Thursday, April 23, 2020

Honeyed Quinoa Loaf

This hearty, 100% whole grain loaf is high rising, honey sweetened and studded with crunchy bites of red quinoa. Soy creamer makes for an impossibly high rising, soft crumb as well. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool!

I'll let you in on a little secret - I can't stand quinoa. Boiled, re-fried, steamed... the taste and texture is just off for me. I will deem it passable in flour or puffed form (I do like puffed quinoa and rice cakes, for example). However, mom takes the cake - er, bread - when it comes to embracing grains of all kinds, and when I had the last of a bag of quinoa sitting around in the pantry after making pilaf she suggested I use it as "bits" in bread. As fate would have it, that morning I stumbled across a loaf with quinoa on Mel's Kitchen Cafe and after taking stock of the pantry and fridge situation I decided to try it with a few tweaks.

First, and probably most obviously at this point, I made the whole recipe 100% whole grain. Mom and I are huge fans of the nutty flavour and increased nutrition of using whole grains in bread - and every time I make a batch I'm reminded of the "good old days" when I could eat it, so I know it's still a winner. I also only had red quinoa on hand so I used it instead of white, and with a glut of soy "dairy" in the fridge I made those the main liquids. For a little extra flavour I tossed in a bit of toasted sesame oil as well - you can never go wrong with that when "nutty" is the goal!

These loaves rose high, and rose quickly due to the warmth in my kitchen (between mom and I we had stove and oven on quite a bit that day) so the bread did flatten a bit in the oven (and spilled over the sides a bit). Next time I will keep a better eye on it, but appearances aside these loaves were everything we hoped for - soft, tender with a delicate crunch and full of sweet and nutty flavour.  They fit perfectly in the toaster and made excellent BLTs too from what I heard!


What are your favourite grains to bake with? Any I should try? Let me know in the comments!

Honeyed Quinoa Loaf 
Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Makes 3 loaves
2 1/4 cups water
1 cup uncooked quinoa (I used red), rinsed
8 1/3 cups whole wheat bread flour (or 8 cups regular whole wheat + 1/3 cup vital wheat gluten) (optional, see note)
3 tbsp ground flax seed
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
2 cups soy creamer, warmed
1 cup soy milk, warmed
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil 
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp salt
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan and add the quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until just slightly warm, about 45 minutes. 
  2. Combine the flour, flax seed, yeast, creamer, milk and honey in a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook for 4 minutes on low speed. Let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Drain any remaining water from the quinoa and stir in the oils and salt.
  4. Add the quinoa mixture to the dough and mix / knead well for another 8 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Add no more than an extra 1/4 cup flour if necessary - I didn't need any.
  5. Cover and let rise 1 hour, until doubled.
  6. Divide dough into three parts and shape lightly with damp hands. Place each into a greased loaf pan.
  7. Cover and let rest 40 minutes, until the dough just crests the rim of the pans.
  8. Heat the oven to 400F.
  9. Place the loaves in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350F.
  10. Bake for 35 minutes. Turn out immediately and cool on a wire rack.

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