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Gluten-free Grain and Flour

Buckwheat can be a confusing flour. It’s neither a grain nor a grass, but technically something known as a “pseudo-grain.” Despite the glaring “wheat” in its name, it’s actually gluten-free. And with a pronounced earthy flavor that can veer slightly bitter (in a good way!), it can be difficult to decide if it’s best suited for recipes that are sweet or savory.

Buckwheat impacts both the taste and texture of your baked goods.

First, the taste. Buckwheat has a distinct flavor: earthy, savory, and grassy, with notes of rose and a slight bitterness. This complexity shines beautifully in baked goods either savory or sweet, though that assertive taste may be too overwhelming if used in large quantities at once. (Buckwheat is usually used in combination with another, more mild-tasting flour.)

Because buckwheat is gluten-free, it also lends a different texture to baked goods than wheat flour. It won’t give you light, fluffy yeast bread because there’s no gluten to be developed, but it does add moistness to cakes and tenderness to cookies and bars. If used in large amounts compared to another flour in the recipe, it has a tendency to make muffins, cakes, and quick breads gummy, which is a pitfall to watch out for.

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