Beer & Buckwheat Bread

At work, I listen to Youtube (you read that right). I might choose a playlist or just let Youtube decide the next video to listen to. Over time, I’ve found “go to” channels for finding really great live music – like Audiotree Live, KEXP, and Jam in the Van.

Check out some excellent Jam in the Van performances

One of Jam in the Van’s sponsors is Lagunitas Brewing Co., based out of Petaluma, California. I appreciate their sponsorship of Jam in the Van – and although I live 2,940 miles from there, I appreciate their sponsorship of music festivals and events in general. Up until a few days ago – when my friend John brought me a sampler of tasty beers – I had never had a Lagunitas beer.

One of the beers in John’s sampler was a Lagunitas CitruSinensis Pale Ale. Such a fresh subtle citrusy tang – a very mellow beer which got me thinking about relaxing which got me thinking about things I like to do while relaxing which made me think of baking some bread. And so I did. With the CitruSinensis Pale Ale.

After the second rise, I could tell the bread was going to be awesome because of the dough’s aroma. I closed my eyes and took in the the quiet tones of citrus which floated lightly on top of the normal dough smell. In my reverie, I remembered something my wife Becca said some time ago. She said, “Cheese makes any bread better.” I opened the cheese drawer in the fridge and didn’t even have to think – I just grabbed the fresh Parmesan. To get the cheese marbled throughout the dough, I flattened the dough into a pizza-like circle, sprinkled the cheese on, and rolled up the dough. I kneaded it a few times to mix it in well.

Instead of using a proofing basket for the second rise, I tried an experiment. I cut a circle of parchment paper, plopped it into a bowl, and put the dough in to rise. After the rise, the transfer from the bowl to the cloche base was super easy. Turned the bowl, placed the dough, and peeled off the parchment – the dough kept its shape nicely.

“You don’t really make beer. You create circumstances where beer can occur.”

Tony McGee, Lagunitas Founder

Tony’s idea of beer aligns with my idea of bread (come to think of it, beer is pretty much liquid bread. Hmmm…). Of course I bake bread, but what I’m really doing is creating circumstances in which people eat bread. Bread brings people together in ways that, say, eggplant doesn’t. No one ever broke eggplant as a sign of friendship. But, beer. Beer is like bread in this regard – people come together, drink beer, and have a good time. I like that.

The flavor of the softened buckwheat groats plays nicely with the hint of citrus and the soft suggestion of Parmesan.

And I’d rate the toast in my top five favorite. Most bread toasts well, but some stand out, like this one. Toasting brings the cheese out a bit more and makes the buckwheat mildly crunchy. Awesome.

Beer and Buckwheat Bread

The flavor of the softened buckwheat groats plays nicely with the hint of citrus and the soft suggestion of Parmesan.

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 1 boule loaf
Author Mark Oppenneer


  • 1 cup warm Lagunitas CitruSinensis Pale Ale about 110 degrees
  • ½ cup buckwheat groats
  • 1 scant tablespoon or one ¼-ounce package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1 cup warm water about 110 degrees
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4½-5 cups unbleached flour
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Note: this recipe uses a bread cloche.

Soften the Groats

  1. In a bowl or measuring cup, soak the buckwheat groats in the beer for at least an hour.

  2. Open another beer and drink it while making the bread.
  3. Do this in the afternoon or evening. People frown at drinking beer in the morning.

Make the dough

  1. In a small bowl, stir yeast and honey into the water to soften.
  2. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Add the yeast mixture - and the beer and buckwheat - to the flour. Mix well adding more flour or water as necessary. Dough should be firm enough to keep a boule shape.
  4. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
  5. Place dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and flatten it out to about the size of a large pizza.
  7. Sprinkle/rub the Parmesan evenly across the dough.
  8. Roll up the dough and knead a few times to marble the cheese throughout.
  9. Place the dough in a well-floured proofing basket, cover with the cloche lid or tightly woven towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
  10. About 30 minutes before baking, place the cloche in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
  11. When ready to bake, line the cloche base with round piece of parchment (I do this when baking any cheese bread in my cloche). Gently turn the dough onto the parchment. Score the top of the loaf in fancy patterns with a sharp knife.
  12. Cover the cloche base with the lid and place it in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes and then turn the temperature down to 400 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes with the lid off or until the crust is golden brown. The internal temperature of the loaf should be about 190 degrees. Immediately remove bread from the cloche base and cool on a rack.

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