This one was a bit of a pantry raider – every now and again it is good to have a dig through and find what is left on the shelf before restocking. I also had a request from my wife to bake a bread with less white flour, which gave me a good opportunity to experiment with the unique flavour and texture of buckwheat flour.
Buckwheat isn’t actually a ‘wheat’ at all; it is a cold climate plant that is in fact similar to rhubarb. Its seeds have no gluten, making it suitable as a wheat substitute in pancakes, cakes and bread. In this case, I wasn’t particularly aiming for a gluten free bread, and so was able to use up the end of a bag of organic wholemeal flour that I picked up recently in Melbourne.
The texture of the bread, which also contained a large portion of my rye starter, is dense but not overly so. Unlike a pure rye bread, or a gluten free bread, there is enough gluten in the wholemeal flour to give the crumb a slightly open, lighter texture. I also added soaked and cooked porridge oats to the mix to soften the texture slightly. The crust is the most important part of this kind of loaf – dark, chewy, and intensely flavoured. The smell from the buckwheat is unmistakable, and a final coating of wholemeal oats on one of the loaves give an added crunch.
Buckwheat and Oat Porridge Sourdough makes 2 large loaves
- 1 cup wholemeal porridge oats
- 2 cups water
- 400g rye starter @ 150% hydration
- 500g wholemeal flour
- 300g buckwheat flour
- 500g lukewarm water
- 20g salt
- additional oats for coating (optional)
- In a microwavable container, combine the oats and water. These quantities will result in roughly 500g cooked porridge. Soak overnight. Refresh the starter.
- Microwave the porridge for 4 minutes, stir, and microwave for 4 minutes again. Allow to cool to about 35˚C.
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Autolyse for 25 minutes.
- Knead in the bowl for 5-8 minutes. A longer knead is not necessary (or beneficial) due to the low gluten content of the dough.
- Bulk ferment the dough for 4-5 hours at room temperature, until visibly risen and springy to the touch.
- This dough is extremely sticky, so use additional wholemeal flour to flour both your hands and a work surface. Tip the dough out onto the work surface and divide into two. Shape into two rough balls and rest for 5 minutes.
- Shape the dough into two boules. If you are going to add oats to the crust, you can do this now. Transfer the dough to a well floured bread peel or the back of a baking tray.
- Proof for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to maximum with a Dutch oven on the middle shelf.
- Baking one loaf at a time, remove the Dutch oven, take off the lid, and slide the first loaf inside. Replace the Dutch oven with the lid on. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, then a further 15 minutes with the lid off, reducing the heat to 230˚C if necessary.
- Cool on a wire rack and repeat with the remaining loaf.