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March 30, 2018

How To Use Buckwheat Flour

Post by Cinde Little

How To Use Buckwheat Flour is #9 in my monthly blog post series on gluten free flour and what I consider the best uses for each one. You can see the full list at the bottom of this post. The idea is to learn to use the flours you like to make foods you enjoy. As you notice what kind of recipes you like to make in your own kitchen you can focus on them and improve your results.

Buckwheat, An Unfortunate Name

Many people refer to buckwheat as an unfortunate name. Buckwheat is a seed that does not contain wheat or gluten. It was given this name because it is used like wheat and the seeds look like buck, also known as beech seeds. Buckwheat is actually related to two plants that grow in my garden; rhubarb and the tart, lemony herb called sorrel (who knew).

Buckwheat and buckwheat flour are therefore safe for a gluten free diet. Buckwheat groats can be eaten as a hot breakfast cereal (called kasha when toasted) or cooked and used in soups, stews and salads. Or buckwheat can be ground into flour.

How to Use Buckwheat Flour
How to Use Buckwheat Flour -photo credit Jim Little

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How to use buckwheat flour was a question for me. Although I have never made either soba noodles or blini I knew they were both made with buckwheat flour. Japanese soba noodles are commonly used in soup or served cold with dipping sauce. Blini are tiny Russian pancakes, often topped with crème fraîche and smoked salmon.

That was the extent of my buckwheat knowledge thus a little research was in order. Naturally buckwheat flour has many more uses. The Europeans use it to make pancakes, crepes and breads. Koreans also make soba noodles and in parts of India special breads are made with buckwheat flour. 

So many recipes, so little time.

Where To Buy Buckwheat Flour

Buckwheat flour is known for its’ cholesterol-lowering effects and is considered to be a heart healthy choice. As awareness of its’ nutritional benefits grows health conscious cooks and gluten free bakers are using buckwheat flour in all kinds of recipes. 

Health food stores sell buckwheat flour and these familiar brands are all available online; Bob’s Red Mill, Arrowhead and Hodgson Mill

Properties

  • Gray colour with black flecks
  • Rustic, earthy flavour
  • High in fiber and improves digestion by relieving constipation
  • Moist and tender if used in small amounts

Cons

  • Confusing name
  • If using only buckwheat baking can be crumbly
  • May be contaminated during processing
  • Some people are allergic to buckwheat (this article on buckwheat vs wheat nutrition discusses allergy).

Best Uses

  • Use 25-50% buckwheat flour in pancakes and quick breads
  • 25% will give mild buckwheat flavour, 50% will be more assertive
  • As a coating for meat or other protein before frying or baking
  • gluten free wraps
  • Blini, those Russian yeast raised pancakes
  • Soba noodles

How To Use Buckwheat Flour – The Recipes

I’m just starting to experiment with buckwheat flour. Here is what I’m doing in my kitchen:

  • I experiment with my basic recipe for Banana Muffins by substituting anywhere from 2 Tbsp to 1/2 cup of any new flour for the total amount of flour mix.
  • 3 parts buckwheat flour and 1 part tapioca flour for a soft pliable wrap
  • substitute a portion (¼-1 cup) of buckwheat flour for your flour mix in any pancake or chocolate chip cookie recipe
  • when I make blini I am going to try this recipe Buckwheat Blini from Charlotte Puckette

Happy Baking!

This is a series of blog posts on gluten free flours. My intention is to provide a basic overview of several gluten free flours for the everyday home cook, both new and experienced. Let me know in the comments below if you have a specific problem with your baking or a tip you’d like to share.


How To Use Gluten Free Flour series:

  1. How To Use Rice Flour in Gluten Free Baking
  2. How To Use Starch in Gluten Free Baking
  3. How To Use Millet Flour and Sorghum Flour
  4. How To Use Corn Flour, Cornmeal and Masa Harina
  5. How To Use Almond Flour and Quinoa Flour
  6. How To Use Binders in Gluten Free Baking
  7. How To Use Chickpea Flour
  8. How To Use Teff Flour
  9. How To Use Buckwheat Flour
  10. How To Use Coconut Flour
  11. How To Use Oat Flour
  12. How To Use A Gluten Free Flour Mix

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