula as written in the book, except that I made 3 loaves instead of the suggested 4.  I'm not a big butter fan however I really enjoy this bread warmed with a little butter on it, and the buckwheat flavor is very unique.  Now on to the pics... 


From bread

From bread

From bread


Linzq's picture

Gorgeous loaves - you've reflamed the urge to bake these -- must find my buckwheat flour...

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


Salome's picture

hi occidential,

your bread looks wonderful. I've got a bag of buckwheat flour in my pantry and I wondered whether you'd mind to share the formula? I can't get my hands on the book without bigger expenses (as I'm living in Switzerland).

thank you!


M2's picture

Yes, bread looks great!  It will be put on my to do list.  Salome,  it just happens that I'm planning to make the Apple Walnut Sourdough from Wild Yeast.  The recipe requires buckwheat.  Another idea for you to use the buckwheat flour.

I don't have buckwheat at home...I was wondering if I can replace it with rye or spelt.


occidental's picture

Hi Michelle,

Buckwheat flour from Bob's Red Mill is available in just about every store around here, since it is from Oregon, and it comes in small packages so it may be worth picking up some if you run across it - it's a pretty unique flour.  I'm not sure spelt or rye would produce the same results, as they have drastically different properties.  If you have the book (Local Breads) I'd suggest you go with Pierre Nury's rustc light rye if you want to use up some rye flour - it's one of my favorites!

M2's picture

Hi Occidental,

Have you tried retarding your buckwheat batard in the fridge?  I wonder if it can be done...

Yes, I did go out and bought a small bag.  I'm sure that this bag will last me for a while ;)   Will let you know if I have any success with this recipe!

Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures,


occidental's picture

I haven't tried retarding with this recipe.  I'm not sure if a different flavor would develop.  It's not so active that I would expect it to overproof.  I don't see why it wouldn't work though if you need it to fit your schedule.   

occidental's picture

Hi Salome,

Here is the formula with the few adaptations I made from the original:

First mix the following ingredients to form the buckwheat levain:

75 grams liquid (100%) hydration levain / starter

35 grams water

40 grams buckwheat flour

Mix well, cover and let stand 8-12 hours.  This should be a fairly stiff levain, however not stiff enough to knead, all my mixing was done with a spoon.  You will see some inrease in volume, however I would say maybe a 50% increase, not double. 

Next combine 125 grams of the buckwheat levain with 300 grams of water, and break up the levain so it can be easily mixed with the following ingredients:

450 grams unbleached bread flour

50 grams buckwheat flour

10 grams of salt

Mix well and autolyse for 20 minutes to allow the gluten to develop.  Next knead until the dough passes the windowpane test (I use a kitchen aid mixer on a speed of 3-4 for about 6-8 minutes).

Ferment the dough until doubled in volume folding once about an hour into the rise.  Once the dough has doubled (4 hours for me) divide the dough (I made 3 batards) and shape.  Bake at 425. 


Best of luck - I'd love to hear if it works for you!

lgelfan's picture

Here is my first attempt at this recipe, not too bad for stumbling my way through it, thrown a bit by the wrong measurements in the Local Breads book and my own inexperience. (I came accross this post later while looking for the correct measurements.)

I ended up using the baker's percentages to attempt to adjust the buckwheat levain once I realized the chart in the book was way off. Mine turned out to be about double what I later found in the "Local Breads" corrections PDF:

Buckwheat Levain Metric Weight should read:
Liquid Levain = 41g
Water = 18g
Buckwheat flour = 67g

Although I ended up using a tad more water than that and had plenty of left-over. I don't know how much variance there is in buckwheat flour, but I would guess there is a bit, so I can see how you might have to adjust the water amount slightly. I also used "Bob's Red Mill Buckwheat Flour" -- the one I have is dark and "whole ground" (not sure if that's how it usually is prepared, it was the only one I had).

In any case, my liquid levain starter is more like 130% hydration, so that would allow for a bit more buckwheat flour than you used (although 40g seems low). It took a bit of working with a spoon, but it eventually formed a paste-like levain that rose about 2/3rds volume overnight. The ferment rise took about 4 1/2 hours, I was worried at first, but then it bounced up nicely.

This is my first real attempt at baguette-style bread (most have been round or rectangles so far), so I need a bit more practice at shaping them, but this bread sure did taste good! Ended up being worth the trouble. The loaves were much more "springy" than I would have thought and the buckwheat flavor is not too strong.

For reference, my steps looked like this:

Buckwheat levain (developed), ferment rise (before and after), parchment-paper couche, just-out-of-the oven. :)

SaraBClever's picture

I'm so glad I found this post.  I immediately figured I'd check here when I noticed that the recipe alternately specified 1/4c and 1 1/2c levain.  My loaves are a lot flatter than yours (on soft doughs, I seem to have problems with surface tension and they rise out rather than up) but other than that they turned out pretty well.  Thanks again for posting your experiences.  Despite the errors I really love this book and I appreciate others' work figuring out the hard parts.

ques2008's picture

i've gone as far as making buckwheat pancakes (I read somewhere that the batter should be refrigerated overnight) and they are delicious.  i ought to give your recipe a try!  those breads look lovely.

SaraBClever's picture

Question--what did your dough look like after mixing?  I usually mix in the stand mixer and have not had trouble.  This time I again mixed for the recommended 8-9 minutes at speed 4.  My dough was extremely elastic; almost like silly putty and nearly soupy.   Because of this extreme stretchiness I figured it was fully kneaded (I don't normally achieve windowpane because I am reticent to knead at speed 4) but there was no surface tension in my loaves and they just sort of pooled as they rose.  Scoring was pointless as the dough just slopped around more on the parchment.   I'm wondering if I did overmxi or if there's somethign odd about buckwheat?  I don't normally have these troubles with bread; but there's overall so little buckwheat I can't imagine it could change the texture that much.  (I did modify per the errata on Leader's website).  The loaves in this thread look great so obviously I am doing something wrong!  Since you say you had to try many times with this bread I wonder if you experienced any of this.

occidental's picture

Hi Sara - My first attempts at this bread lead to bad results because I was scaling the ingredients based on the book.  Once I figured out the right consistency for the starter (see the post above for the amounts) I had great results.  I would not characterize the dough as soupy at all - it seems like a fairly dry dough to me.  I'm not sure what Leader's errata sheet instructs on this bread, but I'd suggest using something similar to my amounts posted above to get the starter going and follow the book from there.  I'd agree that a lot of Leader's instructions call for what seems like over kneading if you are using a stand mixer.  I usually prefer to stretch and fold, however I've had great luck with his mixing instructions in Local Breads, it's just the formula amounts that seem to be off.  Good luck and I hope this helps.

wendyg's picture

I've made this recipe I think four times now, and had the dough every which way from too stiff to pooling rather than forming.

I've enjoyed eating the experimental failures, but I want this thing to work. So I got clever: I Googled Eric Kayser, who Leader identifies as the original baker of these things and found that he, too, has written a book including some 60 of his recipes (in French). The book arrived two days ago, and I tried his version today. Tje taste isn't quite the same, but at least these came out like actual baguettes.

Kayser's version:

Dissolve 5g (1t) fresh yeast into 10cl of warm water and let sit about 20 minutes.

Combine 200g buckwheat flour, 300g white flour, and 100g liquid levain, and 10g (2t) of sale, then add the yeast/water mixture and knead. Let the dough ferment for about 40 minutes.

Divide into three equal parts, form into baguettes, and let them rise for 1 1/2 hours. Start the oven at 220C, and then bake the baguettes.

I happened to see last week that Lakeland Limited (in the UK) sells a sort of baguette tray - it's made of a sort of heavy metal screen, and you can let the baguettes rise in it and then shove the whole thing in the oven. Based on customer reviews, I lined one of those with parchment paper and used that. It makes the whole thing *so* much easier - if the dough is limp it doesn't matter; the baguettes form much better and stay the right shape.

This recipe worked perfectly, although I was too lazy to hold back dough to make the third baguette. I do think I prefer the taste of Leader's version with the overnight fermenting of the buckwheat levain, but **this recipe worked**.