The Fresh Loaf

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Buckwheat, Sorghum & Cassava Sourdough

Abe's picture

Buckwheat, Sorghum & Cassava Sourdough

By George I Think I've Got It! Hope the celebrations aren't too early and in vain however I think this could be one of the best gluten free breads i've done. Certainly when it comes to the ferment. As for the taste i'll let you know. Gluten Free breads are more difficult to read imo and when over-proofed they really are less forgiving than their gluten counterparts and fall flat. Always fearful of this I jump the gun. With this bake I decided to push the limits and got a lovely rise. No splitting and a perfect dome. 

Based on this recipe with buckwheat flour instead of rice flour and turned into a sourdough.


  • 158g Wholemeal Buckwheat Flour
  • 157g Wholegrain Sorghum Flour
  • 135g Wholemeal Cassava Flour
  • 450g Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Un-Fed Rice Flour Starter 

When well risen and craggy on top then onto the final dough...

Final Dough: 

  • Mix 20g psyllium husk powder with 10g salt. 
  • Add 150g water and mix thoroughly making sure there are no dry or clumpy bits. Within seconds you should have a well formed gel that will tip out in one piece. 
  • Add the gel to the pre-ferment then squeeze and knead till the dough is formed and everything is fully distributed. You can't over mix/knead so give it a few minutes. 
  • Shape into a loaf pan (I used a pullman) and final proof for about 3 hours at room temperature. 
  • Bake as in the recipe.

A word about the baking... Not sure how she can bake it for so long at the given temperature and not burn the loaf. I'm assuming she means with no fan. The oven I use has a fan that can't be toggled off so I dropped the temperature. Baked for 45 minutes with lid on, 15 minutes with lid off then turned the loaf out and returned to the oven till it was as dark as I dared to bake it. Still fell short of 15 minutes. This bread really does need a long time to bake however I cannot do that length of time and and end up with a crust like hers. Mine always ends up much darker so i'm hoping it's fully baked through. Taps hollow which is a good sign. 

It's cooling now...

idaveindy's picture

And it's front page material, IMNSHO.

Abe's picture

I just hope the crumb doesn't let me down and it tastes as good as it looks. Let's wait till I cut into it. Hoping I haven't built it up too much but it surprised me when I took it out of the oven. 

HeiHei29er's picture

That looks really good Abe!  Hope the crumb turns out well. Very interesting on the psyllium prep.  I haven’t tried adding the salt with it.  Sounds like you nailed it!

For shaping, are you rolling into a log or is this still a heavy batter/high rye consistency that needs to be spread into the pan?

For final proof, what are you looking for visually to go to baking?  First surface crack?  Doubling? 

Abe's picture

As far as flour to water to psyllium husk ratios. TBH there's something not quite right with her recipe. Either that or it's coming out perfectly and it's not to my liking. 

While everything looks and tastes good (just like her breads) the texture is not nice. I'm wondering if reducing both the water and psyllium husk powder might produce a better result. I've done far better texture wise using 18g psyllium husk powder per 500g flour and going by feel when it comes to water. This way one can reduce the baking time, it'll be baked through properly and it won't end up with a burnt crust. 

I'm still not sure how she can bake her breads at such a high temperature and for so long and end up with a normal crust. 

I've gotten better results using my own methods but this one was still perfectly timed when it came to the ferment time. 

idaveindy's picture

Abe,  Isn't tapioca starch an _extract_ of cassava flour, not the entire flour?

(You subbed buckwheat flour for brown rice flour, cassava flour for tapioca starch, and sourdough for yeast.)

It's been a while since I've used cassava flour.  I think it was what I used to make "fufu."  If so, not the same as tapioca starch.

Abe's picture

Tapioca is added for the starch and Cassava is the whole root. So it's the starch with fibre. Thought it's be healthier than just starch alone. If anything it should produce a dryer crumb but it's still too gummy. 

What let's me down most about this recipe is the baking. How does one bake a loaf at that temperature for 1hr 45 minutes? It needs it! But how does one do it? 

idaveindy's picture

It's said that lowering the temp can compensate for not being able to turn off the fan,  but I don't totally buy that.  Airflow has to have a drying effect, like wind on exposed skin.  I dunno -- maybe tenting the loaf?

Abe's picture

Thank you Dave. Perhaps I should have lowered the temperature and kept the lid on until 5 minutes before the end. I'll try that next time. 

idaveindy's picture

when you bake: top, bottom, or back-wall ?

If I recall, some of the "always on" fan models of oven use upper or back-wall heating elements.   

I'm thinking line-of-sight radiant heat might be a factor.

Abe's picture

Heating elements aren't obvious though. I'm thinking back wall but will have to check. 

Abe's picture

The texture has much improved. And when toasted it's perfect. This behaves very much like a rye. I'm sure it'll improve even further over the next 24 hours. 

clazar123's picture

That caught my eye when I initially looked at the recipe. I realize there are no other "structural" elements like eggs but 20g seems an awful lot of psyllium. Did the crumb turn out gummy at all? Looking over my recipes (I just have a few), the most psyllium powder I ever used was 1 tbsp/6 g.

Another technique question. If I mix the psyillium powder wtih the flours (dry) and then add the wet ingredients, does it affect the outcome? 

Abe's picture

Agree with you 100%! Too much psyllium husk powder, therefore a lot more water needed and an irregular bake is warranted but doesn't help the gumminess. 

My way, like yours, is to use less psyllium husk powder and enough water added by feel to make a dough that holds itself together. The bake is within a normal range and produces a far better crumb. 

The reason why I didn't add the psyllium husk till after the preferment is because once it's in it does need one rise. If it has a bulk then a shape it doesn't work as well. 

After two days and toasted it is much improved but our method is better. 

clazar123's picture

I liked doing the overnight soak of the whole grain buckwheat flour the 1st time I made this recipe but I want to incorporate some brown rice flour and another GF flour, if I have one in the cupboard. I have tapioca starch, so I could use that-it gives a nice chew to the crumb. 

Egg? I think I will go for 1 tbsp psyllium powder (6g) and 1 egg. 

Ground flax? Maybe, but I'd soak that with the buckwheat for the best hydration. I'm sure the baker's percentage of water is going to be over 100%-buckwheat,flax,psyllium,brown rice flour-ALL VERY thirsty!

I liked the density of the buckwheat loaf I made but I want it to be more like my 100% rye flavor so honey, dates and bread spice is going in,too. Buckwheat tasted almost peppery to me so maybe some black pepper would be good. All this covers the slight bitterness buckwheat has. Sunflower kernels or pepitas are also good. Hmmm.... I will post what I finally do.


Abe's picture

The other recipe I did is more sensible with a better crumb. It was quite dense because it did need more proofing time and I was nervous about the eggs. However it wasn't gummy in the slightest and with 100% preferment one could add a tsp of yeast to the final dough just to shorten the proof taking the eggs into consideration. See my comments. 

The dough has eggs and oil and I added a little psyllium husk powder just for more structure. 

clazar123's picture

I looked in the cupboard and reviewed your loaves/recipes and what I did last time and decided on my plan. I'm going to do an overnight soak with a pinch of yeast and all the dry ingredients-even the salt. 

Then next am, I will mix the egg,oil and vinegar and whisk till light colored (almost like making mayo. Commercial yeast,a little sugar and water can bloom a few minutes while I whisk. 

Add the egg/oil/vinegar to the prefermented overnight dough, add a little honey and mix. I'm not sure if this will come together like a batter or a dough but I will then add some honey,chopped dates and pepitas.


I think this will be the recipe: kind of a mix of volume and weights right now

250g buckwheat flour

150 g brown rice flour

100g sorghum flour

1 tbsp flax

1 tbsp psyllium fine powder

1 tsp salt

500ml water.

Pinch of yeast

Mix and let sit overnight.


Next am:

1 egg

2 tsp oil

1/2 tsp vinegar

Whisk together


1 tsp yeast

1/2 tsp sugar

1 tbsp water

Sit til frothy


Mix everything together and add

2-3 tbsp honey

1/2 c chopped dates

1/2 c pepitas or sunflower kernels

Put into greased pan sprinkled with oatflakes.


Bake-375F till done (40 min?) 


So that's the plan and the recipe (based on your other recipe) unless you have any comments/thoughts. I've never gelled the psyllium separately-I've always mixed it into the dry ingredients. The one time I did try gelling it separately was a nightmare to get incorporated. I might end up with additional water for the flax but I'll see how it goes.

I'll post back when it is done.


Abe's picture

The only tweak i'd suggest is making the pre-ferment with a little starter if you want it to be a sourdough. Then you can miss out the vinegar. And since you've pre-fermented all the flour then adding some yeast into the final dough for a quicker rise will be good because you've added in an egg. But if you want a yeasted bread then no need to change anything. 

Love the additions of chopped dates, pepitas and sunflower kernals. I think it's going to make a really tasty loaf and looking forward to the results.

One final thing. You've put all the water in the pre-ferment not knowing how the final dough will feel once you've added in everything else. Just something to be aware of. I'm sure the egg, psyllium husk powder and flaxseed will do a good job of making a good dough though. 

Benito's picture

Stunning achievement in gluten free sourdough baking Abe, definitely front page material.  Can’t wait to see the crumb.


Abe's picture

Here is the crumb the next morning after the loaf was baked at 1am. Have to say it did improve over the next two days. I'm coming to the end of the loaf now but it became less gummy, cut very nicely and toasted up a treat. While, like a rye, it did take a couple of days for the crumb to really set if I did this again i'd drop the psyllium husk percentage and the hydration. After it looked so perfect initially I was a little disappointed but ended up being pleased overall. Try and try again...

clazar123's picture

Rather than hijack your thread, I posted my recipe and pics HERE .

Not as high as your loaf but I'm happy with the texture and taste. A lot less psyllium so no moisture or gumminess at all. Also, my buckwheat flour is a lot different than yours-it must include the outercoat as the loaf is dark,dark brown. It is a little lighter than my last loaf-probably because of the brown rice flour.

Buckwheat will probably be my go-to flour if it doesn't get too expensive. I just tried to re-order it and the bag I got before went up75%! Yikes! I will have to find a different source.

idaveindy's picture

The Swad brand makes a buckwheat flour.  So if there is an Indian/Pakistani store near you, they might have it.

I have no idea if it's the darker flour like yours, or the lighter like Abe's.


1) it might not be a current product.
2) sometimes it's spelled "buck wheat" and sometimes "buckwheat", in case you're doing an online search.
3) "kuttu ka" is the Indian name. "atta" means "flour".
4) "Fapar ko pitho" is the Nepali name, sometimes spelled "fafar ko pitho."