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Jenise

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Buckwheat flours--not created equal?

by Jenise » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:44 pm

The other day a friend and I needed to make savory crepes that were going to a dinner party, and decided to go authentic with buckwheat flour so I bought Bob's Red Mill buckwheat flour for that purpose. It's been awhile since I had buckwheat flour around and needed a recipe to get started with; Basic Buckwheat Crepes, found on Epicurious.com, seemed to be just the ticket. It specified 100% buckwheat flour, milk, water, egg.

The resulting mixture looked like the dark gray-green sludge that comes up from the ocean floor on our crab traps sometimes--and the first crepe we made was just as ugly as the batter. Much darker than any buckwheat crepe I've made before and unservable. With 45 minutes left before we needed to leave with 19 perfect crepes that each needed about 3 minutes to cook we were already seriously behind schedule so I threw flour, milk, water and egg together and scooped in just a little buckwheat batter--I'd say it was now 2:1 plain flour, maybe even closer to 3. I didn't measure. The flavor was good and even more importantly, they were attractive enough on the plate. That is, they looked like they'd been made with something other than plain AP flour but 'mud' wouldn't cross your mind. So that's what we finished with but geez it was unnerving.

Must be a lot of variance in the color of buckwheat itself. Anyone know more about it?
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Christina Georgina

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Re: Buckwheat flours--not created equal?

by Christina Georgina » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:04 pm

Don't know much but suspect that there are differences related at least in milling. But I am surprised that the recipe would have no AP flour as buckwheat has little gluten and most recipes, at least for bread always call for a fairly large proportion of AP flour. Last time in Paris went to a really off the beaten track crepe place and talked to the lady who was from Normandy and making the crepes. She indicated that she had to use a certain technique of hand beating the flour for a very long time to or a certain type of mixing to develop the gluten and that she had to get up very early in the morning to make the days batter because it had to sit several hours before ready for cooking.
McGee has more details about buckwheat
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Re: Buckwheat flours--not created equal?

by Jenise » Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:07 am

Christina, I let the batter rest for almost two hours. The second hour of which was accidental as I was waiting for my helper/friend to return. The first was because I always let my crepe batters rest for an hour--the epicurious recipe recommended that too, but I'd have done it anyway no matter what was in the batter.
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Mark Willstatter

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Re: Buckwheat flours--not created equal?

by Mark Willstatter » Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:26 pm

Jenise wrote:Don't know much but suspect that there are differences related at least in milling. But I am surprised that the recipe would have no AP flour as buckwheat has little gluten and most recipes, at least for bread always call for a fairly large proportion of AP flour. Last time in Paris went to a really off the beaten track crepe place and talked to the lady who was from Normandy and making the crepes. She indicated that she had to use a certain technique of hand beating the flour for a very long time to or a certain type of mixing to develop the gluten and that she had to get up very early in the morning to make the days batter because it had to sit several hours before ready for cooking.
McGee has more details about buckwheat


I have nothing to offer in the way of buckwheat knowledge but I am puzzled about what you heard from the lady in Normandy. It's my understanding (you can read about this in McGee, too, I'm sure) is that for crepes (and quick breads in general), you don't want to develop the gluten. That's the reason why the standard treatment for crepes is to mix minimally, then rest. The rest is to get everything hydrated despite the gentle mixing. It's the same reason muffin recipes advise mixing only until just combined; if you get the glutens going, you risk a chewy muffin with big bubbles. Bread recipes go light on gluten-free ingredients like buckwheat for the opposite reason: they depend on good gluten development to be successful. But I don't know of any reason why a 100% buckwheat crepe would be a problem. Other than the color, of course. :)
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Sue Courtney

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Re: Buckwheat flours--not created equal?

by Sue Courtney » Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:48 am

Jenise,

I use buckwheat flour a lot and 'grey green sludge' sounds just wrong. But Wikipedia explains, "The starchy endosperm is white and makes up most or all of buckwheat flour. The seed coat is green or tan, which darkens buckwheat flour." So sounds like your buckwheat had some green seed coating milled in.

My favourite recipes are savoury buckwheat blinis (I can't make crepes to save myself) and buckwheat muffins, which I used to make with 100% buckwheat but now prefer half and half buckwheat flour and spelt flour. I treble the baking powder component through.

I have found some inconsistency in the milling and I don't like it too coarse - even if it is hand ground and organic. I have now found one supplier who sells ground buckwheat nice and fine. It's a light tan colour however.

Cheers,
Sue

PS there is no gluten in buckwheat and despite the name it is not related to wheat.
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Jenise

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Re: Buckwheat flours--not created equal?

by Jenise » Sat Aug 31, 2013 11:57 am

Sue Courtney wrote:I have found some inconsistency in the milling and I don't like it too coarse - even if it is hand ground and organic. I have now found one supplier who sells ground buckwheat nice and fine. It's a light tan colour however.


That's a good description of what I've bought previously. Result is a crepe that's a beige-y pale gray. The stuff I have looks like commercially ground canned pepper. It's not gray, more like half and half black and white. So yes, it must have a lot of the "seed coat" in it.

And someone somewhere must think that's the cat's meow. Bob's Red Mill is a venerable organic brand (and in most cases the only option available), and I trust them though certain individual products haven't appealed in the past. Their cornmeal for instance, is too powdery. Of course, that's neither here nor there to you since these products aren't available in NZ, but anyone hereabouts who is reading along might relate.
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Mark Willstatter

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Re: Buckwheat flours--not created equal?

by Mark Willstatter » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:50 pm

Jenise wrote:Bob's Red Mill is a venerable organic brand (and in most cases the only option available), and I trust them though certain individual products haven't appealed in the past. Their cornmeal for instance, is too powdery. Of course, that's neither here nor there to you since these products aren't available in NZ, but anyone hereabouts who is reading along might relate.


I was amazed to see a decent selection of Bob's Red Mill products on a grocer's shelves in Australia last year, so you never know!
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Jenise

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Re: Buckwheat flours--not created equal?

by Jenise » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:51 am

Mark Willstatter wrote:
Jenise wrote:Bob's Red Mill is a venerable organic brand (and in most cases the only option available), and I trust them though certain individual products haven't appealed in the past. Their cornmeal for instance, is too powdery. Of course, that's neither here nor there to you since these products aren't available in NZ, but anyone hereabouts who is reading along might relate.


I was amazed to see a decent selection of Bob's Red Mill products on a grocer's shelves in Australia last year, so you never know!


Wow, really. Well, I guess if old Bob got that far, he can go anywhere!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Sue Courtney

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Re: Buckwheat flours--not created equal?

by Sue Courtney » Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:27 am

I've since found Bob's Red Mill online in a number of online store organic specialist and gluten free stores here in NZ!!!!!!
One store is close to where I work.
I don't think I'll be dabbling with his buckwheat though.
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Jenise

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Re: Buckwheat flours--not created equal?

by Jenise » Mon Sep 02, 2013 3:37 pm

Sue Courtney wrote:I've since found Bob's Red Mill online in a number of online store organic specialist and gluten free stores here in NZ!!!!!!
One store is close to where I work.
I don't think I'll be dabbling with his buckwheat though.


It's entirely possible that the buckwheat I bought here and what you'd buy there come from different sources--perhaps they're subcontracted millers who do things differently. Anyway, you'd recognize the problem I've mentioned in the package--like I said, looks like canned pepper.
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Re: Buckwheat flours--not created equal?

by Redwinger » Mon Sep 02, 2013 3:54 pm

FWIW, I just checked our stash of Old Bob's buckwheat and it is basically tan. Well, maybe more like tan with maybe 25% tiny, finely ground black flecks. I've never looked at buckwheat before, so no idea if that is how it all appears upon close inspection. In fact, if I hadn't looked closely, I'd have called it "tan".
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