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Buckwheat cheaty sourdough

Naomi Devlin, our nutrition expert, calls this cheaty sourdough because it uses the bacteria in yogurt, or acid in lemon juice to do the work of friendly bacteria that occur naturally in a sourdough starter. Bakers yeast does the work of the wild yeasts in a sourdough culture. Yogurt gives the bread a more savoury flavour and that slight sourness I find so satisfying in a loaf. Soaking the flours this way makes them more digestible, lighter textured and more bread-like. A perfect option for anyone who doesn't have a sourdough starter to hand!


24 hours before you plan to bake your loaf, mix the first six ingredients in a stainless steel, glass or china bowl, cover and set aside at room temperature.

The mixture should look like cake batter - much wetter than standard bread dough. If you need to wait before baking your loaf, put the mixture in the fridge for up to another 24 hours.

After 24 hours is up, take a few spoonfuls of the soaked mixture and beat the yeast into it, until it is completely lump free - leave for a few minutes if using dried yeast. Add this, with the tapioca, ground linseed and molasses to the soaking mix, and beat until completely smooth using hands or a spoon.

The mixture should look like stiff cake batter now, but still be loose enough for you to scrape it into the tin, rather than mould it into a loaf – if it's too stiff, add a little water.

Line a 1lb (454g) loaf tin with baking parchment. Scrape in the mixture and level the top. Sprinkle with some sesame, sunflower, pumpkin or poppy seeds if you like. Leave to rise in a draft free place for around an hour, until the surface starts to show little cracks and feels puffy. The loaf will rise about 30% rather than double, as with traditional bread dough.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

Put the loaf gently into the oven, taking care not to bump it as you do, and bake for 20 minutes at 200°C.

Turn the oven down to 180°C and bake for another 40-50 minutes until the loaf is deep golden brown and feels firm when you press it at the sides.

Allow to rest for 5 minutes in the tin and then lift out using the parchment and cool on a rack in its paper. When cool, slice and freeze any that you won't eat that day to ensure that it stays completely fresh. Toast from frozen or defrost for a few hours at room temp.

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  • 220g buckwheat flour
  • 90g chestnut flour or teff flour
  • 80g ground almonds or coconut flour
  • 40g rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon live yogurt/water kefir/lemon juice
  • 400ml lukewarm water
  • 10g fresh yeast or 4g dried
  • 50g tapioca starch or arrowroot
  • 50g ground linseed
  • 1-2 tsp molasses or muscovado sugar


Sesame, sunflower, pumpkin or poppy seeds to sprinkle on top

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage HQ