With a nutty taste and a fluffy texture, these buckwheat pancakes from Auvergne are a recipe from yesteryear’s France. And the best part: they are nutritious and healthy, thanks to the wonderful buckwheat flour.
Being from Brittany, France, I am all about buckwheat. So, when I came across this old recipe of Buckwheat Pancakes hailing from Auvergne, I just had to try it… and it was a great success! These pancakes delivered all the right flavors of buckwheat: a nutty, earthy taste, with a subtle lingering acerbity.
One bite, and I was back in France.
Buckwheat, known as “the black wheat”, was widely grown in Cantal in the past. Cantal is bucolic central-France department, hosting the bare and rugged Monts du Cantal mountain chain traversing this upper area of the Auvergne region.
Today, buckwheat cultivation has declined tremendously in the area, and on the whole French land in general. But with the newer food trends and buckwheat being now commended as a highly nutritious and gluten-free cereal, some people are re-exploring ways to bring back its cultivation to the Auvergne grounds.
Replacing bread, these buckwheat pancakes were the base of workers and farmers’ meals. Less famous than the thinner buckwheat crepes from Brittany, the Bourriols are today still an old-time favorite in Auvergne (with a delicate nutty taste just a delicious as the ones from Brittany!).
Tradition will want you to enjoy them warmed-up in a pan with some melted Cantal cheese on top, the famous locally-produced dairy delicacy.
The authentic recipe is made with whey, the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. Cheese farmers would then use their left-over whey to then bake a batch of bourriols). Whey is a byproduct from the production of cheese, so don’t be shy and try to ask your local cheese shop (or even better, local cheese farmer) if they could keep some whey aside for you (You’d be surprised! Most of them throw it out and you would be doing them a favor by disposing it away from them.) Another option is to make your own whey (it is actually pretty easy!).
But if you don’t have the luck to find it, or time to make it, don’t worry: the recipe works very well with using a mix of 2% milk and water. This is what I did for this batch (that I photographed here) and the pancakes turned out perfectly.
These Buckwheat Pancakes are perfect for a healthy breakfast, with some fruit jam or maple syrup. And for lunch, stuff them with cheese, ham or even an egg.
Buckwheat Pancakes from AuvergnePrint This
1 2/3 cup buckwheat flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
6 teaspoons instant yeast
1 ½ cup whey (or ¾ cup water + ¾ cup skim milk)
The night before, sift together the flours in a big mixing bowl (the batter will double in size, so get a bowl big enough).
Place the instant yeast in a smaller mixing bowl and slowly pour the whey (or water and milk) on top of it.
Slowly add the wet to the dry ingredients, whisking vigorously to avoid any clumps. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let rest overnight, in a dry room.
The day of, heat a pan (with a splash of vegetable oil) on medium-high heat. Mix the batter and pour some on the pan, using about ¼ cup for each pancake.
Once the top of the pancake gets golden and is covered with small popping bubbles, remove it from the pan (do not flip it like a regular pancake, these ones are meant to be cooked just on one side.). Repeat for each pancake, and enjoy them with the topping of your choice – sweet or savory.
This recipe is translated and adapted from the book “Les carnets de Julie: Julie cuisine la France… chez vous!” by Julie Andrieu.