A remarkable loaf of delicious, nutritious, easy-to-make bread, made with whole buckwheat (plus water and salt). It is flourless and naturally oil-free, gluten-free, alkaline, and vegan.
A loaf of bread, made with nothing more than buckwheat, plus some water and salt? It is difficult to believe, but 100% true. Moreover, it is delicious and nutritious, too.
I do not know who first developed the recipe for buckwheat bread made with whole buckwheat and little else, but she was a genius. The first version I had was back in my graduate school days. A friend made such a loaf–she called it sourdough buckwheat bread–and shared half with me. I wasn’t much of a bread maker back then, save for quick breads and muffins, so despite loving the loaf, I didn’t get the recipe.
But now I have a version of my own, and I am thrilled to share it with all of you. You don’t need to be a bread baker to make it, either, because it is a cinch to make.
A quick caveat: you need to plan ahead. Although the steps are extremely simple to follow, you will need to plan ahead, as it takes a while to soak both the buckwheat and the batter.
First up, you need some buckwheat. Whole, hulled buckwheat. It’s available at natural food stores, online, and in the natural foods sections of some really well-stocked grocery stores.
In grain lingo, these are groats. Ironically, buckwheat is not a true grain, and has no relation to wheat, either.
Rather, buckwheat is the naturally gluten-free, alkaline seed of a plant related to rhubarb. It is PACKED with nutrients, including protein, fiber and flavonoids (antioxidants) and is also very low on the glycemic level.
To make the bread, first rinse the buckwheat through a mesh sieve (to remove any residue). Place the drained buckwheat in a large glass bowl and fill with enough water to cover the groats by about 2 inches. Place a napkin or kitchen towel over the top and soak for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours in a cool, dark place.
Drain the buckwheat, and then place the sieve over a bowl to allow the groats to drain for another minute or so. DO NOT RINSE. I know, the water will be gooey and slimy (it is tempting to rinse it all off), but you need the goo for the success of the bread. Discard all of the soaking water,
Place the drained groats into a food processor or blender, along with 1 and 1/4 cups of fresh water and (if desired) salt. Process until the mixture is blended, and comes together into a cohesive batter, but still has some texture.
Scrape the batter into the same large glass bowl and cover once again with a cloth napkin or dishtowel. Let the batter stand in a lukewarm place for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours in order to ferment.
Following this second wait time, the batter will be slightly frothy or bubby near the surface.
Preheat the oven to 425F and grease or oil a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, taking care not to deflate all of the bubbles.
Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown, especially at the edges, and the center is set and firm. Cool the bread in the pan completley before removing it.
This is a dense, German-style loaf. It is especially good toasted, but I am also a fan of very thin slices topped with all kinds of sweet and savory spreads, vegetables and fruits. You cannot go wrong, it is delicious any way you slice it!
You can add in all kinds of extras, too. The first loaf I tasted, way back when, had chopped nuts and seeds added for extra crunch and nutrition. Herbs and spices are great too, as is the addition of 1 or 2 tablespoons of dark molasses (yum!).
Making this recipe? I would love to see it!
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- 2 and ½ cups (460 g) buckwheat groats, rinsed
- fine sea salt
- Place the rinsed buckwheat in a large glass bowl; fill with water, enough to cover buckwheat by 2 inches (5 cm). Loosely cover with a cloth napkin or towel. Soak for a least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Drain buckwheat through a mesh strainer; set strainer over bowl and let continue to drain for a minute longer (the liquid will be gooey). DO NOT RINSE.
- In a food processor or blender, place the drained buckwheat, 1 and ¼ cups (310 mL) water, and optional salt (I recommend ½ teaspoon). Process until blended but still has some texture (see photo).
- Pour buckwheat batter back into a large glass bowl and cover with a kitchen cloth. Let sit for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours (it will rise slightly and a bit bubby).
- Preheat oven to 425F (218C). Spray or grease a 9x5-inch (22.5x 12.5 cm) pan; pour in batter, being careful not to deflate bubbles.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes until browned (especially at edges) and completely firm/set at the center.
- Cool completely in pan set on a wire rack.
Add-Ins: If you like add in nuts and/or seeds (up to 1 cup total), dried herbs, or spices. Add to the blender when blending the buckwheat (for finely chopped pieces of nuts and seeds), or stir in after blending and before the batter ferments. You do not want to stir in additions after fermenting as it can deflate the batter.