Buckwheat Cheese Straws

Buckwheat Cheese Straws Recipe


These cheese straws look like wispy tree branches. Wayne calls them cheese twigs, and they never last very long around here. Crispy, cheddar-flecked, and rustic, it's the buckwheat flour that lends these slender creations their convincing shade of brownish gray. To my eye, the toasted cheddar bits look a bit like orange moss - but maybe I'm over-thinking things. After you get the hang of it, these are easy to make. It might just take a practice twig or two. The recipe was inspired by a rye-thyme cheese straw recipe I enjoyed years ago from Jerry Traunfeld's The Herbal Kitchen. Think of these as a distant cousin.

Cheese Straw Recipe

Before we get to the recipe I should also say, another thing I like about these is all the ways you can use them at the table. They make a dramatic centerpiece standing upright in a small glass or jar, but are just as much fun lying down, stacked and tangled together like an edible pile of sticks.

Cheese Straw Recipe

It also occurred to me as I was making this last batch, that if you got tired of making straws, you might stamp out various cracker shapes. I haven't tried it with this exact dough, but I suspect it would work nicely. I'd keep the dough 1/4-inch thick or less, and keep a close eye on things while they are baking.

 
 
 
 

Buckwheat Cheese Straws

The buckwheat flour here gives these cheese straws a depth that others made from all-purpose flour don't have. That being said, you could certainly give these a shot using all whole wheat pastry flour, spelt flour, or unbleached all-purpose flour. Or experiment with other flours in place of the buckwheat flour.

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3/4 cup (2 1/2 ounces) white cheddar, shredded on a box grater
1/2 cup ice cold water

Combine the flours, salt and thyme in a bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles little pebbles in a beach of sandy flour (about 20 quick pulses). Alternately, you can cut the butter in using a knife and fork. Transfer to a mixing bowl and toss in the cheese. Sprinkle with ice water and use your hands or a spoon to stir it through and bring everything together into a ball of dough. Flatten the ball into a 1-inch thick square patty, wrap well in plastic, and place in the freezer for thirty minutes.

In the meantime, preheat your oven to 400F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat, and place a rack in the middle of the oven.

I find it easiest to work with one half of the dough at a time. Remove the dough from the freezer, cut in half, re-wrap the half you won't be using immediately, and place it back in the freezer. If the dough gets too warm it is difficult to work with. On a well-floured surface roll out the remaining dough into a rectangle roughly 6x12-inches and 1/4-inch thick. Use a knife to cut 1/2-inch wide strips (see photo), each about 6-inches long. Now take a strip of dough and gently pinch it all along its length so that it is easier to roll out into a straw shape roughly 12-inches long. If the dough is giving you trouble, consider chilling it a bit longer. Place each straw on the prepared baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining strips, leaving at least 1/2 inch between each straw.

Bake the straws one pan at a time for about 8-10 minutes, or until the straws look set, and the cheese is golden where it is touching the pan. Flip each straw and bake for another 2-3 minutes on the other side. Keep in mind if your straws are on the thin side, they'll bake in a flash, if they are slightly thicker they will need to go longer. Remove from oven and let cool, they will crisp more as they cool.

Sometimes I bake off half the dough, and keep the other half in the freezer for another day, but feel free to bake all of it - repeating the process with the second half of reserved dough.

Makes about 4 dozen straws.

Prep time: 60 min - Cook time: 10 min

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Your Comments


ali @ gimmesomeoven
August 22, 2009

Love these!! I bet they would be a charming autumn centerpiece as well - fun! :)

 

kyle
August 22, 2009

you are so creative! thank you so much. will definitely be buckwheat flour for the first time for these.

 

Amy
August 22, 2009

You're right, it does look like orange moss. It's almost gross looking, but I wan to make these now! I've always wanted to make something with buckwheat...Do you know if there is a recipe somewhere for soba noodles?

 

Sean Tierney
August 22, 2009

I'm sure these are tasty little snacks, but it's their twig like appearance that makes them so appealing.

I'm going to try this recipe out myself very soon.

Thanks for the idea!

 

trish
August 22, 2009

lovely...I must try these. They look terrific and healthy too...great shots.

 

Liz
August 22, 2009

They look a bit rough-and-tumble.

To make, that is!

Anything that thin and wispy terrifies me, but I'll pretty much do anything for buckwheat. I think I'll try my hand at these tomorrow.

 

Mark
August 22, 2009

I want to try these. I live in Poland (American ex pat) and Buckwheat is actually a staple here and given to kids even when they are 1 year old.
ps your photos are great, they looks very rustic with the background not contrasting with but accenting your buckwheat sticks :)

 

Daily Spud
August 23, 2009

I was only just this morning looking through the flours that I have in my baking cupboard and thinking that I really should make something with the buckwheat, which has been sitting there, unloved, for a while. I think I've I just found the something that I'm going to make. Thank you!

 

The Gardener's Eden
August 23, 2009

Very Botanical ! I will definitely try these for a gathering of gardening friends...
I see lots of variations on this theme.
Thank you Heidi.
-Michaela

 

Jan
August 23, 2009

these look like a dare... or is it a 'reward challenge'? Thanks for sharing!!

 

dragonfly pie
August 23, 2009

Wow, they really do look like twigs! Tasty, tasty twigs. I love anything with buckwheat, so I'll be trying these out soon.

 

Nirvana
August 23, 2009

Wow! I definitely want to try these for when I have company over. They look so neat!

 

Emily
August 23, 2009

Those are absolutely gorgeous! Also, this gives me another reason (excuse) to go get some buckwheat flour. I've never used it before, but I'm always wanting to try out new (healthy, bonus!) things in the kitchen.

 

deba
August 23, 2009

Rustic, moreish and so full of character. Just gorgeous Heidi. I love the use of buckwheat. Hv used this grain in your lasagna tart, in the cacoa nib cookies and cheese cookies too. fabulous! Can't wait to make these knobbly twigs!

 

These look like fun to make! And they're definitely centerpiece or garnish-worthy. Can't wait to try these!

 

Anna
August 23, 2009

so cute! I'm on a bit of a buckwheat kick at the moment so these are a must try!

 

Pamela
August 23, 2009

Buckwheat is part of my Russian Jewish heritage, as is kasha. I like trying out different grains. Yesterday I made a summer salad with quinoa instead of couscous. Today will be the day to try it out. I used almond butter instead of tahini.

 

Kamran Siddiqi
August 23, 2009

I bet if I made these in my home, they'd definitely be gone in a flash. I'd have to make more than the four dozen with how fast these might disappear.

I'll give it a try. I may even try some other herbs in addition to thyme- just to experiment a bit.

 

chana
August 23, 2009

these look like something my 3 year old can help with, i'll try to make them with vegetable shortening and no cheese to make them vegan for my husband, maybe i'll use some more fresh herbs...

 

Maggie
August 23, 2009

Love the look, esp. the marble table top. Thanks!

 

eric
August 23, 2009

I look forward to your recipe emails every week!
These look amazing! I will have to get busy in the kitchen now.
Keep up the great work!

 

Mixing Bowl Mama
August 23, 2009

These look gorgeous. What a wonderful centerpiece idea...so colourful and they would look great on our Canadian Fall dinner table. I think the cracker idea is a wonderful one... especially for young kids to make.

 

Erin
August 23, 2009

Great photos and the straws look tasty! We'll have to try them soon. Thanks!

 

Gina
August 23, 2009

YUM! What a great idea! Those look delicious!

 

Kathy
August 23, 2009

These are going on the menu for this week. Yum! They look so interesting and sound so delicious.

 

Ibby
August 23, 2009

These would be fabulous as part of a Halloween meal! You could make them more bent and funky...

 

99bonk
August 23, 2009

do you know how long to cook pure buckwheat noodles? I got some at my local coop in the bulk food section and there are no instructions for how long to cook - all the ones in packets include wheat flour and I rather think pure buckwheat noodles might require different timing. Thanks for your help.

 

Sheila
August 23, 2009

These look great. I avoid the traditional cheese straws made with layers and layers of butter. This one looks a bit lighter and the fiber from the buckwheat is an added benefit.
Thanks for the recipe.

 

Betty
August 23, 2009

These look perfect for Halloween. I make a cheese spread that includes gorgonzola in the recipe that turns it slightly greyish then form it into a flying ghost shape. The "sticks" would go perfectly with it.

 

Linda Androws
August 23, 2009

Heidi, I'm giving these a try,as soon as I can make it to the store tomorrow for the buckwheat flour! I have Celiac and would love some new recipes for breads, crackers, pizza dough, low calorie cookies, anything you can help with. It is a challenge to come up with satisfying and tasty new foods to substitute for traditional wheat laden foods. My darling daughter turned me on to your site. I LOVE your recipes and I have incorporated many into my repertoire. Whenever I try something new from you, my husband, a true carnivore, is very pleased! Thank you so much for all the inspiration!

 

Suz of Santa Cruz, CA
August 23, 2009

Heidi - these look & sound super! Your site is always a great treat. Thanks.
For a variation, my ex-husband, the chef, used to run breadstick dough thru the pasta machine, let it rest (in fridge?), cut it in very long, very thin strips, then twist them and even roll the tops of the sticks around something tubular while baking. Very fanciful, magical centerpieces. And sprinkled with large grain salt, they sparkle!

 

Anna
August 23, 2009

if I used ordinary whole wheat flour, should I use a leavening agent? I have never seen ww pastry flours where I live(Small Town, Canada)

 

Virginia
August 23, 2009

I'm going to have to try them, and by the way, I added you as one of my link. Have a great start of the week

 

molly
August 23, 2009

I love buckwheat. Really love it. I can't wait to try these. They sort of take the guilt out of cheese straws, don't they?

 

sangeeta khanna
August 23, 2009

buckwheat in India is a grain used during hindu fasting....we make soups and stews with it and some fried crackers....i am getting new ideas to prepare it...
thanks for sharing....it really looks like twigs.

 

Inge
August 24, 2009

Can somebody tell me what ice water is exactly? Is it just really cold water? I'm from the Netherlands and have never heard of it before in cooking. Thanks!

 

Inge
August 24, 2009

These look totally amazing by the way! It does look like moss.

 

Maya
August 24, 2009

Wayne is right - they do look like twigs :) I have a a little bag of buckwheat flour and these do look interesting!

 

Florence
August 24, 2009

These look fantastic and I love anything with buckwheat. I Was wondering if you have ever made them with olive oil instead of butter?

 

dawn
August 24, 2009

oh how fascinating! they make a really nice decoration too. lol

 

lisaiscooking
August 24, 2009

I love the visual appeal of these, and I like the flavor of buckwheat flour. I have to try these!

 

rachel
August 24, 2009

Wow, these look incredible. They would be so perfect in a nature-themed wedding/party.

 

small kitch cara
August 24, 2009

these are beautiful! i was experimenting with savory crackers for a while too, and there's something about them that makes them always come out right. perhaps it's because i'm not cheap with the butter...

 

Feisty with Flavor
August 24, 2009

What a perfect addition to fall entertaining. Will be axious to serve these at the next gathering.

 

I love Buckwheat!!! These look awesome. Perfect for fall! Could you also make them in a flat, round cracker shape?

 

Eleonora
August 24, 2009

Hello, I just arrived on your site through a pH other blog and I find your pictures beautiful by real side. I go through google translate to write and I guess through your recipe a novelty for me. I return to visit you with pleasure and hail from France, Strasbourg ... soon. Forgive me for the translation of English that is different than writing it normally, but at least I can send you a note.

 

Eleonora
August 24, 2009

Hello, I just arrived on your site through a pH other blog and I find your pictures beautiful by real side. I go through google translate to write and I guess through your recipe a novelty for me. I return to visit you with pleasure and hail from France, Strasbourg ... soon. Forgive me for the translation of English that is different than writing it normally, but at least I can send you a note.

 

Wizzythestick
August 24, 2009

Wow a recipe that makes me want to eat twigs!

 

Kelly
August 25, 2009

Those look gorgeous. I love the rustic appearance of them because it makes them so different than what I normally think of as cheese straws. I love baking with buckwheat flour and this looks like it would be a great use of it.

 

Lauren
August 25, 2009

These look terrific, I love cheese straws, cheese crackers, really just cheese :) but can't wait to have a few twigs now!

 

Nutmeg Nanny
August 25, 2009

Wow these look so neat! They remind me of tree limbs...haha.

 

Becky and the Beanstock
August 25, 2009

Oh, cheese straws. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. The crunch, the twiggy snap, the complex cheesy flavor, the entertainment value (good for fencing if you're bored). I bet the buckwheat makes these a real treat -- plus it lowers the glycemic impact. I'm heading to an outdoor concert/picnic this week and I think these will be the perfect thing to bring along with a good bottle of rose'.

 

grammy
August 25, 2009

These look like fun for a buffet table. would also like the rye-thyme straws recipe, i have two differnt rye flours to use.

 

Biz
August 25, 2009

Love the idea of using this as a center piece!

 

Sure beats those horrible Oreo sticks that I keep seeing around! ugh. These are lovely!

 

aubade
August 25, 2009

Ooh cute, the 1st thing I thought of was Halloween party food! I wonder if it would work with Teese cheeze or Joanne Stepaniak's block colby? I need to try that...

 

eva
August 26, 2009

Love it! Unfortunately there is no buckwheat flour around here :(

 

cheesepuffz4me
August 26, 2009

mmmmm...email me da taste...lol

 

Hallowen
August 26, 2009

i Love it!

 

The Leftoverist
August 26, 2009

I'm with you--the cheese does look a bit like moss. In this case, that's a good thing.

These are the sort of recipes that help get me out of ruts--i.e. warm up bread in the oven. I'm doing food for an autumn party at an art gallery soon, and these would be so perfect. I will give you credit, of course :)

 

RiverWhispers
August 26, 2009

Its amazing how they go from a kind of grayish color to brown in the cooking. They look almost like they're going to jump right out of the screen in your wonderful picture.

I'd probably use something other than thyme (like fresh garlic and/or chives) myself, but I usually try recipes first like their written before I start my mad chemist routine (and do things my way). This looks fun!

 

Emma
August 26, 2009

I love cheese straws - Mum used to make them for us when we were younger. I will have to share this recipe with her. Thanks Heidi!

 

I eat gluten & sugar-free and am sure that this is recipe could easily be made gluten-free. I'm going to try it and see what I can come up with. They look delicious!

 

yummyfoodies
August 26, 2009

WOW thats so so so creative! i NEED to make those for our next gathering! have to have to have to!!
i made cheese sticks b4! but these r in a different league :P

 

Katie
August 27, 2009

Wow they do look like tree twigs, but I'd love to try them. I'll take a trees-worth please

 

chinesecookbookblog
August 27, 2009

I made this the other night and it is AWESOME!! Thank you for sharing the recipe. I will be adding it to my collection for sure.
Two thumbs WAY UP!

 

miey
August 27, 2009

oh wow. i will have to try these. they would be great for holiday partys too, they looks so cool. sound healthy and delish. plus pretty simple. thanks :)

 

foodcreate
August 27, 2009

Grand Idea ! I will be try them soon !
They look delicious ~