The Fresh Loaf

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Naturally Fermented Buckwheat Bread (gluten free)

Anonymous baker's picture
Anonymous baker (not verified)

Naturally Fermented Buckwheat Bread (gluten free)

Very simple and simply delicious. No need for a starter and from start to finish is under 24 hours. The resulting loaf has a crispy crust with a moist crumb and is really flavoursome. Easy to digest too. For the complete recipe, and the original idea behind it, please see breadtopia's website here. Melissa gives you perfect instructions with photos. Here's my attempt. 

First you soak the groats for 5-6 hours. 

Drain the groats but do not wash! The run-off will be very mucilaginous and so will the drained groats. Top back up with fresh water and in a food processor grind it to a paste then into a bowl to ferment. Recommended 12-24 hours.

18 hours later...

All there is to do now is add the salt plus any add-ins you wish. Or you can leave it plain if you want. I added flaxseeds into the mix and scattered sesame seeds on top. 

After about an hour bake the loaf. No need to preheat the oven. Takes about 80 minutes but if you opt for a smaller loaf and/or a shallow oblong pan then it will be quicker. 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Wow Abe, amazing. Never heard about such bread, this looks stunning.

Anon2's picture
Anon2 (not verified)

I've gotta say it's fun to make and delicious. Fascinating to go from whole raw buckwheat groats to fermented buckwheat bread in under 24 hours. Something very satisfying about preparing the batter the evening before and come morning it has bubbled up. Final dough is so easy as it's just a batter and you can get as inventive as you like with add-ins. Mix, portion out into a loaf pan, final proof for one hour and bake.

clazar123's picture

It looks like this has a very moist crumb- almost like a pumpernickel. Is that how it is? Could this simple batter be used as a base for a drier-crumbed bread by adding a simple GF  flour like sorghum, millet or rice?

I have dabbled in GF and it is a delicious specialty in its own right. However, I have found some of the flours have characteristics that don't work for me. Millet and sorghum (to me) have a very bitter aftertaste. I have found that it is like the cilantro situation-there are individuals that actually have a gene that makes them perceive some foods as bitter or soapy tasting and others that lack that gene expression who perceive cilantro, sorghum and millet as sweet and nutty. I do see on the Breadtopia site comments that the author also did this with quinoa and I have heard of using flax for a similar recipe (I'll have to look for that).

Thank you,Abe!


Anon2's picture
Anon2 (not verified)

You make a very interesting point. This is the only way I've done the recipe so far. I have done buckwheat flour and starter before but that needs some kind of binder and doesn't produce as nice results as this. Something about this method gives a better crumb. Once you have to add binders it's not the same. Question is would this way work for all gluten free substitutes I don't know. The presoak of the whole groats producing the mucilaginous substance helps to make this work. And because it's gluten free we can use the initial quick fermentation and as a batter to produce a pan loaf. 

An idea I've been forming is while one needs to use raw buckwheat for the ferment why not replace some of the groats with kasha for that extra roasted flavour. Which ties into your idea of adding in some extra non buckwheat flour into the mix before pouring it into a loaf pan. I can see that working but will need some trial and error. Rather like putting 20% of a non gluten flour into a regular loaf and it should compromise the dough. 

Thank you for the idea. 

clazar123's picture

Kasha would probably offer a good taste profile but won't add to the mucinous structure. 20% is low enough to not interfere structurally and soaking it fully will prevent it from robbing the crumb moisture after the bake and causing a crumbly texture.

I've often stated in wheat baking that developing the starch is what we really do in hydrating and working a wheat-based dough-shown by a good windowpane. A windowpane is just a visual show of the gluten and starch matrix. In a GF loaf, developing a starch presence is more easily done (you called it mucilaginous) and provides part of the structure of the crumb. The texture trick in GF baking is to provide another structure to suspend the starch to support gas-holding bubbles. A higher protein GF flour, or any protein like egg/milk/nut, provides a structure to hold the gas bubbles in a GF dough in the same way that the gluten strands provide the "netting" to hold gas bubbles in wheat based  doughs.

I have only dabbled in GF but I believe it is a legitimate specialty in baking that has its own deliciousness. The very basic concepts of baking hold true-you need structural elements,moisture,flavor,mouth feel,etc. Wheat is not the be-all, it is just the most common now. GF was the norm all over the world before wheat was cultivated. GF is worthy of exploration-there is all sorts of deliciousness to be had.

Have delicious fun ans keep posting about it!

Tom M's picture
Tom M

Abe, thanks for introducing us to this intriguingly different bread with your excellent write-up.  Your post makes a great complement to the original article.

I certainly want to try it myself when I get my hands on some buckwheat.  In the meanwhile, I’m thinking about other seed/grain combinations that could use this method.  Maybe a base of oats with a pinch of the xanthan gum that’s been ignored in the back of my fridge for the last 10 years.

Anon2's picture
Anon2 (not verified)

Thank you Tom

I really wished to try this bread as it is unique and sparked my interest. Something different! I also like the idea of incorporating other wonderful grains and flours which can be appreciated in their own right. 

Whether this technique works across the board I do not know. I did go through a stage of trying my hand at many gluten free breads but using a starter and adding in a binder. This recipe was completely new to me and have yet to learn if it can be used with across the board. 

emilye's picture

I’ve been experimenting with baking gluten free bread and can’t wait to try this. Love buckwheat and lots of seeds in my bread; yours looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing!