Amaranth is an ancient grain that's been cultivated in Mexico for thousands of years (where it's called hauatli). Amaranth is also a staple crop in the Andes, where it's known as kiwicha. Amaranth has some similarities to quinoa - it's rich in protein and other nutrients, and is gluten free. Amaranth can be cooked in water, like a pilaf, and the tiny grains also "pop" when they are toasted into tiny little puffs, like miniature popcorn. Popped amaranth is made into sweet treats called alegrías in Mexico.This whole grain sandwich bread is made with cooked amaranth and whole wheat flour, and sweetened with honey. It has great flavor and texture, and slices well, so it's perfect for sandwiches. I bake it in a pullman loaf pan, which gives it a square sandwich shape, but any kind of bread pan will work. This dough can also be used to make rolls - just divide and shape as desired, let rise, and bake.
Prep Time: 3 hours, 3 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 38 minutes
Yield: 1 standard bread loaf
- 1/2 cup raw amaranth
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1/4 cup sourdough starter (optional)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup popped amaranth (optional)
- Place the amaranth in a small saucepan. Add a pinch of salt and the molasses, and cover with 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cover, and turn heat to low. Simmer amaranth until the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Gently heat buttermilk in the microwave until it's just warm to the touch (not hot). Add to the bowl of a standing mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Stir in the honey and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the sourdough starter (if using), the cooled amaranth, the butter, 1 cup of the whole wheat flour, and the salt. Using dough hook attachment (or by hand) knead mixture until well blended.
- Add the remaining flour one half cup at a time, then knead vigorously until the dough is no longer sticky (about 5 minutes). Add a little more flour if dough seems too wet. When the dough is well kneaded, you should be able to take a piece of dough and stretch it gently until it's thin enough to see through, without tearing the dough. This is called the "windowpane" test, and it means the gluten is sufficiently developed to make the dough very stretchy.
- Remove dough from mixer, shape into a ball, and place dough in an oiled bowl. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it's double in size.
- Punch down the dough, flatten it into a rectangle that is the length of your bread pan, and roll the dough up into a spiral. Place dough, seam side down, into the oiled bread pan. The dough should fill a standard loaf pan about 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with the popped amaranth, if desired. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise once more until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place dough in the oven and bake until top of bread is golden brown, and bread sounds hollow when tapped (about 30 minutes, depending on the oven).
- Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10-15 minutes before removing bread from the pan. Cool before slicing.