Some people have closets full of clothes and shoes and jewelry. Me? I've got closets full of flours and grains (and cookbooks and kitchen gadgets but we won't talk about that, will we?) I've been cursed with a fairly teeny kitchen so I've got stuff in the basement, in the hallway, in my bedroom and in a custom closet in our spare room. (Seriously, when we had to redo that room recently to repair water damage from a burst pipe, Item 1 on my must-have list was a pantry closet for my baking stuff—yes, in a bedroom.) I collect grains like other people collect cats—OMG, I'm a Crazy Grain Lady!
My latest grain obsession has been with those of the ancient variety. What, you might ask, is an ancient grain? Well, according to the Whole Grains Council, there's no official definition, but they're generally considered to be grains that have remained unchanged/un-hybridized over the last several hundred years. Einkorn, emmer, kamut, spelt—even things like sorghum, millet, teff, quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat can be classified as ancient grains. But modern wheat? Not so much. Baking with ancient grains on their own can be a bit of a challenge so when I volunteered to host this month's #BreadBakers event, I thought, "Why not? Who doesn't like a challenge? Ancient grains it is." (There was a little back and forth as to what qualified but nobody's mailed any poisonous snakes to me—yet—so I think it's all good.)
I would say that this spelt and buckwheat soda bread falls into the "interesting" category but not necessarily in a bad "interesting" way, although I'll be honest and say that other people liked it more than I did. I made two variations, one with white spelt and white buckwheat (with currants) and one with sprouted whole grain spelt and whole grain buckwheat (sprinkled with sea salt). Homemade or otherwise, soda breads in general, in my opinion, tend to be a bit heavy and dense and somewhat on the dry side, and these were no exception. Buckwheat is gluten-free and rough to bake with on its own. Spelt is not gluten-free so it helped offset the heaviness of the buckwheat a little. The white version was a bit lighter and sweeter (I added a little extra honey which MAY have contributed to this bread's very unexpected golden color); the whole grain version was very nutty and earthy. Both definitely benefitted from a nice schmear of jam and/or sweet butter. I wouldn't consider these breads to be a fail—as I said, others liked them a lot (I'm not a fan of nutty flavors in general since I kind of hate nuts)—so if you're up for a little experimentation in the kitchen, they might be worth a try. If nothing else, soda breads are super quick and easy-peasy (are you sick of that phrase yet?) so it's not like you'll be sucked into a black hole of toil and trouble. And you never know…could be a winner.
Spelt and Buckwheat Soda Bread
- 2-1/2 cups spelt flour (white or whole grain)
- 1-2/3 cups buckwheat flour (white or whole grain)
- 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup currants (optional)
- 1 -1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp honey (or more to taste—I used buckwheat honey)
- Sea salt for sprinkling (optional, leave it off if you use the currants)
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle it with flour.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flours, baking soda, and salt (and currants, if using) and stir to combine.
- In a measuring cup or small bowl, add the buttermilk, egg and honey and whisk to combine thoroughly.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with a dough whisk or wooden spoon until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead briefly until smooth and no dry flour remains. (You can add a bit more buttermilk if the dough feels too dry and more flour if it feels too wet.)
- Form the dough into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle flour over the dough ball, then score the dough in an X and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt if desired.
- Bake for about 35–40 minutes until the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
- Cool on a wire rack. This bread is absolutely, positively best when eaten the day it's baked.
Adapted from Vikalinka
I used the larger amount of honey when I made the white version. The bread definitely benefits from a little more sweetness so I'd probably go with that for the whole grain version as well. I'd also probably add a bit more buttermilk to both versions.
Bob's Red Mill is a good source for the whole grain spelt and buckwheat flours and they should be available locally at any well-stocked grocery store. I ground my own whole-grain spelt for these breads.
As always, all links are just that, plain old links. No affiliates or whatnot. I only link to things I use and like.
#BreadBakers January 2016: Ancient Grains
This month's BreadBakers' theme is Ancient Grains, hosted by moi. Ancient grains are generally accepted to mean grains that have remained largely unchanged/un-hybridized over the last several hundred years, which means NO MODERN WHEAT. Here's what our creative bakers came up with.
- Ancient 4 Grain Breakfast Bread from Cindy's Recipes and Writings
- Ancient Grain Carrot Bread from The Schizo Chef
- Barley Flour Donut Muffins from I Camp in my Kitchen
- Blueberry Peach Quinoa Oatmeal Muffins from Magnolia Days
- Buckwheat Savoury Pancakes from Mayuri's Jikoni
- Dimbleby's Breastfeeding Bread from Food Lust People Love
- Eggless Sorghum and Pearl Millet Banana Muffins (Eggless Jowar and Bajra Banana Muffins) from G'Gina's Kitchenette
- Foxtail Millet Bagels from Cooking Club
- Garlic Cheesy Einkorn Crackers from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Injera Bread from Spiceroots
- Little Millet Banana Bread from Sara's Tasty Buds
- Millet Idli from Gayathri's Cook Spot
- Multigrain Seeded Loaf from What Smells So Good?
- Quinoa Banana Bread from Wholistic Woman
- Seeded Spelt Boules from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Spelt and Einkorn Sourdough with Caramelized Onions from Karen's Kitchen Stories
- Spelt Bread from Hostess at Heart
- Spelt Sweet Potato Paratha from Cook's Hideout
- Teff Crepes with Spinach and Mushrooms from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Yeasted Jowar Naan from Sneha's Recipe
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to email@example.com.