The Flour Series: Buckwheat Flour

In the second installment to the Flour Series on different gluten-free flours, we are going to look into Buckwheat!

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What is it?

So… Buckwheat is a plant with grain-like seeds, sometimes referred to as buckwheat groats. It is not related to wheat, which is in the grass family, but is actually in the seed family and closely related to rhubarb! (I thought buckwheat had gluten for a long time because I assumed it was similar to wheat, but I was wrong!)

Buckwheat has been heralded, like many other foods recently, as a Superfood. I thought I had discussed previously about the dangers of Superfood labeling, because it can cause us to be less balanced in our struggle to eat the most “Superfoods” possible… but now I can’t find any reference to the topic on my blog and I decided to save you from my rants for now.

But why is it considered a Superfood by some? The major characteristic claims include ranking lower on the glycemic index than rice or corn, which means it will be less likely to cause your blood sugar to spike. Buckwheat and buckwheat flour contain high sources of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  They are pretty high in protein and fiber, as well as Vitamin B (for energy).

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What do you do with it?

A lot of websites I looked at had recipes combining buckwheat flour with other flours like a gluten-free all-purpose flour.  I personally do not think that is necessary.  I have been successful in cookie recipes using the flour as a one for one replacement for another nutty flour like almond flour (which I use often). So you can either replace 20% of your flour with a coconut flour or all-purpose flour or use it as a stand alone flour.

A Huffington Post article titled “20 Buckwheat Recipes You Never Even Knew You Wanted” has recipes including muffins, waffles, crepes, cakes, crackers, pitas, biscuits, pancakes, cookies, bread and more!

I only tried one recipe, from Cooking a la Mel, for buckwheat chocolate chip cookies and then I made my own recipe up and pinned them against each other in my own personal bake-off of sorts. 0729171613

As you can see the buckwheat flour gives the cookies a darker speckled look than typical flours may, almost mimicking cocoa.

Mel’s recipe (although half the size) is on the left and my recipe is on the right. Both contained the same amount of batter although mine spread out like a cookie more.  I thought mine looked better, but I will say Mel’s were pretty moist because they didn’t spread and dry out. I feel like I can’t give her the victory on my own blog, but I think I will.  Nicely done, Mel.

What does BTN do with it?

My mocha protein cookies actually utilize both coffee flour and buckwheat flour… but other than that I do nothing with buckwheat at this point. I had fun experimenting this weekend, but that’s where I’ll stay for now. Check out some more photos below, including one from the crawfish boil where I brought both sets of cookies. I’ll try to get a good buckwheat flour cookie recipe of my own out in the next few weeks for everyone to have fun trying!

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Have a cookie!

Lauren

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Gluten… what is it REALLY?

While I was waiting for my heavy cream latte to be prepared at a lovely coffee shop, I perused the goodies on the counter, because of my chronic sweet-tooth. Seeing what looked like an oat based bar, I asked the woman behind the counter (with very little hope) if she knew if that “healthy” looking bar was gluten-free.  In near disgust she assured me it was not, and told me nothing at the shop was gluten-free and I probably couldn’t even drink my latte.

So… maybe you follow Baked True North because you know Lauren or Nick… and maybe you like Baked True North goodies.  Maybe you eat gluten-free occasionally or even faithfully.  MAYBE you even know what gluten is!? I didn’t. I assumed gluten was bread, because that’s what it was described to me as by someone else who was not educated on the topic.

Google describes gluten as a mixture of two proteins, present in cereal grains, especially wheat, that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. Not likely to be found in a latte, but it sneaks into more things than wheat bread. The things that caught me the most off guard to discover had gluten were thick creamy soups and a lot of sauces, especially soy sauce.

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Above is a picture from my pre-gluten-free days, with a maple bourbon bacon doughnut in Key West on our honeymoon. I grew up eating mac & cheese, sandwiches and the croutons off my salad (not necessarily the vegetables). The two questions I get asked the most are, “why does it seem like this is all of a sudden a problem?” and “Jesus spoke a lot about bread… so how can it really be bad?” The simple answer is that gluten is not what it used to be. The more complicated answer is, Norman Borlaug won a Nobel peace prize creating a shorter wheat called dwarf wheat that produced a lot of grains on less acreage. This was all in the name of solving world hunger, so let’s not get upset at him right off the bat. Mark’s Daily Apple provides a much more in depth explanation if you’re interested.

In further summarizing Mark’s article and the research behind it, dwarf wheat was found to be less nutritious, based possibly on the increased yield per plant or the shorter roots, not allowing in as much nutrition. Certain gluten proteins that were not barely present in the older strains of wheat now are rampant and are causing a higher rate of gluten sensitivities to appear.  Additionally, bread and similar goodies used to be made by home-grinding wheat kernels, but now wheat is processed and potentially rancid by the time it gets to the local burger establishment to be delivered with your “meat” patty.

Hopefully that helped explain what gluten is and why bread is different today than it used to be.  I hope to share more information on gluten-freedom in future blog posts.  Please feel free to shout out questions you have or discoveries you’ve made in the comment section!

Stay delicious,

Lauren Marts