Take it easy now! Don’t fall on the floor with shock! This really is a cooked, plant-based, totally gluten-free and coeliac friendly totally off-the-scale-amazing bread recipe!
Take this one step by step: get your head around the fact that this is fabulous bread is made from just one ingredient – buckwheat! And is the most simple to make, delicious and healthy bread out there (my opinion only of course!)
Buckwheat is totally gorgeous and versatile as a food, let alone the fact that it is insanely good for you, it works on many levels. It is packed with iron, zinc and selenium, has a high concentration of all the amino acids and has a good protein content. At my retreats and events I use it to make activated buckwheat flour, cheesecake bases, meet-burgers, meet-balls, muesli and so much more! It can be used to make pancakes, beer, porridge, noodles, It’s also amazing when just activated, dried and sprinkled with chocolate chips as a great snack! (I use it to create crunchy bits for my raw chocolates too!)
Buckwheat, despite the name, is not related to wheat, as it is not a grass. Instead, buckwheat is related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb. (Ref Wikipedia) Because its seeds are eaten and rich in complex carbohydrates, it is referred to as a pseudocereal. It is earning the reputation as the worlds healthiest food! You can use it to self ferment (aka you dont need to add any further cultures to it) to make a whole host of fermented raw or cooked dishes, you can use it to make rejuvelac (probiotic for making fermented yogurts and cheeses) and the list just goes on!
I was super thrilled to master this recipe with my friend Stefano Novellino at our latest Raw Food & Fermentation Retreat that I just had to ask his permission to blog it! Of course he said yes because like me he is obsessed with sharing great food, great knowledge and exploring more and more things plant-based, raw, organic and awesome!
The only ingredient you need is raw uncooked buckwheat (and a pinch of salt!) That’s right! It couldn’t be simpler! Make your bread any size – depending on how big you want your loaf! I suggest start off with a 4 cup recipe which makes a decent sized loaf for sharing.
This bread takes a day and a half to prepare and just 35-40 minutes to bake. But don’t panic. Nature does all the work. The two things you need for most fermented recipes (and this bread is no exception) are time and temperature! So as long as you have both – let nature do it’s thing and let the buckwheat unravel and release its nutritional potency and culinary magic for you.
Start: Early morning, soak buckwheat in a bowl with filtered or clean (room temp) water (not tap as any chlorine and other nasties present could seize the fermentation process). Use enough water to cover the seeds.Let them rest in the water for a few hours and then from time to time keep rinsing (aka pour them in to a large sieve over the sink and rinse them out then put back in to the bowl and top up again with fresh water). Give things a little stir to make sure that all the buckwheats are wet and covered in fresh water.
Keep rinsing and stirring regularly over a 24 hour period when you have time. The water should be a little pinky. Sometimes bubbly but never smelly. If you get a ‘rotten eggs’ smell then they will need to be binned I am afraid (this rarely happens but I thought I would mention it) as this means that they have been left too long or the room temperature is too warm.
If you live in a hot climate – keep an eye on things and rinse and repeat regularly.
The buckwheat is being cleaned and ‘activated’ you may even see a little ‘hair’ coming out the top of the buckwheat. This is very very normal and is a great sign that your buckwheat has been activated and is ready to grow!
After 24 hours – again in the early morning: put the rinsed seeds in a food processor with a big pinch of salt (good quality salt – no table salt please! Try flor do sal) and scant of water to create the bread dough. Process on the ‘S’ blade and complete when your mixture is dough-like and no longer resembles a bowl of seeds. It is best to do it in the morning so you have time to watch the dough throughout the day (but of course adjust this to suit your own schedule!) The ‘dough’ should look like thick sticky porridge and should slowly drip off a spoon. So use scant drops of tepid clean water to build your paste.
After processing transfer the mixture and leave in a bowl and watch for the start of fermenting/rising. Leave a clean tea-towel (cloth) over the bowl to stop flies entering and to keep your dough clean. Do not wait too long! Your dough is usually ready within 3-4 hours – which may vary depending on room temperature, again. You are looking for a ‘lift’ in the dough, a ‘bounce’ in the mixture and an ‘aerated’ look to it. It won’t look full of bubbles just yet but you should see some change. Be careful it doesn’t dry out at this stage (buckwheat can dry out very easily) and to help with this I keep a squirty bottle of clean tepid water handy to give it a fine misty spray if I think it is drying out. Best not to wait until after 4 hours – if you are not sure what you are looking out for use the 4 hour rule as a guide and carry on to the next stage.
Using flax oil, or a good quality olive oil, grease a bread pan/tin and put the mixture in. Shape using a wooden spatula and you may like to pat the mixture down a little so it’s flat. This may be helpful when the dough rises so you don’t get too large a ‘peak’ on top and an uneven bake. (See the left loaf tin in the pic below) I also like to work the wooden spoon around the edges so theres no real stick to eh pan. Cover with a clean tea-towel (cloth) again and leave to rise/ferment for a second time.
When you can see that it has risen (it will be higher in the pan, fluffy to touch and springy on the finger) it is ready to bake. Always have the oven heated to the right temperature (200c) before the bread goes in. If you are unsure what you are looking for at this stage use the 4 hour rule again – and be reminded that depending on the climate you are in and how hot your kitchen is – things may happen more quickly or more slowly.
Stefano once told me – the oven always waits for the bread – the bread never waits for the oven! So when it’s ready – bake immediately! Don’t leave it hanging around too long.
If you are feeling like a pro – use your water spray to spray the bread when it is in the oven – a few blasts above the bread should keep it moist enough while baking.
Bake on 200c (400f gas mark 6) for 35-40 minutes. Use your best judgement if it is ready or not! It should look like a freshly baked loaf of bread (because it is one!) a little crispy on top and a little toasted. This may be trial and error depending on your oven.
Once ready take the bread out of the oven and leave to cool a little in the pan for a few moments only. Release the bread from the pan, using oven gloves, and leave to stand on a cooling tray.
Enjoy with fresh food and salad! After the first day I enjoy this bread more when it is toasted as it can dry out quickly.
The main image features this recipe with a sprinkle of activated sunflower seeds pressed in to the top of the bread before baking. And please if you do make this bread let me know! I think it marks a revolution in bread making and is so very healthy it definitely fits in with most diets – especially gluten-free (without adding ridiculous gluten free products to the ingredients list!) is great for coeliacs and we also think may also be Gerson approved! At my latest retreat with some Gerson Interns they were certainly impressed!
If you would like to join me at one of our my organic weekends of raw food & fermentation making foods like this that are plant-based (cooked and raw) fermented, nutritious, delicious and satisfying then please check out the details here.
Keeping it juicy & raw