Real Buckwheat "Cakes" ~

Believe it or not, ha ha – well it shouldn’t really be much of a surprise, when I was requested to share this recipe I started to write some things down then discovered that I previously posted it on my blog April 26, 2009 – So I’m adding to the previous – a now revised version and there is always for the most part some thoughts, a memory, some story ~

 Not many had the privilege of eating "real" buckwheat "cakes" growing up or even know what they are outside of a packaged mix.  Though my brother and I as wee kids growing up in Pennsylvania this was a treat!  Our Gram would always make buckwheats in the fall and wintertime each year.  Even after moving out west she made buckwheats and always the same time of the year.  She'd make a batter and let it sit overnight similar to if you were making a starter or poolish (sponge) for bread or at lest it resembled one.  The only difference is in the morning you would add a little soda (possibly) with a bit of water - while stirring dropping the batter all down from an evening of rising.  Then cook them on a hot griddle like regular pancakes with bacon drippings.  After I got married I made them for my husband (the avid pancake lover) and then our boys while they were growing up, just like she fixed them for hers, or as close to how she made them as possible.  We love them!

This is not your ordinary "cake!"  They're a bit on the tart to sour side with a thinner batter producing a flatter pancake or crepe type cake.  The batter is made the night before in a crock allowing this yeast batter to rise.   Gram served the cakes always with butter and syrup, the syrup was usually made with brown sugar cooked down in water when we didn't have "real" maple, and it’s good with honey too.  If there were any leftovers, however seldom, you would keep a batter going similar to making a sourdough / bread starter etc., as mentioned earlier.  Mostly, Gram would just start over as we could eat tons more than your regular cake type pancake. :)  If you did have batter left and planned to continue for the next morning the cakes will grow more sour to taste and the longer they set the more sour they get.  But with maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar syrup whatever you choose the combination of sweet/sour balances out nicely.  Again, We love them! One time I had made buckwheats for friends and was told they had a beer taste – maybe a hoppy taste.  .  . hummmm . .  To us they only get better and better. 

As far as I know this was something Gram and her siblings grew up with and looking at the origins of the cakes being Eastern Europe and Ireland that would make sense.  Maybe that’s where the hoppy comes lol!  With the few versions out there - added whole wheat, all-purpose or other in the batter or just buckwheat is your choice.  
These cakes are also dark in appearance and some are darker than others.  Light buckwheat is hulled and dark is un-hulled that’s the only difference with the shade; I prefer dark but will eat them either way.  Buckwheat is also a gluten free "non-grain" for those that can’t have gluten and does have nutritional benefits. 

When our Gram got way older and didn’t make the cakes anymore we never acquired her exact recipe.  Other relatives didn't seem to make them in keeping up with what possibly was traditional, frankly if they did we wouldn’t have known.  I can’t recall ever speaking with anyone of our cousins and taking a stab here, with what my Great-Grandmother “Mom” had made, expect hearing “Oh, so and so used to eat buckwheats!”

The recipe I found in a book years ago was as close as I could remember to how I saw them made, I can’t even locate the book anymore.  One additive this recipe had was one cup of wheat; again it doesn't have to be used.  For anyone who hasn’t had them made this way with yeast and like the packaged mix not true to the cakes, I would suggest adding an all-purpose or other gluten free flour.  If you’re the adventurous type leave it out and just stick with the buckwheat.  You just might be “hoppy” with the sour/sweet or sweet/sour combination only you can answer.  J

Buckwheat Pancakes (from the book)

They night before and in a crock (I've use my crock pot before or a large rubber maid with lid) dissolve 1 package of yeast in 1 cup of warm water.

Warm in pan together:
2 Cups of milk (warm not hot)
1/4-cup butter
2 tsp. salt
3 TB sugar or honey (if using)

I heat this all together to melt butter and let cool down some as to not be to hot when adding to yeast.  I tend to use less sugar to no for more sour; the syrup is sweet enough.

Pour the milk mixture into the dissolved yeast and stir together then add;
2 Cups buckwheat flour
1 Cup of all-purpose, wheat flour, or a gluten free or buckwheat (though not listed in book)   Mix altogether well - cover with lid and hit the sack.

Next morning:
After you've had your coffee- add 1/2 tsp. of baking soda stirred into some water and mix into batter. You want a thin batter not real thick, so you can add a little more water and thin a bit. Enjoy.    BTW the griddle used goes way back with a story of it's own.  It was Jim's gramma's and he became a lover of pancakes from the times he spent with her.  

Interesting links to further your possible interest with the pancake ~

Nutritional Benefits Dr. Axe
Nutritonal Benefits Worlds Healthiest Foods
Huff Post w/recipe and benefits
The Irish Times w/recipe
Life Food and Drink - what to eat now (looks like something I'd like to try).
Olive Buckwheat non-yeast recipe
Irish Cultures and Customs w/recipes

Pictures here from 4-26-09 post - I miss my kitchen ~

But, what if you don't want to make pancakes and you have leftover batter and you don't want to throw it out?  You could store it in the frig for a short then bring it out and leave it to room temp before adding to it.  Or.  .  .  Make bread!  I did try it though no recipes to be found for support of your "idea?" They look nice and tasted good like a sour dough but with a slight buckwheat flavor.  It made a nice sandwich with Black forrest Ham.


Becky said…
I will have to try these!!!! Sounds great. The picture isn't showing up, though. I'd like to see them so I can really get hungry!!
Becky said…
Oh yeah - they DO look good!! I like the changing pictures, too.

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