At 19, I was living in downtown Denver in a lofty apartment with views of the state capital from my back porch. Friends were peppered within a three block radius of my apartment, and a fun-filled Saturday night required only a short walk.
Ryan and I were falling in love, and we'd spend afternoons walking up Logan Street to the Wild Oats grocery store where we perused the aisles and snacked on free samples of fruit.
One of those afternoons, I came upon a green box of quinoa, and being 19 and adventurous, I spent the four dollars to take the box home. Many of you can relate to the delight of preparing your first pot of quinoa, of seeing those tiny curly cues erupt from each round, of taking your first bite of that nutty and wholesome grain.
Ryan and I made quinoa for lunch and for dinner. I would pack it in my backpack for an evening snack during my History of the American Novel course. There was nothing better than daintily enjoying both a bowl of quinoa and a discussion on Henry James.
After working with several different recipes for quinoa bread, I finally created one that satisfied my high standard. I wanted the bread to be just as satisfying as the grain, which is no easy task.
The trick with adding quinoa to your dough is finding the correct liquid/flour ratio. Cooked quinoa adds a good deal of moisture to your bread, so I cut back the water significantly. You also want to be judicial in the amount of quiona you use. If you add too much, your dough will be too heavy to rise.
Below is a recipe that I've had great success with...but as with any bread recipe, adapt the water/flour ratio to your own climate. The way I know I've hit "dough gold" is when my dough clears the sides of the my kitchen aid bowl but sticks just slightly to the bottom. A rainy day versus a sunny day can affect the amount of liquid you need to add to your bread, so always be willing to adjust.
3/4 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter (melted and cooled)
1/2 TBSP salt
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
2 cups bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1. In a small bowl, combine your warm water, sugar and yeast. Allow to proof for ten minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine your yeast mixture, egg, honey, butter, salt and flour. Using the dough hook on your stand mixer, mix until combined. Add in the quinoa. Continue to knead with dough hook or remove to a slightly floured surface to knead by hand. Add more water or flour, if necessary. If using a stand mixer, the dough should stick slightly to the bottom of the bowl but not the sides. Knead for 8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.
3. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
4. Divide dough into eight equal sections and form into rolls (the shape is up to you!). Place rolls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, spray with cooking oil, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for an additional 40-60 minutes.
5. If desired, brush rolls lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with cooked quinoa. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for at least one hour before eating.
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