Good morning, everyone! I hope you had a happy Labor Day weekend. Mine was busy, with relatives in town, water-skiing at the lake, and long runs with running buddies.
I also spent time laboring over this amazing buckwheat bread recipe, trying to get it just right. Done!
This bread earns its ‘amazing’ moniker for all of the following reasons:
*Only 3 ingredients (other than water, salt & baking powder)
*It is flourless
*It is oil-free
*It is sugar-free (zero grams sugar per serving)
*It is naturally gluten-free
*It is egg-free & dairy-free
*It is incredibly easy to make
*It is packed with whole grain goodness
*It has only 3 ingredients (excluding water, salt & baking powder)
*68 calories per slice
*And, it is incredibly delicious!
Buckwheat, one of my favorite grains, is the star of this amazing bread. Despite the name, buckwheat has no relation to wheat whatsoever. Rather, this naturally gluten-free grain is the seed of plant related to rhubarb. It is one of my favorite grains because it is packed with protein, fiber, an also an array of antioxidants (the same that are found green tea and dark chocolate). It is a wonderful choice for making truly feel-good (in every sense) bread!
I came across several recipes for simple, whole grain buckwheat bread–all essentially the same– on a variety of websites, which sparked the idea for this bread. They involved soaking the buckwheat in cold water for 2 to 8 hours and then mixing with combinations of chia seed and, in some cases, psyllium husk. I tried them multiple times, and each was a major disappointment, especially the psyllium husk version which deflated (majorly) upon removal from the oven, was extremely gummy (akin to an extremely under-baked bagel), and decidedly unbreadlike.
So, I went back to the drawing board. And after repeated attempts, I have a winner.
In the end, I nixed psyllium altogether and settled on a combination of whole buckwheat groats, flaxseed meal, and chia seeds.
The combination of chia and flax provides structure (i.e., no post-bake deflation) as well as texture and taste (flax, in particularly, complements the already nutty flavor of the buckwheat). Flax (and chia) have a high oil content, so I was able to nix any added oil, too.
Full disclosure: I am a fundamentally impatient person. This led me to experimenting with soaking the buckwheat in boiling water for a short time rather than soaking the buckwheat in cold water for an extended amount of time. It worked: the buckwheat begins to break down in about 20 minutes, while still leaving whole (but softened) groats for lots of nubby texture in the finished bread,
No draining is needed, either. The boiling water that goes in stays in. The chia seeds go right in with the buckwheat–no need to soak separately (one less dish to wash!). The flaxseed meal follows the soaking, absorbing some of the remaining water. Easy.
Following multiple test-batches, I settled on processing 2/3 of the buckwheat-flax-chia mixture to a finer consistency. This creates a finished loaf that is definitely bread (no crumbling slices); keeping 1/3 of the batter unblended ensures lots of tasty, hearty nubby-ness to the loaf.
This recipe works best if you use 3 small loaf (5×3-inch size) pans as opposed to one large 9×5 pan. As another measure to avoid deflate-gate, the pans are filled close to the top with batter. If yo do not have this size, do not worry–go smaller, including a muffin tin (shorten the baking time). Mostly, you want structure, so opt for small.
The bread bakes low and slow: 325F for an hour and 30 to 45 minutes. The result is beautiful, firm, hearty loaves with nutty, toasty flavor. Once completely cooled, they can be sliced thick or very thin. If you want bigger slices, just slice lengthwise!
The bread takes well to toasting (I love it best toasted), but it is still wonderful un-toasted, too.
I am crazy about this bread and hope that you will be, too! Let me know if you give it a try!
- 1-1/2 cups whole buckwheat groats, rinsed and drained
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 3-3/4 cups boiling water
- 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Place buckwheat and chia seeds in a large bowl; pour boiling water over. Let stand for 20 minutes (buckwheat should be breaking down, much of the water is absorbed).
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line 3 small (roughly 5x3-inch size) baking pans with parchment paper; lightly grease or spray remaining sides.
- Transfer roughly ⅔ of buckwheat mixture to a food processor or blender. Process, using ON/OFF pulses until almost , but not completely, smooth. Scrape back into bowl with remaining buckwheat. Vigorously stir to combine, also breaking up some of the remaining buckwheat.
- Add the flaxseed meal, baking powder and salt to bowl, stirring until blended. Spoon and spread into prepared pans, smoothing the tops.
- Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes until top appears dry and a toothpick inserted in center of each loaf come out clean.
- Transfer pans to a cooling rack and cool 10 minutes. Using parchment overhang, remove loaves from pan. Cool completely. Slice each loaf into 8 slices and eat (toasting optional, but recommended!)