Buckwheat is high in minerals like iron and potassium, a good source of protein, and, not only that, it has more Vitamin B than wheat! I ate buckwheat “porridge” for breakfast every day while I was pregnant with Per – at that time nothing could be healthy enough for the benefit of my first child.
It took a while to get used to its strong and distinctive taste (and I softened it with generous amounts of cream and honey). But I thought that in a bread, buckwheat might add a very interesting flavor, so I looked for a recipe. I found one in my old German baking book, and played for quite a while around with it.
I tried it several times, in different ways, but the result was never really satisfying. Something was missing, the taste was okay, but not that great, so I put it away, to work on it another time, perhaps.
But buckwheat grows right here in Maine, and when, for the first time, I tasted Ployes (French Acadian buckwheat pancakes) I remembered my quest for a good buckwheat bread.
And this time, using a different technique, some spices and a little bit of honey, my buckwheat bread turned out as tasty as I had hoped. It can be done with white buckwheat flour, whole buckwheat, or a combination, depending on your preference for a milder or more assertive taste.
100 g whole rye flour
100 g whole buckwheat flour
100 g white buckwheat flour (or all whole or white buckwheat flour)
4 g salt
225 g water
175 g water (lukewarm)
6 g instant yeast
295 g bread flour
4 g salt
16 g honey
1 tsp. coriander, ground
½ tsp. anise seeds, ground
In the morning, stir together soaker ingredients, until well hydrated. Cover, and let sit at room temperature.
In the evening, stir together water and instant yeast. Add to other ingredient for final dough, and mix (with paddle attachment) on lowest speed for 1 minute (or by hand). Let dough sit for 5 minutes.
With dough hook (or by hand), knead on medium-low speed, for 2 min. Dough should be very supple and sticky. Continue to mix for 4 min. more. Dough will still be sticky.
Transfer dough to floured work surface, and, with wet or oiled hands, stretch and fold dough (pull one side up and fold it over itself, repeat this maneuver with other three sides). Let rest for 10 min, and repeat stretches and folds 3 more times (total time 40 minutes). Gather dough into a ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl (seam side down), cover and refrigerate overnight.
Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hrs. before using.
Preheat oven to 475 F/250 C, including steam pan. Divide dough in 2 equal pieces. Shape 2 boules, and proof in bannetons (seam side up) or on parchment lined baking sheet (seam side down), for ca. 45 – 60 minutes, or until grown to 1 1/2 times their original size.
Score breads crosswise. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 F/200 C, rotate 180 degrees, and continue baking for another 15 minutes (internal temperature at least 200 F/93 C, and bread should sound hollow when thumped on bottom).
Let breads cool on wire rack.