Chad Robertson
Buckwheat with Toasted Groats & Crème Fraîche, adapted from Tartine: Book No. 3 by Chad Robertson.
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Buckwheat with Toasted Groats & Crème Fraîche

Chad Robertson, Tartine: Book No. 3 - December 19th, 2013

This recipe has been adapted from Tartine: Book No. 3 by Chad Robertson―a book featured in Words-to-Table Cooking, Food Arts' yearly roundup of chef-authored cookbooks.

“Buckwheat has always been a favorite grain and lends a haunting, earthy flavor to many of the world’s great cuisines, whether sarrasin crêpes of Brittany, delicate soba noodles from Japan, pasta and polenta in the Italian Alps, or hearty soups and stews across Central and Eastern Europe. When I first traveled to Hungary with my friend Nick Balla, chef at Bar Tartine, the bakery’s sister restaurant, we feasted on crimson-colored Mangalitsa pork sausage on bread, topped with spiced lardo and shaved onions. The sausage was outstanding; the bread, not so much—it was bleached white and puffed up with little flavor.

“Mangalitsa pork is renowned for its exceptionally creamy and flavorful fat. At home, a farmer friend was raising Mangalitsa pigs for us to use at Bar Tartine, and Nick, inspired by our trip, was curing lardo and making his own paprika sausages. I wanted to create a bread that would complement these bold flavors. Gluten-free buckwheat contributes even less structure to a dough than rye, but its flavor is equally distinct. To work enough buckwheat to taste into this dough without weakening it, we added toasted buckwheat groats as you would add nuts or seeds. To create a loaf with an open crumb using even higher percentages of buckwheat, I developed different techniques.

Yields 2 loaves

  • 150g buckwheat groats, toasted (see note below), soaked in warm water to cover for 1 hour, then drained
  • 70g crème fraîche
  • 500g high-extraction wheat flour
  • 450g medium-strong wheat flour
  • 50g whole-grain buckwheat flour
  • 70g wheat germ
  • 850 ml water
  • 150g leaven
  • 150g fine sea salt
  • coarsely ground buckwheat groats (for coating)
  1. Combine toasted groats and crème fraîche in small bowl; reserve.

  2. In another bowl, combine the flours and wheat germ. In second bowl, combine water and leaven; add flour mixture; mix by hand until thoroughly combined, about 5 minutes; rest dough, covered in bowl, 30 minutes; add salt; mix by hand until incorporated (the dough should have the feel of wet concrete); cover bowl with clean kitchen towel; let rise at warm room temperature (80° to 85°F/26° to 29°C), 3 to 4 hours [alternatively, you can accomplish the same goal more slowly by fermenting the dough overnight at cellar temperature (55°F/13°C)], folding dough every 30 minutes for first 2 1/2 hours (see note below), folding in crème fraîche and toasted groat mixture after first two series of turns, 1 hour into rise; after 3 hours and six foldings, dough should feel aerated, billowy, and softer with 20 to 30 percent increase in volume—if not, continue bulk rising 30 minutes to 1 hour longer.

  3. Remove dough from container; lightly flour top surface of dough; cut into two pieces; work each piece gently into a round by drawing the spatula around the side of the dough in a circular motion; flour tops of the rounds; cover with a kitchen towel; rest dough 20 to 30 minutes; line two medium baskets or bowls with clean dry kitchen towels; dust generously with 50/50 mixture of any wheat and rice flours.

  4. Fold dough final time; roll dough in buckwheat groats to coat; rest dough several minutes, leaving seams underneath; transfer to floured baskets; cover with clean dry kitchen towels; let dough rise at warm room temperature, 3 to 5 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.

  5. Heat oven to 500°F (260°C); adjust oven rack to its lowest position.

  6. Place 9 1/2” round cast-iron Dutch oven and lid into the oven to preheat; carefully transfer one dough round into preheated Dutch oven, tipping it out of basket into pot with seam-side down; score top of dough with razor blade; cover pot; return to oven.

  7. After 20 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 450°F (230°C); bake 10 minutes; carefully remove lid; continue to bake 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is deep golden brown; remove from oven; turn loaf out onto wire rack to cool.

Chef’s Notes: To toast buckwheat groats, heat the oven to 350°F (180°C); spread groats on baking sheet; toast until browned and aromatic, about 20 minutes. • To do a fold, dip one hand in water, grab the underside of the dough, stretch it out, and fold it back over itself. Rotate the container one-quarter turn and repeat three to four times. When you are folding the dough, note its temperature to the touch and how the dough is becoming aerated and elastic. • We don’t “punch” the dough down to degas at Tartine. We strengthen the dough by using gentle folds and turns. As flavor develops during the first rising, it is key to preserve that flavorful gas built up within the dough until the bread is baked.

Chad Robertson, Tartine Book No. 3, Chronicle Books (2013).