Branching into Buckwheat

Buckwheat flour has been something foreign, scary and generally relegated to the safe world of pancakes. But, as we near our fall grain CSA pick-up, we are finding we have few options left for grain and flour.  No more red wheat, no more spelt, no more dent corn, some rye, some white wheat and buckwheat.  Laura is quite the resourceful baker, and with a recipe from Good to the Grain as a guide, produced the most splendid muffins four our breakfast.  I mentioned them last Sunday, and here is the recipe and pictures!

Step 1) Figure out the best way to mill buckwheat.

Whole buckwheat is lovely to touch and smell, but it can be a challenge to get the tasty insides that make flour separate from the hulls.  After some futzing with our way awesome grain mill, she figured out that milling it medium finely, and running through a fine mesh sieve caught the vast majority of the hulls and produced a delicious smelling flour for muffins.

The unmilled flour above shows what happens.  The hulls are composed of three mostly flat sides and a little flat top that pop apart during milling and get pushed out but the milling stones pretty much whole.  The germ, being a pyramidal shape, is  too big to slip out between the stones and gets broken into small pieces.  Some hulls gets broken up ass well, but for the most part, its a pretty tidy system.

The sifted first pass flour is given a second go through the mill at a finer setting, making a legit flour the consistency of pastry flour, but with no gluten.  That’s right, zippo gluten to hold baked goods together.  Buckwheat has to be mixed with some other flour for it to have much rise, in our case white wheat flour.

Step 2) Modify recipe to suit our needs.

The average baking recipe calls for way way WAY more sugar and butter than we are willing to commit to a dozen or so muffins.  We have no persimmons and we didn’t want to eat too much chocolate first thing in the morning.  What came out was this:

Dry Mix:

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup white wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

(If you are good you’ll preheat the oven now to 350 F) Mix these ingredients together thoroughly.  Use a sifter is you have one, adding back any big bits of grain that might linger in your sifter.

Wet Mix:

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup mixed brown and white sugar, to your taste (or how much you have of each)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 shredded pear (~1 cup)
  • 1 shredded dessert apple (~ 1 cup)

Cream  the butter and sugar together until fluffy (or until Laura can’t stand to wait any more). Add eggs and yogurt and mix until thoroughly combined.

Add in the dry ingredients and fold gently until just combined.  Fold in the fruit and mix until just combined.  The batter will be really thick and you will have to plop it into the muffin tins, however many you like depending on how big of muffins you want.  We did ten, and cooked them for about 30 minutes.

If you are like me, you’ll turn on the oven now, swear you’ll remember next time, and eat batter out of each tin until the oven is ready.  Pop them into the oven for about half an hour, then test for doneness.  These can be hard to judge, as the cocoa makes them dark already.  They will be moist, but they will spring back when tapped or a toothpick will come out crumb free,

Step 3)  Enjoy for breakfast with more fruit, butter and a wedge of cheese. Groggily comment every morning how good they are, even after living on the counter under a tea towel for several days because our fridge is too crowded with other stuff for them to fit.

Any good Thanksgiving plans?  We got an heirloom turkey from Kate Stillman, but we are planning on doing something else for Thanksgiving.  No ideas yet, but we will share what we do this year for sure!

Cheers everyone!

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One Response to Branching into Buckwheat

  1. Phillip says:

    Dad, Terry, and I had grandma’s amazing thanksgiving dinner tonight (11-21-2011) with turkey, peas,squash,potatoes,applesauce, and gravy with pecan pie and something new called a pumpkin roll which is a very flat pumpkin bread that is covered with once of her homemade cream cheese frosting and then rolled up into a loaf.Needless to say it was all very good!

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