Looking for a buckwheat flour substitute? Explore our guide to find the best buckwheat flour alternatives such as brown rice flour, quinoa flour, and sorghum flour. Learn how to make substitutions for similar results in a variety of recipes.
What is buckwheat flour?
So what is it anyway? It's not wheat and technically it's not even a grain.
In actuality, it is the grain-like triangular seeds of the buckwheat plant known as common buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum), a flowering plant closely related to rhubarb. It is considered a pseudo-cereal grain and while not a whole grain, it is regarded as one from a food and nutritional perspective.
With a nutty flavor, both raw buckwheat groats and flour are perfect pantry items for those on a gluten-free diet. This versatile ingredient works wonderfully in gluten-free baking.
What are the two types of buckwheat flour?
Light buckwheat as the name suggests has a lighter hue and is made from hulled buckwheat. Hulled buckwheat is when the seed coat has been removed. This makes for fine textured flour with a more subtle flavor.
Dark buckwheat is made from unhulled buckwheat giving it its darker appearance. Because it is ground from whole groats, this type of flour also has more fiber and a more robust flavor than the light variety.
Buckwheat flour is a versatile gluten-free flour that can be used in a variety of dishes, including both sweet and savory recipes. Here are some common uses:
- Pancakes and waffles: A popular ingredient in gluten-free pancake and waffle recipes. It gives the pancakes and waffles a nutty flavor and a slightly denser texture than traditional wheat-based pancakes and waffles.
- Bread: It can be used as a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour in bread recipes. It has a slightly nutty flavor and a dense texture that works well in gluten-free bread.
- Noodles: Makes soba noodles, a popular Japanese noodle.
- Crackers: It's also used to make gluten-free crackers. It is mixed with other gluten-free flour and baked into crispy crackers that can be served with cheese, hummus, or other dips.
- Baked goods: It can be used in various sweet baked goods, such as muffins, cakes, scones, and cookies. Its nutty flavor pairs well with other ingredients such as chocolate and berries.
What is a good substitute for buckwheat flour?
If you don't have it on hand, what is the best option in place of buckwheat flour that will achieve similar results?
When looking for a great alternative, there are several gluten-free options. Some of the best substitutes include:
1. Brown rice flour
Brown rice flour is a great substitute as it has a similar texture and is mild in flavor. It works well in a variety of baked goods such as crackers, pancakes, muffins, and cakes.
When substituting brown rice flour, you can use a 1:1 substitution ratio by weight. This means that if a recipe calls for 1 cup (120 grams) of buckwheat flour, you would use 1 cup (120 grams) of brown rice flour as a substitute.
2. Quinoa flour
Quinoa flour has a slightly nutty flavor and is a good source of protein and fiber. It's a healthy and nutritious substitute for buckwheat. It works well in recipes such as quick breads, cookies, and pancakes.
When substituting quinoa flour in a recipe, you can use a 1:1 substitution ratio by weight. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of buckwheat flour (120 grams), you can substitute it with 1 cup (120 grams) of quinoa flour.
3. Sorghum flour
Sorghum flour can be a good substitute in some recipes, particularly in baked goods. It has a milder flavor than buckwheat. Sorghum is high in protein and fiber, which makes it a nutritious alternative to whole wheat flour.
It has a slightly sweet taste and a fine texture that works well in a variety of baked goods, including bread, muffins, and cakes.
When substituting sorghum flour in a recipe, you can use a 1:1 substitution ratio by weight. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup (120 grams) of buckwheat flour, you can substitute it with 1 cup (120 grams) of sorghum flour.
4. Oat flour
Oat flour is made from ground whole oats and has a slightly sweet flavor. While it can be a good substitute in some recipes, it's worth noting that some people with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity may also have a sensitivity to oats. In the United States, oat flour that is certified gluten-free is suitable for most people with Celiac disease.
It has a milder flavor and a softer texture, which can affect the flavor and texture of the final product. It works particularly well in recipes such as muffins, cookies, and bread.
When substituting oat flour in a recipe, you can use a 1:1 substitution ratio by weight. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup (120 grams) of buckwheat flour, you can substitute it with 1 cup (120 grams) of oat flour.
5. Chickpea flour
Chickpea flour (made from raw chickpeas) can be a good substitute in some recipes, particularly in savory dishes. It has a slightly nutty flavor and a high protein and fiber content, making it a good choice for dishes such as socca, falafel, and savory pancakes.
However, chickpea flour has a different texture and flavor profile, which can affect the final product. Buckwheat has a strong, slightly bitter flavor and a denser texture than chickpea flour, which can impact the taste and texture of baked goods.
When substituting chickpea flour, it's best to use a 1:1 substitution ratio by weight. You may need to experiment with the amount of liquid in the recipe to achieve the desired consistency, as chickpea flour absorbs more liquid than buckwheat flour.
- Depending on the type of recipe, alternative flour you are using, and the binders in the recipe (such as eggs, psyllium husk fiber, or flax eggs) you may need an additional binder or starch to keep the final product from crumbling.
- A kitchen scale is the easiest way to substitute flour by weight.
Buckwheat flour is best for making a variety of gluten-free baked goods such as pancakes, waffles, muffins, cakes, and bread. It's also used in soba noodles, blinis, and kasha.
Buckwheat flour should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. This will help prevent it from absorbing moisture or odors from other foods, which can affect its quality and flavor.
If possible, store it in the refrigerator or freezer, as this will help to extend its shelf life.
In conclusion, there are several gluten-free flours that can be used as substitutes for buckwheat flour, depending on the recipe and desired flavor and texture. Chickpea, brown rice, oat, sorghum, and quinoa flours are all good options.
When substituting, it's important to consider the differences in flavor, texture, and nutritional content, and to make any necessary adjustments to the recipe to ensure the best results.