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Archive for May 25th, 2009

A Recipe for Buckwheat Quick Bread

Monday, May 25th, 2009

One recurring theme here at ColorJoy, is that food can be art. In addition, if you are me, and you have a list of allergies longer than your arm, food is sometimes a challenge. Trying different ingredient combinations dozens of times until you come up with a winner, is not only an art but a magnificent success on a personal level.

Breads and desserts are the most difficult for me, because wheat really does work better for baking than any other flour. Many gluten-free recipes use corn or potato starches, which don’t work for me. Therefore, I have been on my own… making a lot of bad breads on the way to the successes. This one is truly a winner.

The Process of Discovery

I started with a base recipe called “Country-Style Quick Bread” from the book The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook, written by Marjorie Hurt Jones, R.N. (There seem to be two versions of this book, I’ve linked to the one I own.)

Her version of Quick Bread using rye flour and maple sugar in addition to maple syrup, is wonderful. Rye has gluten, though… and that leaves it out for many folks. (She does suggest buckwheat as one alternative… her recipe is full of options, much more than mine.)


I have layers and layers of sticky notes on that recipe’s page in that cookbook, with different variations I’ve tried. The sticky note experiments include rice flour, chickpea flour, teff flour, oat flour, arrowroot, rye, kamut (which does contain gluten), even barley flour. I have used agave nectar, white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, brown rice syrup; no salt, no milk.

I have tried ingredients she lists, some she never suggested. I have left out ingredients, changed quantities a bit, changed the preparation method. So far, the combination of ingredients I have listed below is best (for my purposes) by far.

The Current Result

This recipe is something like a sweet cornbread, or a little like a firm gingerbread without the spices. It is dark and almost looks like chocolate cake, but has maple syrup and molasses for sweetener (and binder) so has a warm “brown” flavor.

It is more firm than a cake, so it can be cut in very small squares without it falling apart. This is an unusual attribute for no-wheat/gluten breads. It is not good for sandwiches but still has a texture I might miss otherwise.

I like it with salted butter as a bread substitute, or it can also be used under ice cream and strawberries for a variation on strawberry shortcake. I took it to a party Sunday, and went home with an empty pan. I didn’t get photos, so sorry.

Who Can Eat This?

This is an allergy-friendly, wheat-free, egg-free, gluten-free recipe, though it is so tasty that folks who do not have restrictions dig right in. In this realm, the brand of flour you use makes a difference in the final texture. Also in this realm, there are many possible alternative ingredient options, which makes the recipe layout a little clumsy.

I’ve made this bread dozens of times, never the same twice (the version below is the one I took to the party). It is very flexible about alternative sweeteners and liquids; and you can ignore the milk if you have none of the options available. A milk ingredient of any sort does hold the bread together a bit better, if you can use it.

Buckwheat Quick Bread by LynnH

Dry Ingredients:
1-1/2 c Arrowhead Mills Buckwheat Flour (Hodgson Mills will probably work, too… Bob’s has a different texture entirely)
Optional: 2 Tbsp Goat Milk powder (or sub powdered cow’s milk if you have that and are not allergic)
1-1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 pkg Emergen-C (or 1/4tsp unbuffered vitamin C crystals, or 1/2tsp cream of tartar; or 1Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice in a pinch, but reduce water by 1Tbsp if you do)
1/8tsp salt (optional)

Wet Ingredients:
3 Tbsp Maple Syrup (could sub agave nectar or brown rice syrup)
1 Tbsp Blackstrap Molasses (or more maple syrup, or standard molasses)
3 Tbsp Oil (I used olive)
2/3 C water (or sub any sort of milk product, such as soy, if you didn’t use a powdered milk and you are not allergic)

Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Oil a 9″/22.8cm glass pie pan (baking time may vary with a different size/material).

In mixing bowl, add dry ingredients and mix well with wire whisk. Goat milk powder may leave small clumps but this is not a problem.

Add all wet ingredients to bowl. Using whisk, blend all ingredients as quickly as possible, and stop mixing the moment all flour is wet. More mixing will hurt the texture of the bread.

Pour batter into prepared pan, bake about 18 minutes depending on your oven and type of pan. It is done when a toothpick, inserted in the center, comes out clean.

Cool as long as you can stand to wait (5-10 minutes on a wire rack). Cut, eat, enjoy!