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.

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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

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

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

Florence

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

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

Inge

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

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.

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?

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

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)

Anna

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!

Suz of Santa Cruz, CA

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!

Linda Androws

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.

Betty

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.

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.

99bonk

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

Ibby

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

Kathy

YUM! What a great idea! Those look delicious!

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

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.

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!

eric

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