Baking recipes

Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancakes

July 4, 2010

I have a somewhat recent love affair on buckwheat.  It seems like savory crepes (galettes) are all the rage here in Seattle, and almost all of them have a proportion of buckwheat in them. This is traditional to the area of France where they were apparently first developed – Brittany. Buckwheat has this lovely rich brown color, and a very distinctive nutty flavor all to its own. Even though the name might be misleading, it isn’t a wheat and is gluten free (watch out however for cross contamination in fields and processing if you are highly sensitive to gluten).

Savory crepes are quite possibly my favorite lunch of all time, given their endless variation and sheer rich indulgent mouth feel. If you ask me, it is all about the “complete” crepe – that is a crepe filled with ham and cheese, and topped with a fried egg. I mean seriously, it doesn’t get much better than that. Crepes have been a long term hit back home in England too. Heck, we have even taken over  a religious holiday, Shrove Tuesday, and practically renamed it to “pancake day”. A day where you eat a lot of pancakes. More pancakes than anyone should eat in a year.

But wait, you Yank’s say… “You call it pancake day, but you eat crepes? Thats messed up”. Why yes, yes it is to those whom pancakes and crepes mean different things. You see, in England we LOVE crepes. Just love them. However, they are of French invention and our love doesn’t quite stretch to the French. So, we renamed them in England to “pancake”. (that last statement I am sure is a bloody inaccurate history lesson). So what do we call those big thick pancakes that you see above, those which American’s call Pancakes? Well, we don’t really cook those back in the UK. Jamie Oliver has made them a bit popular, but most Brit’s still go for the Crepe.. crap, I mean Pancake…. If you see them on a menu, you might see them as “Pancakes – USA style”.. or something like that.

As most readers of this blog know, I have a son. A fantastic little boy. A fantastic little boy who completely loves pancakes. Every morning he either wants pancakes or Oaty Bites (a cereal). As a somewhat health conscious family we weren’t too keen on him scoffing down a lot of white flours, normally used in making pancakes. So we started to look elsewhere. A favorite little breakfast spot of ours has buckwheat pancakes, and they were really great. So we decided to go home and make our own.

We started by taking our regular pancake recipe that we liked, and simply replacing the flour with buckwheat flour. This was OK, but yielded a pancake heavier than I would have liked. We tweaked some ratios and got things better, but still not perfect.

It wasn’t until our go-to construction bloke, all round bloody nice guy and fantastic cook stopped by one day, after he finished our kitchen remodel (yes, we found a fantastic contractor who also loves to cook!!) and we got talking about pancakes. The guy also likes to hunt, and he told us a story of when he went hunting with a friend of his recently. This friend knocked together some pancakes when they were out in the mountains, and according to Dan (our contractor) were the best pancakes he had ever tasted. Course, I thought, everything tastes better outside, especially when you have spent the night uncomfortable in a sleeping bag..). However, apparently the guy had a certain technique to making the pancakes.

Separate the egg white from yolk. Whisk up the white until it is thick and stable, then gently fold this in to the batter at the end

Now, I have this vision of two burly guys sitting around a campfire discussing the finer points of pancake cookery. Rifles across laps, both wearing plad. Talking pancake technique. Maybe I should send that in as a possible storyline for Brokeback Mountain 2….

So anyhow, I tried it. A revelation in pancake makin’ I would have to say. It increases the lightness (is that a word?) ten fold. Twenty fold even. Heck, lets push that to one hundred fold. It makes whole grain pancakes (such as these) lighter than white flour pancakes, but with a far superior texture and mouth feel.

These pancakes are a weekly breakfast item here in the Wrightfood household. Twice weekly to be honest. These might just convert people over to the joys of buckwheat. If nothing else, take the whip-egg-white-n-fold technique and give it a go. As far as pancakes go, they are pretty healthy – being whole grain and all. To make things even more hippie healthy, white sugar is out and maple syrup is in. You could quite easily use a lovely honey in the recipe too. If you wanted to get all trendy and high-end you can serve these with a fruit compote or sauce. Me? I like good old fashioned butter and maple syrup.

Matt’s Buckwheat Pancake tips:

  1. Use the milk volume as a rough guide. Depending on your milk type, you might need more or less to get the desired consistency.We use goats milk in the recipe.
  2. As soon as you fold in the egg whites, get cooking.
  3. Pan choice is important – go for a heavy pan, cast iron or carbon steel.
  4. Use butter as your pan-lube of choice.
  5. Keep pancakes warm under either a heat-lamp or a low oven  as you cook them all.
  6. Make some larger ones to cut out shapes from. What.. you don’t have kids? Come on, everyone loves dinosaur pancakes..

Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancake Recipe

(great thanks to my lovely and talented wife Danika for taking hundreds of photos of the mixing n making of these pancakes)

Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancake Recipe

(makes 9 five inch pancakes – enough for two adults and a pancake munchin kid)

1 cup of buckwheat flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

2/3tsp. baking powder

pinch of sea salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 1/4 cup of milk

1 tablespoon of butter, plus more butter for cooking

1 egg

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, powder and salt. Melt the butter in a small pan, allow to cool.

Crack the egg open, holding over a bowl. Toss the egg yolk between the two shell halves, and let the white fall in to the bowl. Add the egg yolk, maple syrup and butter to the milk, whisk to combine the liquids.

Pour the liquid mix in to the dry ingredients. Use a large spoon to thoroughly combine all ingredients. Add more milk if the mixture seems to thick. You want it to flow relatively slowly, but easily from a spoon.

Mixing egg whites

Use an electric hand whisk to whisk up the egg white until it is just set and relatively solid. Gently fold this egg white in to the pancake mix until just combined. If you mix too much here then you will loose the fluffiness of the pancakes.

Heat up your pan, and rub the end of a butter stick over the cooking surface. When the butter is hot, pour in a scant 1/4 cup of batter. Cook this over medium heat until holes form in the top of the pancake, and the top looks almost set. Flip the pancake, and cook on this side for 15-30 seconds longer. Remove to a warm platter, and keep warm either in the oven or under a heat lamp.

Repeat with remaining mix.

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  • averagebetty July 5, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Gorgeous! Fluffing those egg whites makes all the difference 😀

  • nina July 5, 2010 at 4:24 am

    It is not everyday that you see sweet treats like this on this site, it does however make total sence to let the kiddies indulge in their favorite snack by just making it healthier!!!

  • Grapefruit July 5, 2010 at 5:03 am

    And I have the same cat cookie cutter – never thought to use it for pancakes!

  • foodess July 5, 2010 at 5:39 am

    That first pic is gorgeous! And the pancakes look delish.

  • baobabs July 5, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Stunning photos and very cute cut-outs. reminds me of the recent crepe spree I had in France.

  • Michelle July 5, 2010 at 10:50 am

    I too love buckwheat crepes – especially the “complete” from Breizh Cafe in Paris (with a big of bottle of cider and time to linger).

    These sound fantastic!

  • Lisa July 5, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    stunning photography! i love it, i love it all. the color, the composition, the movement, EVERYTHING! gorgeous!

  • Olivia July 5, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    I have a friend who is allergic to gluten and she has a hard time finding gluten free foods. Pancakes are normally out of the question for her so I will definitely be sending her this recipe thanks!

  • Alexis July 5, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I just found your food blog on on a browse for pancakes. As my boyfriend is gluten free and I cater my cooking to this, THANK GOODNESS you found a way to make gluten-free pancakes fluffy! Who cares if Mr & Mr Brokeback invented it. Thank you for experimenting & publishing! Now, on to try this for myeslf. Have a great Monday! 🙂

  • Jenn July 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    What a great illustrative post, I love making pancakes this way! The very first time I ever made gluten free pancakes I made them by separating the eggs and whipping them…. now I am lazy and have been skipping that step – next time I’ll make sure to do it again! Love using buckwheat flour too!

  • Dana July 5, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    How is it that I have never had either a buckwheat pancake or crepe? I promised myself I would make crepes before I turned 40 and I have three weeks to go. Maybe I’ll try a savory buckwheat crepe dinner. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • noëlle {simmer down!} July 6, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    I love this idea of whipping the egg whites! A little more work perhaps, but it looks like the results speak for themselves. I’ve been on quite the buckwheat crêpe kick myself- just had a houseguest from Brittany recently and I wrote about his favorite version of crêpes complètes, and coincidentally I had also posted a different version a few weeks prior to that. One of those foods that once you make them, you wonder why on earth you haven’t made them more often!

  • Redmenace July 7, 2010 at 4:52 am

    I love buckwheat pancakes, but my husband jokes it’s the one meal I cooked for him that he doesn’t like. However, I’m now convinced the cakes were too heavy. I adore your solution. Thanks, Matt!

  • hank July 7, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    You got a problem with hunters who can whip egg whites to stiff peaks? Better watch out, Brit, or I’ll tar and feather you and send you to my friends in Wyoming. They make rillettes out of Limeys like you…


  • mattwright July 7, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks for all the comments people!

    Hank – no problem at all here mate! I was just painting a picture of how I saw the whipped egg whites discussion! Wyoming sounds interesting. Reminds me why I don’t live there..

  • RV July 7, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Buckwheat pancakes are so delicious. Though they are little dense and bitter the sense of eating healthy makes me feel good.

  • MB July 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I teach at a school here in England and was excited that there was a ‘Pancake’ day until I realized I would be making 60 crepes not pancakes! Needless to say by the time I was flipping my 6oth crepe I felt like I had a reasonable grasp on making the yummy and might I add very French treat.

  • Hélène July 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    I love Buckwheat galettes. They are different than the crêpes. You only mix the Buckwheat with water, salt and baking soda. It makes thin galettes like in France. Now I am going to try your recipe. I have never heard of whisking up the whites before but makes sense now. They look more fluffy. What a treat for your son. I do eat my galettes with a tab of butter and molasses.

  • visnja clayton August 8, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    can you recommend a good omelette pan? i find mine i too big and makes a flat omelette

  • mattwright August 8, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Visnja – I like the carbon steel pans by De Buyer. They are relatively cheap, and heat perfectly.

  • Dawn August 9, 2010 at 3:43 am

    Matt, I made these this weekend for a crowd of about 20 hungry adults and children, and they were devoured. Even Ian loved them – his first taste of pancakes ever! We will definitely be adding these to our regular rotation.

  • Eimear Rose September 4, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Just made these without the egg and soya milk instead of dairy. Used ground flax and water for the egg. They were perfect. I have been looking for a GF pancake without egg that is fluffy and holds together- thanks for this! The flour: liquid ratio is perfect!

  • Amy September 12, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I made them this morning and they turned out perfectly.

  • Elizabeth@In Pursuit of His Excellence October 2, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Hi there,
    Just wanted to say thanks for posting this recipe!! I googled gluten free pancakes, looking for a recipe we could use for brunch this morning. We made these ones and they were a definite success!! They were definitely lighter than the oatmeal pancakes we used to make and have gone down so much better!! We think we’ll have to double the recipe next time…they disappeared way to quickly!! So thanks for sharing!!
    Elizabeth and family, from New Zealand 🙂

  • Amy December 2, 2010 at 1:22 am

    I’ve made this 3 times now and it’s awesome! I added a bunch of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves last time and it was lovely. My non-diabetic in laws, who have no idea whatsoever about diabetic food needs even liked it. Or at least they didn’t say anything to my face… 8^)


  • Lisa December 5, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Great pancakes! I didn’t read the recipe through first, and therefore just dumped the egg in with the rest of the wet ingredients, but they turned out great anyway. I added 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and also made the following substituions because my husband is on a candida diet. He ate his with almond butter, and I doused mine with butter and maple syrup! WIll add some cinnamon next time. Candida-friendly substitutions: a bit of stevia instead of the maple syrup, unsweetened almond milk for the milk, and canola oil instead of butter. Gorgeous photography, too.

  • Linda Brown January 1, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Just tried you buckwheat pancakes and they are wonderful

  • naomi devlin January 14, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    These look gorgeous! Your photos of pancakes and process are all stunning. What a lucky son! x x x

  • B Gordon January 17, 2011 at 1:46 am

    I have had these pancakes every weekend with my kids the last two months since reading this post. Thank you so much for this recipe. I have tried several variations including adding homemade yogurt and milk. I had always mixed buckwheat with brown rice flour or another gluten free flour thinking that buckwheat on its own wouldn’t turn out well. These are actually far better than any other gluten free combination or mix out there.

  • Rebecca January 17, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    These are amazing. thanks for this recipe.
    I put a little blackstrap molasses, yogurt and fruit on top and its the best breakfast ever!

  • Bridgett January 30, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I substituted buttermilk for the milk and they turned out great!

  • Alice February 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Unbelievably good! My husband is not a gluten free guy so we usually have to eat separate foods. These are the best pancakes ever.

  • Gabrielle March 20, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I just made these for my chef husband and they were amazing! We are out of maple syrup so I used molasses instead and leftover mixed berry sauce from yesterday’s breakfast. Delicious!

  • Christa Lomax March 25, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    These are delicious! And so easy to make. The family is happy 🙂

  • Colleen April 6, 2011 at 1:07 am

    Just have a quick question for you – is it two thirds of a teaspoon of baking powder, or 2 to 3 teaspoons? Just wanted to make sure. These look great. Can’t wait to try them. Thanks.

    • mattwright April 6, 2011 at 6:08 pm

      Collen – it is two thirds

  • catherine sinclair galea April 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    A very inspiring chatty recipe with great pics. I made them just now and one son whipped up the whites which make them light and fluffy. I also replaced the mik with soya and the butter with grapeseed oil plus a dash of ground cinnamon. Cooked them in grapeseed oil except for my husband who likes them in butter – and the kids had them wiht Nutella or butter and honey. I have them last and plain so they won’t get and colder and then add something sweet (as above) with the penultimate bite so that the last bite is not sickly sweet. Very many thanks and congratulations to you all.

  • Jenijen April 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Making these for the first time right now (Easter morning). Just snuck one of the first batch. Incredible! Best gf thing I’ve made yet 😉 Thanks!