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 minutes - Cook time: 10 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Comments

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

    Maggie
  • 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...

    chana
  • 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.

    Kamran Siddiqi
  • 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.

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

    Anna
  • 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!

    deba
  • 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.

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

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

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

    Jan
  • 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

    The Gardener's Eden
  • 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!

    Daily Spud
  • 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 :)

    Mark
  • 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.

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

    trish
  • 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!

    Sean Tierney
  • 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?

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

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

    ali @ gimmesomeoven
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