Sprouted Buckwheat Bread

Nutrient rich bread: 30% whole wheat & 30% sprouted buckwheat

The first sprouted bread I made was quinoa. The quinoa spelt bread excels beyond the typical artisan bread characteristics of open crumb and crust. Sprouting, or germination, is the point at which the seed begins to transform from a grain into a plant through enzymatic process that breaks down starch into simple sugars to fuel the plant growth. Inherent nutrients, vitamins and minerals in the germinating plant are rendered more accessible and easy to absorb for our digestive system. I am after these health and nutritional benefits of the sprouted breads.

Sprouted grain boosts the overall protein of the loaf, adding a slightly green flavor. It’s time to experiment with other grains. Buckwheat has always been a favorite grain and lends an earthy flavor to many world’s cuisine. Pasta and polenta in the Italian Alps and soba noodles from Japan. It has bold flavor but no gluten to give the bread dough the necessary structure to expand and rise. Sprouting buckwheat groats is one way to get around that while imparting the earthy buckwheat flavor in the bread. Another way to put buckwheat in bread, that I can think of, is by cooking buckwheat and folding the porridge in the bread dough. An exciting bread idea to consider baking sometime!

The bread takes on the color of buckwheat and has a slightly sweeter flavor

Any grain with endosperm and germ intact will sprout. The technique in sprouting grains is essentially the same for most grains. The steps are outlined in the cheat sheet below. You start by soaking the whole intact buckwheat in water in a clean glass jar until it germinates. It’ll take two to four days depending on the room temperature. Rinse, drain, aerate (oxygen promotes sprouting) the grains twice a day until you see sprouts emerge, but before spider shoots develop. The sprouted buckwheat can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a few days. Drain the sprouted grains thoroughly before incorporating them into the dough, an hour after the start of bulk rise.

Germinating buckwheat groats

This recipe comes from Chad Robertson’s Tartine Book No. 3, the source of all the great alternative approaches (porridge and sprouted) in piling on more whole-grain and nutrient goodness in bread. The sprouted buckwheat features 30% of the total flour weight, in wheat flour, and another 30% in buckwheat groats. The resulting bread takes on the characteristic darker tone of buckwheat. No one who has eaten this bread could tell there is buckwheat in the dough. Everyone raves about the flavor, but can’t quite articulate why. The bread has a soft and tender crumb with a slightly sweeter wheat flavor. Not bland. Very easy to like and no one would object, like someone you’d feel comfortable bringing home to meet mom and dad. A tinge of earthy sweetness does set this bread apart.



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