buckwheat sourdough starter

How to Make and Maintain a Buckwheat Sourdough Starter (Gluten-free)

Why Sourdough?

Using a sourdough starter allows you to bake without using commercial yeast. This is good because most commercial yeasts are genetically modified. If that isn’t enough to make you want to avoid them, many people unknowingly react to commercial yeasts. Also, the process of fermenting the buckwheat (or any grain or seed) releases it’s phytates. This makes the vitamins and minerals in the fermented grain much more bio-available (ready for your body to use). Using a buckwheat sourdough starter gives you a nutritious as well as tasty way to make gluten-free, grain-free breads, pancakes, waffles, tortillas, and many other treats.

Starting with an established starter

I looked all over for an established buckwheat sourdough starter, but I could not find one. For the past few years, I have used an established wheat starter (all-purpose) that I bought from Cultures for Health. I still use it as well as a whole wheat version that is also from them. An established starter gives you the most predictability with your baked goods, right out of the gate. I ended up deciding to buy an established gluten-free sourdough starter that had been made with brown rice and training it to “eat” buckwheat instead. I am so happy with the results!

Eating Seasonally

While I love both of my wheat starters, we are trying to eat seasonally as much as possible. Wheat is more a fall/winter grain, so during the spring months we are using the buckwheat sourdough starter I made. If you would like a handy list about what to eat each season, John Doulliard, an Ayurvedic physician, has a great one! He also has a great book called Eat Wheat if you have been talked into going wheat-free but are not Celiac or severely gluten intolerant.

Why Buckwheat?

Buckwheat is not related to wheat at all. It is actually a seed related to rhubarb that:

  • is loaded with magnesium (which most of us are deficient in). 
  • is a good source of potassium, iron, and B vitamins
  • has more protein than any of the grains traditionally consumed in the SAD (Standard American Diet), such as wheat, rice, or corn.
  • contains the essential amino acids lysine and arginine. 
  • contains a fair amount of resistant starch (Source). Resistant starch (also known as prebiotics) feeds the probiotics in your microbiome but doesn’t feed the bad bugs hanging out in there. Getting resistant starch is as important, if not more important, as getting probiotics!

My favorite Buckwheat flour is Acadian Buckwheat. It has a much lighter texture than other Buckwheat flours. I either use this type, or I grind my own in the grain-grinding container of my high-powered blender. I first read about it in an excellent gluten-free baking book called Against the Grain. This is an excellent book if you are Celiac, gluten-intolerant, or would just like to start eating seasonally. This will allow you to have some good wheat-free versions of some of your favorite items for the summer months. It has a much lighter texture than other Buckwheat flours. I either use this, or I grind my own in the grain-grinding container of my high powered blender.

How to make a Buckwheat Sourdough Starter

You will need to either purchase an established gluten-free starter or get one from a friend. It is not recommended to train a gluten-containing starter to eat a non-gluten containing grain or seed.

buckwheat sourdough starter

  1. If you are using a purchased starter, follow the directions on the box until it is bubbling reliably within a few hours of feeding. If you are using a gluten-free starter from a friend, also make sure that it bubbles reliably within a few hours of being fed. Once this happens, you can start training it to use buckwheat flour instead of brown rice four. In order to be on the safe side, always save some of your starter discard in case your starter doesn’t take to the new flour or there is some other unforeseen disaster. (Something like accidentally dumping it into some milk you are using to make cottage cheese thinking that it is milk kefir. On that note, I can’t underestimate the importance of labeling. You think that you will remember what that jar contains, and maybe you will…or maybe you won’t. 😉
  2. I started with half buckwheat flour and half brown rice flour. I fed it two times and both times it bubbled right on schedule a few hours after being fed. I then went to 1/4 cup of buckwheat flour plus one tablespoon of rice flour for two feedings. Again, it bubbled on schedule reliably so I was able to just go to straight buckwheat flour and voila! Now I have a buckwheat sourdough starter that has endless uses!  
    Buckwheat Sourdough Starter
    A gluten-free sourdough starter for making breads, pancakes, waffles, tortillas, and other tasty treats.
    Print
    Prep Time
    5 min
    Prep Time
    5 min
    Ingredients
    1. Brown Rice Four
    2. Buckwheat flour (here is my favorite)
    3. Gluten-free sourdough starter culture (brown rice)
    4. Filtered water
    Instructions
    1. If you are using a starter, follow the directions on the box. If you are using a gluten-free starter from a friend, make sure that it bubbles reliable within a few hours of being fed.
    2. Once your starter is bubbling reliably, you can start training it to use buckwheat flour instead of brown rice four. In order to be on the safe side, always save some of your starter discard in case your starter doesn't take to the new flour or there is some other unforeseen disaster. I started with half buckwheat flour and half brown rice flour. I fed it two times and both times it bubbled right on schedule a few hours after being fed. I then went to 1/4 cup of buckwheat flour plus one Tablespoon of rice flour for two feedings. Again, it bubbled on schedule reliably so I was able to just go to straight buckwheat flour and Voila! Now I have a buckwheat sourdough starter that has endless uses!
    Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/

     Do you bake with buckwheat? Have you tried making a buckwheat sourdough starter?

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2 thoughts on “How to Make and Maintain a Buckwheat Sourdough Starter (Gluten-free)

  1. This looks very interesting! It seems like buckwheat is overlooked greatly when it comes to gluten-free baking, and that’s too bad – I love it. I am off of gluten right now, and have made buckwheat pancakes and flat bread. I really want to try buckwheat sourdough, but my attempts at a starter from just mixing buckwheat flour (Hodgson Mill) and water failed. I am glad to see I can purchase a gluten-free starter and try again from that. 🙂 Thanks for this post!

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