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Amaranth bread

April 30, 2012

I use bread flour in this recipe so this is not a gluten-free bread. It also includes a small amount of cornmeal and uses apple juice for the liquid.  The amaranth come through mildly while the honey adds a hint of sweetness.  It makes for a versatile bread that can be used for sandwiches as well as toast or bruschetta.

1/3 c.  cornmeal soaked in 1/3 c. water for about 4 hours or overnight

2/3 c.   amaranth flour

1/3 cup  tablespoons amaranth seeds lightly toasted in a skillet

3 c. bread flour

2 tsp. instant yeast

2 tablespoons honey

1 generous tsp.  salt

about 1 cup apple juice

Be sure to prepare the cornmeal soaker before you start baking. This softens the cornmeal and develops a little more flavor.

After toasting the amaranth seeds in your smallest skillet, gently simmer in about double the volume of water to soften them a bit.  You may use more seeds if you want more texture and flavor in the bread.  I went easy on it this time.  Be sure not to overcook them if you want that bit of rustic texture in the bread. Remove the skillet from the fire to cool.

In your mixing bowl, blend together the cornmeal soaker,  amaranth flour,  bread flour,  yeast,  salt,  and honey. Add most of the apple juice and  mix with a spatula or spoon until you get a cohesive mass of dough. Add more of the juice if the dough seems too dry.  Using the mixer,  knead for about 6-7 minutes. In the final minute add the amaranth seeds. Or you may remove the dough from the bowl and knead in the seeds by hand.  I left the dough a little sticky,  so at the end of kneading it was still clinging a little to the bottom of the bowl.  You may need to adjust with more flour or juice.  Make sure you have good gluten development.  You may need to adjust with more bread flour or apple juice.

I formed the dough into a ball and set it in an oiled bowl.  I sprayed the top of the dough with oil and covered the bowl with plastic.   In a 78 degree room it took only about 1 hour to rise to double in size.   I set my convection oven to 400 degrees with a baking stone in place.  A regular oven should be set at 425. I lightly degassed the dough,  formed it  into a batard (thick torpedo shape) and a boule (round).  I then placed  them on parchment paper.  If you don’t have a baking stone you can set them on baking sheets.  Let them rise about 40-45 minutes until almost double in size.  When they were ready I dusted one with flour,  the other with cornmeal,  and then scored them. I put them in the oven and immediately lowered the temperature to 350 degrees (375  for a regular oven). They are done in about 30-35 minutes.  If they seem to be browning too quickly, carefully cover with aluminum foil.  The internal temperature of the bread should be 200-205 degrees when done. Place them on a wire rack and let them cool to room temperature.

The apple juice contributed  nicely to the  flavor and light sweetness  of the  bread.  The amount of amaranth flavor was just enough for me but as I mentioned earlier  you can add more of the seeds or substitute more of the amaranth flour.

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