THE BEST WHEAT OR BUCKWHEAT FLOURS FOR YOUR CREPE OR GALETTE BATTER
Wheat flour is generally used to make sweet crepes, and buckwheat flour for savoury galettes. Of course, nothing prevents you from making savoury crepes and sweet galettes... it's all delicious!
Flour for crepe batter
Wheat flour is used, also known as "soft" wheat.
The grains of this cereal are made up of 70% of sugar, starch and 10% of a substance composed of proteins, gluten. The rest is water (15%), carbohydrates and fat.
When making crepe batter, water is mixed with the gluten to make the batter elastic and give it a soft texture.
The starch increases in volume by absorbing the water from the milk: the batter thickens.
The different types of flours
The brown husk of wheat is called bran and contains minerals.
Flour is more or less refined depending on its purpose, i.e. the purer it is, the less bran it contains.
The following classification is only valid in France:
"Type 110" wheat flour is used to make wholemeal bread, "type 65" (whiter) for farmhouse bread, "type 55" (even whiter) for white bread, and "type 45" (even whiter) for pastries... and therefore for crepes!
Should you buy type 45 or type 55 wheat flour to make crepes?
The most suitable flour is type 45. You can however use type 55 flour, but your batter will be thicker, so don't forget to slightly increase the amount of milk.
You should therefore buy "type 45" or "T45" flour.
Should you buy artisanal or industrial?
If you have the possibility, I invite you to buy artisanal flour, ideally organic, whose manufacture is respectful of the environment and people, like that of the mill "Le moulin de l'Ecluse" near Quimper in Brittany.
If this is not possible, you will have to take industrial flour which will be less healthy (you will find enough articles on the internet about pesticides, preservatives, improvers, correctors and various additives...).
You can buy fluid flour "guaranteed without lumps": this flour is sifted and the fine, regular grains have less tendency to clump together when they come into contact with milk. It was invented by Francine in 1969.
You should keep the flour in a dry place to avoid the development of larvae (I have already found some in a packet). Also check the expiry dates: the best before date is one year.
Buckwheat flour for galette batter
Buckwheat is a flowering plant from North-East Asia, assimilated to cereals and a cousin of rhubarb and sorrel. Its seeds are ground into flour.
Buckwheat flour contains 68% of starch, 12% of water, 11% of protein, 4% of fibre and 2% of fat.
Buckwheat does not contain gluten.
Buckwheat flour is only available in "type 110". It is a very lightly sifted flour that contains a lot of bran.
Which flour should I buy?
75% of buckwheat flour consumed in France is made from imported buckwheat (China, Canada, Poland).
In France, buckwheat is mainly grown in Brittany, where most of the flour mills are located. There is a PGI label ("Protected Geographical Indication") guaranteeing that the flour is grown, stored and milled in Brittany.
My recommendations are the same as for wheat flour: if you are lucky enough to be able to buy artisanal flour, don't hesitate. The Moulin de l'Ecluse flour is excellent. Otherwise, the two brands of French buckwheat flour most often found in supermarkets are Treblec (white packet for buckwheat "originating in France" and brown packet for buckwheat guaranteed to be Breton), or Carrefour's "Reflets de France" de Carrefour (Breton buckwheat, about €2.40 per kg).
I advise you, once your recipe has been tried and tested, to always buy the same flour in order to limit surprises. Reflets de France is easily found in Carrefour supermarkets, including their mini-markets.
Where to find good buckwheat flour?
We are fortunate to have many mills in France, many of which are modest family businesses. I see this as an advantage: they are easy to contact and perfectly competent to advise you on their products. Use the phone rather than email, as response time is... random. Finally, the downside of small organisations is that exporting flour is laborious and if you want to source from abroad I strongly advise you to send your own carrier to collect the pallets.
Here are some reliable addresses where you can buy buckwheat flour:
- Meunerie Paulic
- Minoterie Corouge
- Minoterie de Roncin
- Moulin de Charbonnière
- Moulin de Hurnel
- Moulin de la Fatigue
- Moulin de l'Ecluse
- Moulins Roupsard
Does buckwheat flour contain gluten?
No. This flour is therefore suitable for people with gluten intolerance.
However, I would advise professionals who advertise "gluten-free buckwheat galettes" to pay close attention to the following detail: some bags of flour, such as those from Paulic or Reflets de France, are labelled "May contain traces of gluten". This is due to the use of common machines for the production of wheat and buckwheat, such as (expensive) bagging machines. So these flours, even though buckwheat, are not suitable if you want to work properly. You should prefer suppliers such as Moulin de l'Ecluse who mention "Naturally gluten-free". I don't know if the Health Services attach much importance to this in France, but in some countries like Spain, it's a big deal...
Does buckwheat flour make lumps?
No. As buckwheat flour does not contain gluten, it does not make lumps. This should not prevent you from pouring the flour into the bowl a little at a time when mixing it.
Is it advisable to use wholemeal buckwheat flour?
Personally, I don't recommend it. Its texture is very rough because it is rich in fibre. Once in the mouth, the sensation is quite particular when chewing. But it's a matter of taste...