I'm interested in buckwheat. What is it, what are the common uses, and why are there so many recipies (relatively speaking) for buckwheat pancakes? What does the buckwheat do to a pancake that makes it particularly well suited for that item?

Does it have certain nutritional or chemical properties that it is valued for in the cooking community?

Is it common among serious/enthusiast chefs, and I'm just out of the loop?

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    I've no evidence of this, but... Buckwheat's lack of gluten would seem to lend itself more readily to something like pancakes than, say, bread (not that you can't use it for bread, but it won't have a great texture). That said, many recipes also call for wheat flour. FWIW, I used to love buckwheat... Then I developed an allergy to it. Vomiting really kills the enjoyment.
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 28, 2011 at 16:06
  • @knives- good call about the lack of gluten. I forgot about that one. Commented Mar 28, 2011 at 18:17

1 Answer 1


Buckwheat seems to have fallen out of favor in the US. In other countries it is still a staple.

In Russia buckwheat (grechka) is eaten as a hot cereal- just boil it until it bursts and add some sweetened condensed milk. Delicious. In fact- the best way I have purchased it locally is by finding international grocery stores that have a Russian section.

It has a very distinctive nutty, earthy flavor. You would recognize it if you have had it so it seems unlikely to me that there might be some clandestine usage and you are "out of the loop" at all.

Although it is very nutritious (a whole grain and all), it is used in pancakes just for the flavor. It's usage in pancakes seems to be purely traditional and taking informal surveys of my friends (in Texas) it is uncommon for anyone to know what it is at all.

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