Amaranth bread recipe

 

I’ve finally got hold of amaranth! After putting down my thoughts on healthy bread last week, I wanted to dedicate this week’s post to another health-related topic and highlight the benefits of the nutritious amaranth plant, its seeds and flour. The amaranth plant, also known as ‘Love-Lies-Bleeding’ due to its brightly coloured flowery head, produces seeds packed full of protein and nutrients. Amaranth seeds contain even more protein than oats and are brimming with iron, calcium, vitamin B, magnesium and zinc. This is therefore another healthy bread recipe for the start of the year; my amaranth bread recipe based on long fermentation, enhanced in its nutritional value by added pumpkin seeds and walnuts.

Amaranth bread
Amaranth bread

Baking with amaranth flour and seeds

Amaranth is a member of the Chenopodiaceae family of plants which means it’s a relative of beets, spinach and quinoa. For this reason, some of its nutritional characteristics are more related to these vegetables than cereal grain foods, which are members of an entirely different plant family.

Amaranth flour recipes

Both amaranth seeds and flour can be used for baking. Due to its mild flavour amaranth flour produces relatively plain breads and I’ve enhanced my amaranth bread recipe with both pumpkin seeds and walnuts. If you fancy a quicker recipe, try these crackers for a healthy snack. I’ve seen the amaranth flavour described as ‘lightly reminiscent of corn with grassy tones’ which I think is pretty much spot on.

Amaranth Seed recipes

Amaranth is quite versatile and can be simmered like other grains. It has a porridge-like texture and goes well with curry dishes. If you are growing the plant, you can even use the green leaves as an addition to your curry or salad. I’ve also used amaranth to prepare healthy salads and it works well. Alternatively, you can make a dessert by using amaranth seeds to prepare a fruity amaranth pudding.

Where to buy amaranth?

I got the amaranth flour and seeds from BuyWholefoodsOnline.co.uk, which has proven to be a brilliant source for high quality whole foods difficult to find elsewhere.

The individual products sourced were:

Amaranth bread recipe

My amaranth bread recipe includes 20% amaranth flour (based on overall flour content) and an additional portion of amaranth porridge made from amaranth seeds and water. It is therefore not a pure amaranth flour bread recipe, but using around 20% amaranth flour in a loaf of bread will provide a good texture and the amaranth taste will come through nicely.

Amaranth sourdough bread
Amaranth sourdough bread

Amaranth bread ingredients

Sourdough

Seed and Nut Soaker

  • 50g chopped walnuts
  • 50g chopped pumpkin seeds
  • 80g water

Amaranth Seed Porridge

  • 80g amaranth seeds
  • 160g water

Main dough

  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 110g amaranth flour
  • 325g water
  • 12g salt

Dusting

Some extra flour (I use rice flour)

How to make amaranth bread

Day 1

  1. Combine the sourdough ingredients in a medium bowl, cover and set aside at room temperature for 16 – 24 hours.
  2. Dry-roast the chopped walnuts and pumpkin seeds until fragrant, then add 80g of boiling water to soak. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 16 – 24 hours.

Day 2

  1. Toast the amaranth seeds in a small pan until they become aromatic and light brown. Add the water and bring to a low simmer. The amaranth should soften in about 15 minutes and the water should evaporate by then. If it dries before the seeds are ready, add more water as needed. Remove from the heat to cool when done.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 150g of the refreshed sourdough starter (the rest should be set aside for your next bake), the amaranth seed porridge and the main dough ingredients to form a dough.
  3. Knead for at least 10 minutes until you have formed an elastic and smooth dough.
  4. Add the seed and nut soaker from day 1 and kneed for a further few minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky, so work with your dough scraper to help things along.
  5. Place back into the bowl, cover and leave to rest for about an hour or two at room temperature until you can see the dough has risen slightly.
  6. Deflate the dough and give it another quick knead on your work surface.
  7. Shape into a loaf, cover with flour in a flour bath and place into a lightly floured proving basket.
  8. Cover with a polythene bag to protect the moisture and prove at room temperature. In my wintery Edinburgh kitchen, this process takes a good 6 or 7 hours. However, if your kitchen is warmer, the process may be much shorter.
  9. Preheat the oven to 220°C and preheat your baking dome or Dutch oven at the same time.
  10. Turn out the loaf onto the baking dome or Dutch oven (or otherwise a baking stone or baking tray lined with baking paper).
  11. Score the top with a pattern of your choice. Use a scoring knife for best results.
  12. Bake at 220°C for 10 minutes and at 200°C for a further 40 minutes.
  13. Take off the lid of your baking dome or Dutch oven for the last 10 minutes if using to firm up the crust.
  14. Cool on a wire rack.
  15. Enjoy an amazing loaf of amaranth sourdough bread 🙂
Amaranth bread recipe
Amaranth bread loaf

If you’d like to make this amaranth bread recipe without the use of pumpkin seeds and walnuts, you can simply omit the seed and nut soaker ingredients as well as step 4 above.

Healthy whole grain bread recipe #BreadBakers

 

New Year’s resolutions abound and healthier living and eating aspirations are plentiful with the beginning of the New Year. I’m hoping that for many, a healthier bread diet constitutes part of their New Year’s resolutions. For you special people, I have put together a healthy bread recipe to get you on the right track. If you are in an energetic, I-will-eat-better-in-2017 phase right now, give it a go!

Healthy Bread Recipe
Healthy Bread Recipe

What constitutes healthy bread?

Here is my checklist for the make-up of a healthy bread.

  • Organic ingredients

    As beautifully described by Andrew Whitley in the book Bread Matters (see page 43), “when we choose a loaf of bread,… we can also choose how its basic ingredient is grown. We can opt for bread made with organic flour, milled from wheat grown in soil kept fertile by compost, crop rotation and green manures… Bread’s roots are in the soil.”

“In bread we gain access to the vitality of the seed.”
Andrew Whitley

  • Naturally leavened

    The process of slow fermentation and using sourdough makes the nutrients in wheat flour more available for digestion and the simple sugars less available, which helps with blood sugar control, particularly for people with Diabetes.

  • Wholemeal flour

    White flour is made from heavily refined and processed wheat grains, while wholemeal flour is made from grains that have not undergone heavy processing. Wholemeal and white flours differ in their nutritional value, with wholemeal containing additional fibre and vitamin content as well as a lower GI (Glycaemic Index) value.

  • Whole grains

    For the same reasons, I like to add whole grains to my healthy bread recipes. While wholemeal flour undergoes some processing, whole grains are as good as it gets when it comes to adding cereal into your bread; they come with lots of fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.

  • Seeds

    Seeds contain protein, essential fats, dietary fibre and micronutrients and I particularly like adding sunflower seeds to bread. Toasted, they taste amazing and add significant amounts of vitamin E, magnesium and selenium.

  • Spices

    Bread spices such as fennel, coriander, caraway and anise seeds provide properties which are beneficial to the digestive system and plenty of flavour. Take a look at my post on bread spices and prepare a batch for your next bake.

  • No sugar

    Baking breads at home allows you to avoid hidden sugars found in some shop-bought loaves. Read my post about sugar-free baking for additional information.

  • DOn’t let ‘Gluten-free’ deceive you

    Gluten-free bread isn’t ‘a healthier option’ if you don’t suffer from coeliac disease or other gluten-related disorders. The majority of flours and starches used to make gluten-free breads are high glycaemic with little fibre. Shop-bought varieties often contain certain industrial type binders such as xanthan gum which is highly processed and far away from the basic ingredients (flour, water, salt) of bread. If there is no medical reason for eating gluten-free, I would discourage you from seeking gluten-free bread options for health reasons. Healthy bread is based on natural ingredients and slow fermentation – rarely something connected to gluten-free nor supermarket-bought breads.

Baking Sourdough Bread: The Traditional Art of Sourdough
Source: Fix.com Blog

Healthy bread recipe

Here’s my healthy bread recipe for your new healthier lifestyle! As per my notes above, use organic ingredients throughout.

Healthy Bread
Healthy Bread

First of all, a summary of all ingredients for my healthy bread recipe:

  • 50g rye sourdough starter (make from scratch or use a starter you have previously prepared)
  • 250g wholemeal wheat flour
  • 50g cracked rye kernels
  • 175g wholemeal rye flour
  • 100g sunflower seeds
  • 10g salt
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds and 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 415g water
  • A splash of sunflower oil
Healthy whole grain bread
Healthy whole grain bread

How to bake my healthy whole grain bread

If you don’t already have a sourdough starter, start by preparing this from scratch. Follow my guide to make a rye sourdough starter – with all organic ingredients. You’ll only need to complete this process once, so don’t be put off by it taking a few days to complete. It’s worth it! I’ve had my starter since January 2012 and have not looked back since.

Day 1

Step 1 – Refresh your sourdough starter

  • In a medium bowl, combine 50g of your rye sourdough starter with 50g wholemeal wheat flour, 50g cracked rye kernels and 100g water.
  • Cover with a lid or plastic foil and leave to stand at room temperature for 12 to 14 hours.

Step 2 – Prepare the seed and grain soaker

  • Dry roast 100g sunflower seeds in a frying pan releasing the wonderful nutty flavours.
  • Place the toasted seeds in a bowl and cover with 125g boiling water.
  • Cover and leave to rest at room temperature for 12 to 14 hours.

Day 2

Step 3 – Prepare the production dough

Combine the following ingredients in a large bowl and form into a dough

  • 200g of your refreshed starter mixture from day 1 (the rest goes back into the fridge for your next bake)
  • The sunflower seed soaker from day 1
  • 200g wholemeal wheat flour
  • 175g wholemeal rye flour
  • 160g water
  • 10g salt
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds and 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed

Knead for 10 minutes, then place the dough back into the large bowl, cover with a lid and leave to rest for about an 1 hour at room temperature.

Step 4 – Prove the dough

  • Once rested, give the dough another quick knead.
  • Prepare a loaf tin for baking and lightly oil the tin using sunflower oil and a baking brush.
  • Prove for several hours at room temperature until the loaf has risen well.

Step 5 – Bake

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 220°C and a further 40 minutes at 180°C.
  • Cool on a wire rack.

I’m in good company with my healthy whole grain bread recipe this month. Check out the healthy breads that my fellow #BreadBakers have baked:

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

BreadBakers