I returned to my breads of the world cookbook to prepare a treat for my world travelling friend Susan, who I visited on Monday night. This buckwheat honey bread is supposed to be the most common bread in China. Dates back to the T’ang Dynasty in 600 AD. I thought it needed a little yeast because I only had about two hours to allow it to rise. If it rises overnight, I expect the natural yeast is sufficient.
My dear friend Susan got this bread as her prize for being the writer of my 400th comment—she now lives in the most incredible apartment in the Cedar/Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis, surrounded by people from other countries (her earthly heaven).
Chinese Buckwheat Honey Country Bread
Adapted from Flatbreads and Flavors
2 1/2 cups soft whole wheat flour
¼ cup sourdough starter (this is my addition)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sunflower oil — or peanut oil
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water — approximately
2 tablespoons buckwheat honey — to 3 tablespoons
Mix the flour and salt together in a medium bowl. Stir in the oil. Make a well in the center of the mixture, pour in the warm water and stir from the center out to incorporate the flour; add a tablespoon or so more water if the dough is too dry to be easily kneaded. Turn out onto a lightly floured bread board and knead for 3 to 5 minutes. Clean out the bowl, oil lightly and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, let stand for at least 30 minutes. (Shaobing dough should be left overnight at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap. In the morning it is slightly soured and just as easy to work.)
Line the bottom rack of the oven with quarry tiles, leaving a 1-inch gap between the tiles and the oven walls, or just put a pizza stone in. Preheat oven to 450F.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Flatten each piece between floured hands.
Then, with a rolling pin, continue to flatten each bread to an 8-inchsquare. Spread 1 to 2 teaspoons buckwheat honey over one half of each square. (If the honey is thick and too sticky; causing the dough to tear while spreading, dilute with a little hot water.)
Fold over the other half of each bread to make a 4×8-inch rectangle. Roll gently to seal the two sides firmly together.
Bake the breads on quarry tiles for 6 to 8 minutes, until the tops have begun to brown. Cool on a rack momentarily before serving.
Makes 4 rectangular flatbreads, approximately 4 inches by 8 inches.
These were quite tasty, especially when hot and fresh. A little bit like wheat quesadillas with honey instead of cheese. Sweet as Susan. If I could have taken the vase of baseballs and carnations from Target Field, I would have given them to you Susan, in thanks for the lovely visit.