Buckwheat bread is bread based on buckwheat flour, which is made by grinding a small, grain-like dried fruit called buckwheat into a powder. Usually, buckwheat bread contains buckwheat flour as well as other types of flours to improve the texture and flavor of the bread. Most buckwheat bread is made with wheat flour, so it is not gluten free but may have reduced gluten levels. There are several different types of buckwheat bread, each designed for a different dietary restriction, or preference for flavor or texture.
Gluten-free buckwheat bread is usually made with rice flour mixed in. Most types of buckwheat bread also contain yeast, sugar and eggs, but some recipes for buckwheat breads omit the yeast and include baking powder as the leavening agent. Vegan bread recipes leave out the eggs, but may or may not include yeast.
Buckwheat has a relatively strong earthy flavor compared to other grains, which can be surprising to someone who is most familiar with the flavor of wheat bread. To make the bread tastier overall, buckwheat bread is often sweetened to a greater degree than typical wheat bread. This can be done by including a fruit, like raisins or bananas, in the bread, or it can be done by glazing the bread with melted honey or molasses. Molasses and honey impart a sweet flavor to the bread that blends with and tempers the strong earthy flavor of buckwheat.
Most people consider buckwheat to be a grain, but it is actually a small fruit that grows from a plant that looks quite a bit like ivy. True grains grow on straight-leaved grasses, and while buckwheat grows on a broadleaf plant, which has wide, traditional leaves. Buckwheat is one of several fruits similar to grains used to help people who are intolerant to gluten consume breads. Other gluten-free pseudograins used to make bread include amaranth and quinoa.
Gluten is a type of protein that is most common in foods made from wheat plants and plants related to wheat. Foods made from barley and rye grains can also contain gluten. Bread that is free of wheat gluten is important because some conditions, like celiac disease, mean the patient has an allergic reaction to gluten that can cause damage within the digestive system. Though celiac disease is a common type of gluten intolerance, patients may have many other digestive conditions caused by gluten intolerance that can benefit from a gluten-restricted diet.