It’s been a while since we talked bread, dear reader. No, this isn’t a shake down. I’m talking about the ever humble loaf, more specifically the bread recipes that have endured with me, never becoming tiresome, Unlike me? How dare you! No matter how you slice it, talking dough can be dull, I’ll try to liven up this series, yes, a series, with a little wit scattered here and there. I was considering a post collecting this all together, but I think this way will be best, I don’t have any new photos to share, and as I’m just me I won’t be baking each bread again solely for portraits , my freezer is well stocked already, the original recipe pages have plenty of photos. What I hope to accomplish here is a recap of all these breads have provided, all the ways they’ve enriched my diet, all the ways they celebrate the ingredients, the diversity of simple recipes, their numerous preparations. What I’ll do is choose an individual recipe and work through that as that seems to be the best way, these posts aren’t going to feature every single bread, there are much too many for that, instead they’ll focus on the breads that I have continued to eat and never tired of.
First up: Buckweat Flour Bread!
Ah, the basic buckwheat loaf is the cornerstone of my understanding of free-from breads. It has created so many recipes thanks to its versatility and simplicity. Raw buckwheat flour has to be the greatest of all the single-use free-from flours, to me at least. I’ve always made my breads without gums or added starches and I feel that this bread, even at its most basic, shows why that should be something everyone tries. I do have a preference for either extra eggs or the flaxseed option as these eliminate the extreme dryness that the original loaf suffers from. This isn’t a complex bread, but in truth I’ve eaten a few commercial free-from loaves that haven’t touched it. You’re tasting buckwheat here, no fake textures, simple wholesome ingredients with no fuss. I do have a preference for firmer free-from breads, I’m not a fan of the mushier textured breads so this has been continuously stocked in my freezer.
The science behind why this works is vague, I use it, but I don’t always understand the reason why, but really it’s just that buckwheat and its strength, from starch content I imagine, means a loaf can be firm and won’t crumble even when cut fresh out of the oven. The trick is to get enough liquid in, the batter has to have a sort of runny thickness. I does take practice to get it just right every time, that’s true of anything really. No matter how much I know I can’t condense it down so that you can grasp it on your first try. Thankfully it is a very forgiving recipe. The slow baking is key here. If the bread rises too fast it can deform and the exterior can become too dry before the centre is cooked. Luckily it bakes fast through. If you’re unsure, even with a skewer test, then press the top down, if it yields too much, again you’ll know what too much is in time, then back into the oven it goes. You’re best to freeze it on the day of baking as it will get stale after a day or two. That’s true of a lot of fresh baked goods really. I just slice it when fully cool, make sure it is fully cool as it’ll get soggy when defrosting, pop it into bags and freeze. Defrosting it as needed. It slices thin and thick so you can have it the way you prefer.
I’ve found this works best when thought of as as a strong-flavoured bread, I’m so used to the taste of buckwheat it doesn’t register on my taste-buds any more. I’ve had people say it’s like brown flour if that helps. It doesn’t toast very well, it just becomes dry and crumbly. It can be made as a large loaf or a smaller set, I like to make them smaller as the crust, however slight, and interior are in a better ratio. It’s a bread that can have so much added to it, I’ve made entire recipes, with multiple variations, based on that fact alone. If you need a loaf that cover numerous allergies and intolerances then this is that loaf. I’m not breaking out the hyperbole and telling you it’ll taste just like the bread you remember, I’m a long time away from those days, this is a buckwheat loaf, unique in its own right, but you might have to acclimatise yourself to it. That’s entirely on you, if you’d rather made your breads with gums and starches then go to it. This loaf has kept me balanced health-wise and taught me that you have to compromise, to give up what you knew and replace it with better options, which in time you will learn to love. Eat it with butter and jam, spread with healthy nut butters, top with cheese, meat, whatever and you’ll find this humble loaf is an enduring help to free-from eaters everywhere. I’m so glad I made this recipe and stuck with it. I hope you’ll give it a look too, dear reader.
This is just one of my main breads, I hope that in sharing this and others I’ll show newcomers, and oldies alike, just how many options are being presented to you here on Pep’s Free From Kitchen, that even with numerous problem food sets you can still eat well, eat better than you’d ever get in the store and, most importantly, eat enjoyable food that won’t break diets or your heart. That’s it for part one, I’ll see you next week for the next instalment. Regular posts will be incoming too. If you have any questions about this or other breads then ask below I’ll try to help as best I can.