Healthy Buckwheat Crackers

 In fodmap, gluten free, snack, special diet

gluten-free snack, fodmap-friendly

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These buckwheat crackers are ridiculously easy to make, take less than an hour from prep to baking to being done. They’re healthier and more nutritious than wheat crackers. Buckwheat isn’t really wheat; it’s related to rhubarb, and gluten-free. The nutritional value is higher than many other grains, it has high amounts of minerals and antioxidants. It helps lower cholesterol and is heart-healthy. One cup of buckwheat flour supplies 18% of magnesium, and helps lower blood pressure. It has low to medium glycemic index (blood sugar rises slowly after eating it), so it may help manage diabetes too. In other words, these crackers make a super healthy snack, and they’re my new favorite thing.

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I started making these crackers a couple of months ago, initially out of desperation. One of the food groups I had to cut out as a result of the fodmap diet I was on was wheat. While I didn’t think I ate a lot of wheat products, I quickly realized how hard it was to avoid it. No bread, no english muffins, no bagels, no croissants. I had to rethink breakfasts and lunches and brunches. But that was doable. Harder was snacks. I’m not much of a snacker, but now because I was eating lighter meals I started getting hungry in between lunch and dinner. Before I could have a banana or fruit juice for example – but many fruits were now restricted on the diet, and fruit juices were a no no. My other go-to snacks were crackers. I could have crackers with dips, other toppings. Cheese and crackers and wine were almost a daily evening ritual. But I couldn’t find crackers that didn’t have some forbidden ingredient. So I started researching into wheat alternatives to try to make my own crackers with a low fodmap-friendly ingredient.

Buckwheat is allowed on the diet. I’ve never made anything with just buckwheat flour before (I had previously incorporated it as one of the ingredients in bread). It has an interesting taste, is soft in texture, and a beautiful almost dark grayish color. The first time I made the crackers though they tasted a bit strange, and because I inadvertently made them too thick they were neither crackers nor cookies. Since then I’ve been experimenting with batches, and the recipe here is my favorite version so far.

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I flavor these with cumin seeds – they add a nice contrast to the buckwheat taste. My friends who were reluctant to try the crackers because they thought they looked weird ended up loving the cumin seed version. You can use other flavors you like. I’ve tried fresh rosemary, it works pretty well (but I think the cumin seeds work better).

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Healthy Buckwheat Crackers

YIELD: about 40 crackers

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter (not melted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • About 1/4-1/2 cup water, may need less or more (see instructions)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted (you can use fresh rosemary instead)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt for sprinkling on the crackers before baking (I used coarse black sea salt because I like the sharp taste and the color).

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Heat a small pan over medium heat. After a minute, add the cumin seeds and dry roast them for a minute or two, until you get a wonderful aroma (make sure not to burn). Remove from heat, and pour the seeds into a small bowl to use later.
  3. Take a big glass or plastic bowl, mix buckwheat flour, oil, butter, salt. If you are using fresh rosemary for flavoring, chop it and add now. Add half the water. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Add more water bit by bit until the dough feels right – not too dry and crumbly. Don’t add all the water at one go, add little by little, because otherwise the dough can end up too wet and then you won’t be able to roll it out. On humid days I need less water. On dry days I need more to get the same consistency.
  5. When the dough consistency feels right, divide in half and make into 2 balls.
  6. On a cutting board (or a clean flat surface), roll out the dough with a rolling pin.
  7. After you’ve rolled the dough flat on one side, you’ll have to carefully flip it over. Since this is gluten-free flour, it won’t be sticky, stretchy, pliant unlike wheat flour. It tends to break apart easily. In order to prevent it from falling apart while flipping, take a wide chef’s knife (or a thin spatula), slide under the flattened dough, and carefully flip it over onto the other side. Roll this side, and flip over again using the same method. Continue until process till you get a nice thin sheet. If the sheet breaks, that’s ok, because you’ll be cutting this into small pieces anyway to make crackers, so no need for perfection.
  8. Cut the sheet into squares or rectangles with a knife.
  9. Sprinkle the crackers with coarse salt and the roasted cumin seeds (if you’re using them), and lightly press these into the cracker with the flat wide blade of a knife.
  10. Take parchment paper, and lay it down on a baking pan. Grease generously with butter (you don’t want the crackers to stick to the paper and not come off after baking). Also sprinkle all over with flour (this helps make sure the crackers won’t stick; when I first tried baking these I didn’t grease or sprinkle with flour, and I had to throw out majority of the crackers because the paper wouldn’t come off).
  11. Carefully lift the crackers with a spatula and move them to the greased, floured sheet. 
  12. Bake for 20 minutes.
  13. Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack and cool the crackers.

NOTE

You can use less butter and olive oil, but then the crackers will be very hard. Adding butter and oil makes the crackers softer but still crunchy, and also gives a nice dark color. Don’t add too much butter/oil, otherwise you won’t be able to roll the dough, it’ll fall apart. You can see the difference in color in the last photo below – the two light gray crackers on the top left are from a batch I made with 1/4 teaspoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon butter; these were very hard. The rest of the crackers that are darker in color are from the batch using this exact recipe.

I love these crackers with smoked salmon. I cut little pieces of smoked salmon and put on the crackers, sprinkle with freshly cracked pepper, and garnish with fresh dill. So tasty!!!

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