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Fermented buckwheat bread

Sat, 2 March, 2024

Gluten free bread that is actually tasty? Made with just buckwheat groats and water in a completely organic, natural fermentation process? Yes, and it’s also really easy and simple.

fermented buckwheat bread

Just two ingredients!

What happens if you add water to buckwheat groats? Sounds like the start of a lame TikTok recipe, where they pretend that just two things combined produce a wonderful dish. Only a few seconds later it turns out that also eggs, beef, spinach, flour and olive oil are needed.

But in this instance fermented buckwheat bread is made literally by soaking the groats in water, then minimally processing them and patiently waiting for the fermentation to occur.

Admittedly, there are seeds added to this loaf but they are not an essential ingredient. All that’s needed is buckwheat and water.

gluten free buckwheat bread

So… what exactly is buckwheat?

Whenever I write up a recipe with buckwheat in it I always remind you and myself that, contrary to its name, it has nothing in common with wheat – apart from also being a plant, that is.

Buckwheat is related to rhubarb, of all things, and sorrel – both, interestingly, very sour flavoured plants. Buckwheat groats, the seeds that are edible, are not sour in any way, but on the other hand they ferment beautifully which means lactic acid is produced by bacteria eating up the carbohydrates from the groats. Something sour this way comes too, clearly.

Buckwheat groats, the seeds of the plant are eaten in Eastern Europe as kasza: roasted and boiled, they produce a dish similar to rice, barley or bulgur, nutty, malty and quite starchy contrary to its source.


Buckwheat is also milled into flour, used in Asia to make soba noodles, in Brittany and France to make galettes, savoury pancakes, and elsewhere added to a mix of flours for baking gluten free bread.

But unlike those mixes which, frankly, I find rather vile, you can use only the buckwheat groats to make a really astoundingly good, rather unusual loaf of bread which will be completely safe for celiac sufferers (and even those with a pretend intolerance).

No milling into flour is necessary, all you need – and in this instance it’s true to the end – is raw buckwheat and water. What a wonderful discovery from Breadtopia!

naturally fermenting buckwheat bread

How to prepare buckwheat batter

It has to be raw, untoasted and unroasted so it can ferment freely. The first stage of the process is soaking, for about five to six hours, during which time the groats will swell slightly and release a lot of starch that will make the liquid rather unappetisingly viscous when you drain the groats.

soaking buckwheat

After draining, but not rinsing, they should be blitzed in a blender or a food processor with fresh water. The resulting gloop will be even less attractive!

blanding buckwheat

Bear with it though, and pour into a see-through jug or a container that will allow for some expansion of the batter (can we call it dough yet?) and will let you see the progress. There will be over a litre of the batter there to start with, and it should increase by about thirty percent. In a reasonably warm place that will take 24 to 30 hours.

fermenting buckwheat

Baking buckwheat bread

After the batter has risen, proved and expanded, gently stir in salt and seeds, if using any.

adding seeds to batter

Pour it into a loaf tin well lined with parchment – this dough is a sticky wicket! Let it prove for another half an hour, to rest and settle as it won’t rise any more, before transferring it to not too hot oven for about an hour and twenty minutes.

buckwheat bread batter

It might crack on the top surface and needs to rest for a while before slicing.

baked buckwheat bread

What does it taste like?

I won’t lie: it is an acquired taste to a certain extent, especially if you are of a fluffy white bread predilection. It resembles black rye breads the most, with its moist, solid crumb. But I love it: thickly buttered, with a drizzle of honey, it’s gorgeously malty and nutty.

It keeps exceedingly well for up to almost a week. When toasted, it requires a longer spell than wheat breads and won’t quite go dark like those ones. Instead, it turns crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle.

Nutrition powerhouse

And last but by no means least: it’s incredibly healthy. Buckwheat has been found to contribute to lowering cholesterol levels as well as blood sugar, and that’s on top of various minerals and beneficial compounds that strengthen blood vessels.

It is fibre-rich and lastly, importantly for the genuine sufferers, completely gluten free.

healthy gluten free bread

More buckwheat recipes

Galettes au sarrasin, buckwheat crêpes, with a classic topping of ham, cheese and an egg. The type of pancakes best suited to savoury toppings, galettes from Brittany are healthy and easy to make.

This one is not gluten free but the addition of buckwheat flour enhances its flavour: buckwheat sourdough bloomer, a handsome loaf, wonderfully chewy and very flavoursome.

Striped cake with a pattern of mixed berries, the look of summer. This striped berry cake recipe uses a mix of buckwheat, wholemeal and almond flour and it can be made gluten-free if the wheat flour is replaced by spelt.

More gluten free baking recipes

Almond cake with fresh raspberries, flavoured with cinnamon and lemon zest. It’s flourless, dairy and gluten free, yet wonderfully airy and soft.

Gluten free lava-like cookies with dark chocolate and brown sugar. I call them black hearted cookies because of their dark gooey centre, and they are also gluten free as made with buckwheat flour.

Lemon polenta cake, tender and not too sweet; wonderfully crunchy on the bite. It’s gluten free, easy to whip up and it looks like a round of delicious sunshine on the plate.

buckwheat bread

Fermented buckwheat bread

Servings: makes 1 loafTime: 2 hours plus fermenting overnight


  • 450g (212 cups) raw buckwheat groats, untoasted
  • 800g (3 cups) water for soaking the groats
  • 330g (113 cups) water for the fermentation
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 12 tbsp poppy seeds
  • more seeds for sprinkling on top of the loaf


1. Soak the groats in a large bowl for 5-6 hours. Drain on a sieve but don’t rinse.

2. Blitz them with the fresh water in a blender or food processor and transfer to a glass or plastic jug, about 2 litres, transparent so that you can see the expansion. Initially there will be about 5 cups (just over 1 litre) of the batter.

3. Cover the container and leave it in a warm place for 24-30 hours. It should increase in volume by about 30%, to 1.5 litres (6-6 ½ cups).

4. Line a loaf tin with parchment, otherwise the bread will stick.

5. Add the salt and seeds and gently mix in. Pour the batter into the tin and sprinkle with extra seeds. Leave it in a warm place (the oven with just the light on) for 30-40 minutes. It won’t rise any further.

6. Turn the oven on to 170C fan/350F/gas 4. Bake the bread for 70-80 minutes until the top is crusty and perhaps cracked and the internal temperature is 93C/200F.

7. Remove the tin from the oven, lift the loaf by the parchment and set on a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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