Buckwheat Sourdough Bread

I am absolutely delighted to present the second guest publication written by our friend Elise. It is the recipe of an amazing bread, baked from naturally fermented raw buckwheat kernels. The essential ingredients for the batter are buckwheat, water and salt.  Relatively simple process of preparation produces a delicious bread, that I personally consider the best bread for toasts.

Recently I started thinking about how the process of fermentation can convert a food from something that you may not be able to digest, to something that you can.  For instance, I am not able to consume cabbage (either raw or cooked), however I can consume sauerkraut (which is fermented cabbage) without any difficulties.

About ten years ago, I had experimented with fermenting gluten free grain flours (namely, buckwheat, millet and quinoa) in order to make sourdough bread.  Although the resulting bread was quite edible, at the time I still had issues digesting any grains, even those that are gluten free and so I stopped making it and stopped consuming grains altogether.

However, recently I started to wonder if my digestive system had now healed to the point where I could consume gluten free grains that had been fermented (given that fermented foods tend to be easier to digest than non-fermented foods).

A search in “YouTube” resulted in two videos that showed the process of fermenting buckwheat groats (rather than using flour) and making this into a bread batter.  The resulting bread looked promising, so I decided to try for myself.  After a few minor tweaks I can confirm that this process works extremely well.  It is a simple process, takes very little energy to do and the cost of ingredients is cheaper than some other bread ingredient options (for example, pumpkin seed flour). The resulting bread is delicious fresh from the oven, when it is still slightly warm – and when it has cooled completely, it is absolutely delicious toasted (with very nice, crunchy crusts).  The best news is, I can digest it without any issues !

So all credit for the process goes to the ladies from these two “YouTube” clips:

And below is my version of the recipe with just a couple of minor tweaks.

Ingredients:

  • 560g raw buckwheat groats
  • filtered water for soaking the buckwheat groats
  • additional 390ml of filtered water to make the batter
  • 6 tablespoons of sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt

Note:  This recipe will make 2 small loaves of bread (using 1lb loaf tins)

Method:

  • Add the raw buckwheat groats to a clean glass (or ceramic) bowl and cover them generously with filtered water.  Place the bowl on your kitchen bench (out of direct sunlight) and leave for 6 hours.

  • After the six hours is up, you will see that the buckwheat has swelled in size and that there are bubbles on the surface of the water.

  • Use a sieve to drain the buckwheat groats and discard the soak water.  You will notice that the buckwheat has a slight slimy feel to it (this substance is naturally released by the buckwheat when exposed to water).  So rinse the buckwheat thoroughly under running filtered water in order to remove this slimy substance.  Drain the buckwheat well.  Note that I usually need to do this process of rinsing and draining in four small batches, due to the size of my sieve.

  • Add the rinsed and drained buckwheat groats to a food processor (or Vitamix) and pour in the additional filtered water.  Process the buckwheat with this additional fresh water, until a smooth batter is produced.

  • Pour the resulting batter into a clean glass (or ceramic) bowl.  Do not use a metal or plastic bowl for this.

  • Place the bowl containing the batter into a food dehydrator.  Set the temperature to 35 degrees Celsius and leave it to ferment for approximately 10 hours within the dehydrator.
  • After the 10 hours are complete, take the bowl out of the food dehydrator.  You will notice that a skin has formed on the surface of the batter.  This is nothing to worry about and will not impact the consistency of the bread.

  • Next, preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  (Note, I use a fan forced oven.  If your oven is not fan forced, you may need to adjust the temperature accordingly).
  • Also, line two small metal loaf tins using tin liners.

  • Measure out the sunflower seeds, dried oregano and sea salt and pour onto the surface of the bread batter.

  • Using a wooden spoon, gently mix the seeds, oregano and salt into the batter until it is just mixed together.  Do not over mix.

  • Pour the mixed batter into the two lined baking tins.

  • Bake in the oven for 85 minutes.
  • When ready, remove from the oven, take the bread immediately out of the tins and also remove the tin lining paper from off the bread loaves.  Place the loaves on a wire cooling rack and leave to cool down.

Ideally you should wait until completely cool before slicing – but if you are anything like me – that is too long !  So at least wait half an hour before slicing a portion of a loaf to eat while the bread is still warm.

Leave the remaining part of the loaves to cool completely on the rack.

This bread is delicious warm from the oven, topped with any sweet or savoury topping that you like.  It is also excellent when toasted.

Enjoy !

My usual schedule for making this bread:

Given my lifestyle, I find the following schedule to works best for me:

  • Start the soaking of the buckwheat at roughly 3:15pm of the day before I want the bread
  • Do the process of rinsing the soaked buckwheat, draining and making the batter at roughly 9:15pm the same day
  • The next morning, at about 7:15am, mix in the sunflower seeds, oregano and salt – and bake the bread.
  • This means the bread is ready to take out of the oven by 9am.

Of course, this is just what works for me.  Your lifestyle might dictate a completely different schedule to this.

For those that do not have a food dehydrator:

Based on my previous fermenting experiences, I strongly believe that this recipe can be made without a food dehydrator.  The reason I like to use the food dehydrator is because it is allows me to know precisely how long to ferment the batter when the temperature is set to 35C.  However, to ferment the batter without a food dehydrator, try the following:

  • soak the buckwheat as described above
  • drain and rinse the buckwheat thoroughly and make into the batter as described above
  • pour the batter into a clean glass or ceramic bowl – and cover the bowl with a clean tea towel.  The use of the tea towel is to prevent dust and/or insects from getting into your batter – but at the same time – to allow the air to circulate around the batter.
  • place the bowl in a warm spot on your kitchen bench, that is not in direct sunlight
  • the amount of time that you will need to leave the batter to ferment is going to depend on the temperature of your home.  I would guess that it will need maybe 2-3 days.  However, this may require some experimentation to determine what is right.  In any case, your eyes and nose are going to be your best friends.  If the batter no longer looks or smells right, then please throw out and try again for a shorter amount of time.  Note also, that if you don’t leave the batter for long enough, then the resulting dough is likely to be very heavy and not contain air pockets.
  • Good luck !

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