Friday, January 27, 2017

Buckwheat is Gluten-Free and Safe for people with Celiac Disease

Pure Buckwheat is Really Gluten-Free

I had an anonymous reply to an old Gluten-Free blog posting where I had used buckwheat in a gluten-free pumpkin and spice pancake recipe, and the anonymous poster made it clear that, even though they have Celiac Disease, they remain misinformed about buckwheat and still think it contains gluten.

I have tried repeatedly to get the word out about the fact that Buckwheat does not contain Gluten, but it seems there are still those who apparently think otherwise, most likely because of the grain's name (which sounds a lot like wheat). It almost seems that no amount of scientific evidence or proof will convince certain people that buckwheat is gluten-free.

Buckwheat, in its pure form, is gluten-free. It IS safe for Celiac Disease sufferers. It is not related to wheat in any way either.  In fact, it is not even related (genetically) to gluten-containing grains, but instead it is technically a fruit.  There is a lot of information available related to all this and the science of buckwheat. So, avoiding buckwheat as an ingredient is simply avoiding an otherwise SAFE and flavorful and healthy grain which can be included in a Celiac-safe diets.

So, if you are looking for a good supplier of buckwheat and want to purchase some CERTIFIED GLUTEN-FREE BUCKWHEAT try Birkett Mills (that has been my favorite source for where I get it). They sell their flours and related buckwheat products (groats, kasha, cream-of-buckwheat, and buckwheat pancake mixes) online.

For some gluten-free recipes using buckwheat, I have written previous gluten-free blog entries about Buckwheat in Gluten-Free Recipes, and some of the recipes on my free GF-recipes library use buckwheat also.

As for buckwheat, it used to be that very few recipes use it [especially back when I wrote my cookbook; now, a decade later, it is much more widespread in its usage, both in America and Europe], because many people were 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.

If a particular Celiac sufferer was allergic to certified gluten-free buckwheat or otherwise intolerant to it, however unlikely that may be, 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 deeper "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 in my Gluten-Free Gourmet Desserts Cookbook that Use Buckwheat

There are only a handful or recipes in my 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 Cookies2 Biscotti Recipes (easy substitution to remove this minor ingredient)
  • Ginger Bread 
  • The crust for the Rhubarb pie
I hope that this clarifies the use of Buckwheat in any recipes, and how simple it should be to perform a substitution if required. My objective with any gluten-free recipes is to deliver wonderful ways to deliver high-quality desserts and other GF menu items, and, while doing so, to also include recipes that make use of a couple more healthy (not just simple-starch type) gluten-free flours — healthier flours being things like buckwheat, sorghum, and even a bit of amaranth here and there.  

Many more gluten-free flour options are coming onto the market with time, and this will continue to improve the gluten-free ingredient options for all of us all, as well as the healthfulness of our foods.