Friday, December 19, 2008

Buckwheat Sourdough

That's the only picture you're going to see of this bread. I'm just laying that out there, right now, before anyone gets up in arms about the dearth of pictures of this bread. It's for a very good reason, honestly. You see, I tend to be on the lookout for alternate flours whenever I walk into a grocery store, and this buckwheat flour just hopped into my basket the second I saw it. After consulting with Tommi, I turned to my (borrowed from the library) copy of Daniel Leader's Local Breads and ended up making this buckwheat sourdough bread.

Let's just say that it was more of a farce than that one picture shows you. Refreshing my starter, turning some into a buckwheat starter, mixing up the dough, those all went okay. And then it just sat. Like a beautiful, blue-gray flecked little lump. After six hours of staring at it, sticking it in my oven on warm, and staring at it some more, I said to heck with it. I shaped it into a basic boule (with a nice smattering of oil to keep it from sticking to everything and their mother) and stuck it on a parchment lined sheet pan, covered with plastic wrap and a towel. Well, 30 minutes later, reflecting on the stickiness of the dough, I realized that the plastic wrap was probably bonded to it. For life. I tried to scrape it off, but just ended up mangling the boule. Fine, I'll just reshape it and tent the plastic wrap over the dough using some teacups. We'll ignore the fact that I should have used the teacups to have some nice, calming tea by now. I wanted to murder that dough. Especially since it wouldn't keep its shape (I'm praying Santa brings me a banneton sometime soon...).

Pah. I shoved it in the oven after some half-hearted slashing, and left it to die. Thirty minutes later, I took out a loaf that was about the same size as before and heavy as a rock, just with a slash that didn't open up and edges that rose up instead. Grr. I let it cool, figuring that it'd end up in the garbage bin anyway. Right before bed, I took a knife and hacked an end off, mostly just to relieve my aggression towards this annoying bread. And then I tasted it.

Okay, so it's not the prettiest loaf on the block, but wow. That's one tasty and complex bread. And *crunch* *crunch* - it had the most delicious crust ever. So I forgave it. Mostly. I dole out a little more forgiveness towards it each time I have a slice, toasted, with a hunk of cheddar. Maybe by the time I've finished this loaf I'll have forgiven it completely? You never know.

And, despite my reservations, I'm sending this on to Susan for her Yeastspotting. Maybe someone else will have better luck than I with the aesthetic portion of this bread.

Buckwheat Sourdough
(Adapted from Daniel Leader’s Local Breads, shamelessly stolen from Tommi)

Buckwheat starter
25 grams ripe wheat starter (at 100% hydration)
20 grams water
25 grams buckwheat flour

Final dough
150 grams water
225 grams bread flour
25 grams buckwheat flour
70 grams buckwheat starter (all of it)
10 grams salt

The night before
Mix the buckwheat starter. Cover and let stand for 8-12 hours, until ripe.

Once the buckwheat starter is ready, combine the bread and buckwheat flours with the water. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Add the buckwheat starter and salt and knead 10-12 minutes by hand or 8-9 minutes in a stand mixer with a dough hook. The dough should be sticky and a little on the wet side. If you are kneading by hand try not to add much extra flour, instead coat your hands with oil to prevent sticking.

Bulk Ferment
Ferment in an oiled, covered container until doubled in bulk, somewhere in the area of 3-6 hours.

Divide and Shape
Split the dough in half or don’t. Preshape into rounds and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape however you like.

2 hours or until the imprint of your finger doesn’t bounce back immediately.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Slash loaves and load with steam. Wait a minute then turn the oven down to 450. Bake for 25 minutes if you have 2 loaves and 30 minutes if you have one.


Marie said...

That bread sounds and looks incredible! I am so hopeless at bread making though. I shall just have to admire yours from afar! :-)

rainbowbrown said...

I KNOW that no bread would ever fail again and life would just be BETTER if we all had bannetons. Unfortunately my santa doesn't have any idea what a banneton is. I'm glad the flavor turned out. You know those wild Saccharomyces, they're finicky creatures.

TeaLady said...

Buckwheat. I have some of that, but didn't really know what to do with it. Got it at the Blue Ridge at a neat, still operating, water mill. Will try this bread. Thanks.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

No worry this is a great YeastSpotting! I must try this one. Love buckwheat!

Natashya said...

Well it looks yummy!
I found my Leader breads didn't rise much, nice to know I am not alone! From Peter Rienhardt I learned to spray oil on everything. Bowl, dough and plastic.
I am thinking of designing a rising box with a lamp in it, like using the oven with the light on without tying up the oven. I am wondering if it is my chilly Canadian kitchen...
ps, tell Santa I want a banneton too.

Cakelaw said...

Good on you for perservering and ending up with such a fantastic result. It's funny how what seems like a disaster can turn out well.

Gretchen Noelle said...

What great looking bread. Can't wait to play with buckwheat flour!

Susan said...

I love the taste of buckwheat and glad yours didn't end up in the trash after all!

NatureWriter said...

I was searching for "buckwheat sourdough" and was thrilled to discover your blog!

I am mostly gluten-free and decided to make a sourdough culture from scratch using only buckwheat flour. However, on second thought, I realized that maybe the sourdough microorganisms need the gluten to get started.

Do you have any insight into this dilemma? Thanks!

NatureWriter said...

Engingeer Baker---I thought you might find it comical how my first try at a sourdough starter ended up. Thanks again for your help...I'm going to try again!