Thursday, May 17, 2007

Buckwheat in Gluten-Free Recipes

I received an Email from someone interested in my Gluten-Free Desserts book yesterday that asked specifically about whether I used oats and/or buckwheat in any of the recipes. Although I responded to this inquiry directly, I thought this would be a good time to make sure I made such information available directly to anyone else that had the same question.

We avoided Oats completely in our Gluten-Free Gourmet Desserts recipe book due to the controversy over them. So, there are no recipes with Oats in them. Certainly, if you can tolerate (certified) gluten-free oats, there is no reason why you could not use such oat-flour in some recipes.

As for buckwheat, very few recipes use it, because many people are rather scared by just the name "buckWHEAT" if you know what I mean. Pure buckwheat is gluten-free, and you can find it from a few sources that certify it as such. We only used it in a few recipes, where the flavor was a nice complement to the recipe.

If a particular Celiac sufferer was allergic to certified gluten-free buckwheat or otherwise intolerant to it, I would probably recommend using Sorghum flour instead if I was to still want to make the few recipes that used buckwheat by performing a direct-substitution; or if you could tolerate Teff, perhaps use just a bit of Teff with mostly Sorghum to still get a bit of the "grain" flavor that buckwheat would have otherwise added. Certainly buckwheat flour is not contributing any "binding power", since it does not contain gluten -- just like other GF flours like Sorghum.

Recipes that Use Buckwheat
There are only a handful or recipes in our book that use buckwheat, and where it is used, it is not a primary flour and should be quite simple to substitute out if you so desire. Here is a list of the only dessert recipes with Buckwheat in the ingredients list:
  • Buckwheat Chocolate Torte (the book's cover-image recipe actually)
  • Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Almond-Snowball Cookies (i.e., Russian Tea-Cakes)
  • 2 Biscotti Recipes (easy substitution to remove this minor ingredient)
  • Ginger Bread
  • The crust for the Rhubarb pie
I hope that this clarifies our use of Buckwheat in any recipes, the lack of oats in our recipes, and how simple it should be to perform a substitution if required. Our objective with the book has been to deliver wonderful gluten-free recipes for high-quality desserts, and to also include a few recipes that make use of a couple more healthy (not just simple-starch type) gluten-free flours like buckwheat, sorghum, and even a bit of amaranth here and there (also slightly used). And, we guarantee you'll like the results!

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