ye olde bread blogge

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Pain au levain de sarrasin

with 6 comments

Buckwheat … hmm, weird stuff. It is not wheat and unlike wheat, no grass.

“Contrary to its name, buckwheat is not a wheat. The plant is more bush-like than the tall slender stalks of most grains. It is a member of the Polygonaceace family along with dock, sorrel, bindweed and knotweed. Buckwheat is also closely related to rhubarb. Buckwheat is well known for its hardiness and overall ability to thrive in even very poor conditions.” (

What to do with it? Like barley, for instance, it does not contain stretchy proteins that would allow a large percentage to be added to bread doughs. But by using finely milled buckwheat flour and mixing it with strong white flour, it transforms a white pain au levain into something rustic and mellow. The nutty flavor goes well with mild cheeses. (But what doesn’t?)

Pain au levain de sarrasin (2 loaves)

Levain build

  • 20g buckwheat flour (5%)
  • 80g strong white flour (20%)
  • 10g levain, hydration: 100%
  • 100g water (25%)

– Let stand at room temperature for 16-20 hours.


  • Levain build (50%)
  • 220g strong white flour (55%)
  • 80g buckwheat flour (20%)
  • 160-180g water (to make a soft dough, 40-45%)
  • 7g salt (1.75%)

– Mix all ingredients to a “shaggy” mass. Let rest for 10 minutes, then knead for 10 seconds and let rest for 10 minutes more. Knead briefly for 10 seconds and let rest for 30 minutes. Give the dough a fold and let rest for 2.5 hours. Fold the dough at least twice in that period. The buckwheat flour weakens the dough making it rather sticky and unresponsive.

– Shape into two oblong loaves and prove for 2-3 hours. An intermediate rest is not necessary, if the dough is very wet.

– Bake at 240°C for 25-30 minutes. Risk having a few spots of burnt dough, the long exposure to high heat makes this bread flavorful.

Source: My own recreational formula. Slow-kneading technique as read in “The handmade loaf” by Dan Lepard.

Buckwheat. Source:


Written by theinversecook

29 August 2007 at 19:53

Posted in Bread, Brot, food, pain, pane, Recipe

6 Responses

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  1. I’ll bake this bread soon; buckwheat is one of my favorites (including pasta made from it) and I was looking for a recipe with levain.


    30 August 2007 at 08:34

  2. Ah, of course, buckwheat pasta. That was in the back of my head all time, I have read about it in many Italian cookbooks. Thanks for the hint, I will try that.


    30 August 2007 at 14:45

  3. If you like buckwheat and want to try a great product,I make a Roasted Buckwheat(Kasha)Pancake Mix called Grateful Ed’s. It’s a Whole Grain product that I started in my kitchen. The roasted buckwheat makes a flour that is nutty and sweeter than regular buckwheat flour. Just an idea.

    ed Wagner

    30 August 2007 at 20:01

  4. @ ed Wagner: Thanks for the pointer. An interesting insight and product. Rye also develops a nice maltiness when lightly roasted, I think.


    30 August 2007 at 21:17

  5. Buckwheat it’s also the ingredient of Soba, the japanese noodles. Delicious served cold and dipped in a soy based sauce. Eaten in japan some years ago,I still remember the taste!


    14 September 2007 at 00:31

  6. I just had them for dinner (I think. The package notes were a bit shady.) Surprising, unusual flavor. Good flavor. Now I need a really good soy sauce. Thanks for the top.


    21 September 2007 at 17:18

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