Baking has something of the stuff of miracles…
I have been making my own gluten-free leavened bread for about two years now on a regular basis, and I am gradually uncoiling its mysteries.
First I developed a basic buckwheat bread recipe that I have been adapting to the stock of my pantry and the spur of the moment.
I am thankful that buckwheat walked into my life and revealed its great potential to me. I think I was introduced to it by my mother who once bought a pack of it at a store selling natural products in Greece. Her kind intention was to use the buckwheat flour as a substitute; for me, it very soon became a staple in its own right.
Buckwheat is not a grain as its name suggests, but a herb. Yet it can be used in a variety of baked products. It is rich in protein, fibers, antioxidants and phytase, an enzyme which breaks down the anti nutrient phytic acid, an indigestible form of phosphorus (impressed you, he?), naturally present in seeds and grains.
Souring and soaking are beneficial techniques that have been used throughout times to render foods more digest and nutritious by hydrolising phytic acid (why did we not learn this at Chemistry class by the way?).
All that said, what could be better in a glutenfree world than a sourdough buckwheat bread? Maybe a glutenfree sourdough beer buckwheat bread. Because that’s what I have been trying my hands on lately. I may not drink alcohol, but I do bake it without scruples.
The beer I have been using is an organic, blond and glutenfree ale bought at the local supermarket. Apart from marrying very well with the gentle sourness of the sourdough, I think that the beer gives the bread an extra boost.
This recipe is not for the impatient baker, as it does require some waiting; however, in its essence it is very simple – and fun! – and the bread that comes out is definitively worth the wait.
- 180 g / 3 times 60 g buckwheat flour
- 3 times 100 ml warm water at 37 degrees C (98.6 F)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 230 g buckwheat flour
- 100 g chickpea flour
- 50 g whole buckwheat grains
- 30 g millet flakes
- 20 g buckwheat flakes
- 40 g flaxseed
- 30 g nuts or seeds (optional)
- 1 tbsp psyllium or chia seeds (optional)
- 30 g raisins (optional)
- 2 tbsp cocoa (optional) or 1 tsp turmeric powder (optional)
- 1 tsp each of fennel and cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp bread spice
- 1 pinch of salt
- 250 ml glutenfree beer
- 300 ml boiling hot water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Mix 60 g buckwheat flour, 100 ml water at 37 degrees (98,6 F) and a tablespoon of honey in a container.
- Cover the container, leaving the lid ajar so that the starter can breath. Place in a warm and draft-free spot.
- Add 100 ml of water at 37 C and another 60 g of buckwheat flour, mix.
- Repeat the same process as above.
- You can start baking on the evening of day three, or on day four, depending on when you start the sourdough (morning or evening).
- Place the seeds, flakes, buckwheat grains, raisins and nuts in a bowl, pour 300 ml of boiling hot water over the mixture and let soak for 30 min.
- Process the cumin and fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar.
- Place the flours, bread spice, cumin and fennel seeds, cocoa/turmeric, in a separate, big bowl. Add a pinch of salt.
- Heat up the beer to 37 degrees and remove from the stove.
- Pour the beer over the dry ingredients, add the olive oil and mix. Add the sourdough starter and the soaked grains. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated and the dough is thick and fluffy.
- Sprinkle with some buckwheat or oat flakes, cover with a clean plastic bag, or a towel and let rise for at least two hours, or overnight.
- Heat the oven to 220 degrees C (425 F).
- Grease a bread form and coat it with flour, sesame or flax seeds. You could also line the form with slightly greased parchment paper.
- Pour the bread mixture into the form making sure to keep the edges clean.
- Coat with sesame or poppy seeds if you like.
- When the oven is hot, make diagonal incisions on the surface of the bread.
- Pour 50 ml of cold water into the oven before placing the form onto the lower rack.
- Bake for 20 min at 220 degrees and then lower to 175 degrees (347 F) and bake for another 40-45 min.
- Remove from the oven and let cool under a tea towel.
- When cool, remove the bread from the form and keep in a plastic food bag.
- Preferably wait until the next day before slicing.
- Refrigerate the bread and consume it within less than a week so it does not go bad
- Preferably slice half of it and place in the freezer