There are so many types of flour available today. This is great for new textures, flavors, and gluten substitutes. But with so many, it can be difficult to know what is what!
What Is Buckwheat Flour?
Buckwheat flour is a loose white powder that can sometimes appear gray with some black spots or speckles. It has a fairly high nutritional value and a more complex, interesting taste than traditional wheat flour.
As such, using this flour in baking recipes will add an fascinating dimension of flavor.
The flavor can best be described as sweet, with earthy, nutty, and slightly bitter undertones. Many people think that the flavor of buckwheat is stronger or more intense than traditional wheat flour.
Buckwheat is used heavily in noodles, pancakes, and unleavened bread in parts of Asia and Eastern Europe.
That said, it is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to wheat flour in the US and all over the world.
What Is The Difference Between Buckwheat And Regular Flour?
Unlike wheat which is a cereal crop and a grain, buckwheat is neither. It could be considered a pseudo-cereal, but it is not a full cereal, nor is it a grain, or grass, and it does not have anything to do with wheat.
Flour made from buckwheat is gluten-free, unlike wheat flour, and has a lot more protein, dietary fiber to feed the microbes in your gut, and is laden with B vitamins. It is also an excellent source of essential amino acids and potassium.
How Is Buckwheat Flour Made?
This flour is just ground-up buckwheat groats. Groats are the seeds of the buckwheat plant that have been ground up.
You can purchase hulled or unhulled buckwheat groats. Hulled buckwheat groats will produce a much lighter flour than unhulled.
What Does Buckwheat Flour Taste Like?
Buckwheat is prized for its earthy taste and the extra dimension of flavor that it can add to any dish.
This flour has an earthy flavor with nutty and slightly bitter undertones. Because it has such a robust flavor, it is a firm favorite of meat-lovers everywhere. You do get hints of sweetness with buckwheat, as well as a hoppy taste that adds a delicious umami tang to any dish.
Can You Make It At Home?
Yes, you can make your own from the comfort of your own home. It is a super simple and easy process that requires few pieces of equipment and just one ingredient – buckwheat groats.
- Place ½ cup of buckwheat groats into a blender.
- Now you need to turn it on and grind up until you have a super fine powder. This should take around 45 seconds to a minute.
- Move the freshly-ground buckwheat flour into a bowl.
- Add another ½ of buckwheat groats into the blender and repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have ground up all of your buckwheat groats.
If you don’t have access to a high-speed blender, you can grind up buckwheat groats in a coffee grinder or in a food processor. Once you have finished grinding up the groats, you need to store the flour in an airtight container to keep it fresh.
One final thing to consider when making your own flour is your preferred final color. Hulled buckwheat groats will create a light white flour with a gray or cool undertone. Unhulled or whole buckwheat will make a darker flour.
As buckwheat is heavily used as a gluten-free alternative, all the following buckwheat substitutes are also gluten-free. Keep in mind that it will be very difficult to replicate the flavor of buckwheat as it is pretty unique!
Our favorite buckwheat flour substitutes are oat flour, sorghum flour, brown rice flour, or chickpea flour.
If you are baking and so need the texture of the flour to be as close to buckwheat as possible, we recommend trying an all-purpose gluten-free flour as this will give you the best results.
Is Buckwheat Flour Healthy?
Buckwheat is very nutritious and is considered by some to be a superfood. It is a good source of protein, energy, and is much higher in fiber than other flours.
It is even claimed that buckwheat can help improve heart health, maintain a healthy weight, and help manage diabetes.
Is Buckwheat Flour Gluten-Free?
Even though it has the word ‘wheat’ in its name, this flour is not related to the wheat plant and is a naturally-occurring gluten-free foodstuff. Interestingly, it is actually related to the rhubarb plant.
Buckwheat is a grain that can be ground into flour and then used as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour.
Is Buckwheat Flour Keto Friendly?
Even though it is not related to the wheat plant, buckwheat is still a source of carbohydrates. It has a fairly high carbohydrate content and so is not keto-friendly.
The smallest serving or portion of anything made with buckwheat flour will be enough to take your body out of a state of ketosis.
How Many Carbs Are In Buckwheat Flour?
Buckwheat is naturally fat-free, but it does have a high enough carbohydrate content so that you will still feel full after eating. In ½ a cup of uncooked buckwheat groats – the seeds that are ground to buckwheat flour – contains around 65g of carbohydrate. This is roughly 2.3oz.
Is Buckwheat A Good Flour For Diabetics?
Buckwheat does have a high carbohydrate content, so any diabetics will need to be careful. However, buckwheat has been seen to help moderate blood sugar levels.
Keeping blood sugar levels under control is important for everyone with diabetes, but buckwheat may be of particular health benefit to those with Type 2 diabetes.
What Can I Make With It?
Buckwheat flour can be used as a substitute for wheat flour in most cooking recipes. For baking, however, you need to be a bit more careful. This is because buckwheat has no gluten, so will have different properties that will change the baking process.
As a guide, you can substitute out around 25% of traditional wheat flour and replace it with buckwheat with no impact on your final baked creation.
Using a bit of buckwheat is particularly good in muffins, scones, biscuits, bread, or cookie recipes where the different flavors and textures will add another dimension.
Does Buckwheat Flour Rise?
No, it will not rise because it has no leavening agent on its own – you will need to add either baking soda or yeast to get buckwheat flour to rise.
Its lack of rising makes this flour a great option for pastries, biscuits, or even pancakes.
How Long Does Buckwheat Flour Last?
Unfortunately, it has a relatively short shelf life compared to other types of flour. It will only last for around a month after the day you bought it.
That said, you can keep it fresher for longer by storing it in an airtight container in a cool place, like a pantry. If there is no air circulation, it will take a lot longer for the buckwheat flour to go bad.
Some people think that buckwheat needs to be kept in the fridge. This is untrue. Keeping it in the fridge will not prolong its shelf life.
If you keep it in the bag and not in an airtight container, the moist environment of the fridge will actually decrease its shelf life quite substantially.
The freezer, on the other hand, is a great place to store your buckwheat. You can keep frozen flour in the freezer for several months before it will need to be used.
This is the best longer-term storage solution for this flour.
If you think that your flour has gone off, the best thing to do is give it a whiff. Spoiled flour will smell musty, stale, or possibly even sour if it is very rancid.
Buckwheat flour that is good to eat should not have a strong odor.
Buckwheat makes a delicious flour with complex flavors and undertones. It is widely used in Asian and Eastern European cuisine, especially for producing delicious umami noodles.
This flour is used widely in the US as an alternative to wheat flour. This is partly because buckwheat is considered healthier than wheat, but usually, it is used because buckwheat is naturally gluten-free.
This flour is high in fiber, fat-free, and rich in vitamins and essential amino acids. It can be used to try to help manage diabetes, but remember that it is still a carbohydrate and should be treated as such!