October 10, 2016

Buckwheat bread: GF and easy

A tasty sandwich with roasted red pepper, tomato and homemade hummus.

In my last post I mentioned purchasing a gluten-free sourdough bread that was beautiful and delicious, but the whole time I ate it I had bloating and discomfort. A reader, 'cv', suggested in the comments that my digestive distress may have been related to the psyllium husks in the bread's ingredients list, and she included a link to a recipe for GF sourdough bread made with only buckwheat groats, sesame seeds, salt and water. Even if I weren't trying to avoid gluten, I probably would have been sucked into trying the recipe just to see if it would work. You sure don't have to be GF to appreciate a whole grain, fermented loaf.

The batter after fermenting for 24 hours.

The recipe is ultra easy, if waiting around for things to soak and ferment isn't an issue for you. The buckwheat is soaked over night, drained the next day, blended with water, salt and sesame seeds, then fermented for 24 hours before being baked. There are only four ingredients including the salt and water, and very little hands-on time.

Using parchment paper helps in removing the baked bread.

I followed the recipe as written, except I lined my baking pan with parchment paper to make removing the bread easier after baking. I was not about to mess around with such an unusual recipe.

The finished loaf, cooling before being sliced.

So how was the bread? The comments on the original blog post are extremely positive, which makes me think any disagreement I might have is probably due to something I did or didn't do as I followed the recipe. Did I over-blend? Did I bake it long enough? I like the taste a lot — probably because I like buckwheat, and the bread tastes like buckwheat. The texture, on the other hand, is not quite optimal. I don't know exactly how to describe it except to say it is a little mushy. Not wet, mushy, but it doesn't offer resistance when chewed, if that makes sense. It kind of falls apart in the mouth. Still, I do like it, and toasting it several times improves the texture. My bread slices look more dense than the ones on the original blog post, though I'm not sure what would cause that.

Toasted slices with hummus.

I'm planning to experiment a little with the recipe, maybe even add in some psyllium husks, both see if the texture changes, and to see if I react to it. I can guarantee the bread won't be wasted if do react because my husband likes it a lot. I also might add other grains as well as seeds.

Some time ago I made a very good nut and seed bread based on Josie Baker's adventure bread, (which in turn was inspired by My New Roots Life Changing Bread). I may try to incorporate some of the ideas from these breads into the buckwheat bread. Experimenting with new (to me) ideas is what makes cooking interesting! Do you like to experiment with unusual recipes or prefer to make things you're pretty sure will work?

10 comments:

  1. Bummer the texture wasn't quite right. I'm no baker so no idea how to fix it. From the photos, it looks like a great loaf. I've done plenty of cooking experiments myself, they don't always turn out like I thought they would. Then it's just back to the drawing board. :-)

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    1. You know, I got pretty fond of the bread as I worked my way through the loaf, and will probably make it again. I might ferment it longer and also bake it longer. Right now I have a loaf resting in the pan that's a conglomeration of the buckwheat loaf and the adventure bread. I wonder how it will turn out. :D

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  2. Buckwheat is definitely a tricky flour (and flavor) to work with. As much as I think it has great potential, I've never been able to unlock it in my own experiments either. From loaves to crepes, I just can't get ideal flavor or texture all in one. I hope you keep trying and have better luck next time, for my own selfish reasons!

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    1. I do love buckwheat noodles, though I've never made them from scratch — only cooked store-bought ones. But yes, I made another bread with whole buckwheat and additional ingredients that came out great. I'm working on another variation and will probably post when I'm 100% satisfied.

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  3. I've never tried to cook with buckwheat, but like you I'm a big fan of the taste. If you manage to nail that recipe down, I'll be interested to try it definitely!

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    1. I've only cooked buckwheat to use as a grain either plain or with noodles and gravy, but had never before attempted to use the whole grain (it's a seed, actually) to make bread. I've continued to experiment and am quite happy with my latest attempt!

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  4. How great that you gave this a try! My experience with it is that, despite the extreme simplicity of the recipe, there are a couple of tricky parts to it. For starters, I found that I needed to blend it in the Vitamix even less than the specified amount of time of 20 seconds. For me it worked best if I blended it with the lever set on low and just enough time for me to quickly turn the dial from 1 to 10 and back. I haven't counted the number of seconds it takes to do this, but I'm fairly certain that it's considerably less than 20. I definitely wouldn't set the blender on high, even briefly. For the best texture, you want there to be a significount amount of whole (or almost whole) groats, i.e., not smooth throughout. It's more like you're combining the ingredients and grinding them only a tiny bit. The second thing I've learned from making this numerous times is that I need to cook it until the center of the top of the loaf is not soggy. It might just be my wonky oven, but I often end up cooking it for closer to an hour. I also found that the container I fermented it in seemed to affect both how much it rose and the runniness after it was blended. I had the best luck with using the crock of my crockpot as a container, which is cylindrical, rather than the shape of a typical bowl. I noticed this when I set out 2 loaves to rise side by side, one batch in a large pyrex bowl and the other in my crockpot crock. The crockpot loaf was consistently better, less runny, with more tooth to it. Good luck!

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    1. Yes, I blended it very little, making sure to keep lots of texture, and I made sure the entire surface was dry when it baked. Like you, I baked it longer than the recipe said. Interesting about the rising — mine rose in the bowl but not as it baked. I've done some additional experiments where I baked the bread at 400 for an hour, and I'll write more about it soon.

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  5. P.S. Thanks for the baking paper tip! I've had trouble getting the bread out of the pan.

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    1. Good to know. I was considering trying it without paper, but now I won't!

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