Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Amaranth and Honey Bread #BreadBakers

Amaranth and Honey Bread is sweet with a hint of orange zest with a delicate texture from cooked amaranth. Spread with marmalade its a great addition to the weekend morning lineup!


I adore my pantry of many strange and wonderful grains and flours. While most of them I found either at the Bulk Barn or local Asian grocery, I also saved up for when Mom and I would go to the St. Lawrence Market in the summer to buy one of my favourite specialty flours: amaranth. In retrospect, it's actually funny for me to wax poetic about this grain, as Nightwish (one of my new favourite Spotify finds) has a song called Amaranth that N loved long before I knew they existed. It's become somewhat of an anthem for us, and I couldn't think of a better celebratory bread to bake up for Bread With Seeds this month!

While amaranth is looked on as a grain by most people, like quinoa it's actually a seed that can be treated as a grain (i.e. boiled, puffed, or ground). As I've been staying gluten free personally due to skin and digestive issues, I've been enjoying amaranth as cereal and pressed with rice into rice cake / crackers all summer as it has a lightly nutty, buttery taste. When I stumbled across a recipe pairing the flavourful seed with honey on Melangery, I couldn't wait to try it out as Mom (the resident breadaholic) loves that flavour combination as well.

I did make a few changes to the loaf as I went along, and was pleased overall with the results. I soaked the grains rather than boiled them since I had time to spare and didn't want mushy grains in my bread. Butter became a mixture of sesame oil (for flavour) and canola oil for balance, and I used soy milk due to it's beneficial effect on the yeast activity. The rising took longer than a standard loaf as it is a heavy dough, but the flavour was worth every minute spent hovering over the bowl. Lastly, I upped the amount of honey because we love it's flavour and browning capacity.

The loaf came out of the oven crusty and smelling amazing from all the various seeds toasting. Visually, it's a stunning loaf with the sun-like design sliced into the top, and after it cooled (an agonizing wait!) each slice was dense but moist and perfect for smearing honey or jam on in the morning. It's a shame that amaranth flour is still a bit on the pricey side or I'd be making this every week!


BreadBakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Amaranth and Honey Bread
Adapted from Melangery
Makes 1 loaf
1 cup amaranth seeds (may be called grains), soaked in 1 1/2 cups hot water for 1 hour
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups warmed unsweetened soy milk
3 tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp sesame oil 
1 tbsp canola oil
pinch of salt
4 1/4 cups whole wheat bread flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour
2 tsp instant yeast
cornmeal, for dusting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the soaked amaranth (and any liquid), salt, soy milk, honey, oils and salt. Mix well.
  2. Add the flours and yeast, stir and let sit 15 minutes. 
  3. Knead with the dough hook for 8 minutes, until mostly elastic. 
  4. Cover and let the dough rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
  5. Punch down and form into a slightly flattened ball on a cornmeal dusted baking sheet. 
  6. Cut a "sun" design on the surface (I used a cookie cutter and sharp knife).
  7. Cover and let rest 30 minutes.
  8. Heat the oven to 475°F.
  9. Bake 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375°F and bake 35 minutes more.