Sunday, November 16, 2008

Velvety Buckwheat Bread

This bread is a variation on the Basic Hearth Bread from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Bread Bible.  The variation is hers of course, not mine.  I liked the idea of this bread the first time I read about it, and I've been planning to try it for quite some time.  To refer to the original recipe click here.  You will need it to complete the bread, as I am only giving the variation.
  • In the dough starter (sponge): Omit the whole wheat flour and use a total of 1 1/4 cups (6.7 oz/192 grams) bread flour.  Increase the yeast from 3/8 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon.  Replace 2/3 cup of the water with 3/4 cup of sour cream (so you will use a total of 2/3 cup of water plus 3/4 cup sour cream for the liquid in this version).  
  • In the flour mixture:  Use 1 1/4 cups of bread flour and add 3/4 cup buckwheat flour.  
  • Bake at a lower temperature: 450 degrees for 5 minutes; then 400 degrees for 25-35 minutes more, until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.  I only needed the addtional 25 minutes in my oven.
This bread is definitely velvety.  You can tell the difference just in kneading the dough.  It is soft with the faint hint of the sour cream, giving it a smell similar to a very mild sourdough bread, but with a little nuttiness from the buckwheat flour.  When you make the starter, it will be thicker than the original version, so you won't be able to whisk it, just stir with a spoon until combined.  Also, I didn't throw the ice cubes into the pan at the bottom of the oven for this bread, I just misted it with a spray bottle and quickly closed the oven door.  The crust came out just right for me.

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