This weekend Tallahassee had its first ever Food Swap, which unsurprisingly turned out to be a huge success. Hosted at the lovely Anhaica Shop, all sorts of good folks showed up with batches of homemade jams, spreads, preserves, pickles, foraged foods, fresh fruits and produce, baked goods, on and on! One of the goods I brought for trade was a homemade bread - quite heavy from the quinoa - but because of the added grain provides a punch of good nutrition in every bite.
Despite quinoa's Kardashian-esque like rise to celebrity status, bby girl grain is worth its oft referenced superfood praise. Host to extremely beneficial phytonutrients, quinoa provides both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in distinctly concentrated amounts. Quinoa also offers a significantly higher content of healthy fats in comparison to its other grain contemporaries like wheat and rice. Composed of monounsaturated fats and small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, quinoa's high fat content allows for its incredible nutritional value to sustain under greater amounts of oxidation that occurs when being cooked. Another especially nutritious trait of quinoa is its role as a complete source of protein. Unlike most grains, quinoa has the adequate amount of amino acids lysine and isoleucine qualifying its protein as both high in quality and content. Powers of protein and fiber combined, quinoa can be an excellent choice when regulating blood sugar and maintaining good levels of cholesterol.
So, back to the bread. The pear puree helped to provide added moistness to each dense slice, plus a little extra hint of sweet that paired so well with the cinnamon spice. I also added a bit of molasses for a more warmth, but took it easy on the sugar because of the pear's natural sweetness. The final product definitely is neutral enough to make this loaf appropriate for casual use, but with a few modifications here and there it would be real simple to have a more sweet and spiced dessert bread.
I don't eat bread often, much less bake it, but always find it to be one of the more rewarding products of cooking. Or maybe its just those first 10 minutes of successful yeast activation that gets me every time... Either way, here's to spending the rest of winter exploring the world of baking breads. Wish me luck!
Recipe adapted from here
Makes one full regular bread pan loaf, or divide dough
evenly for two smaller loafs
1 cup cooked quinoa (1/4 c uncooked)
3/4 cup water
4 tbsp warm water
1 packet (3 tsp) active yeast
2 small pears chopped
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2+ cups bread flour
2/3 tsp salt
1 tbsp raw brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp molassas
1. Cook quinoa until tender. While cooking chop your pears and grate your ginger. Once quinoa has cooled, add it to your food processor with the pears, ginger, cinnamon and other spice, molasses, and salt. Blend until a smooth puree.
2. In a larger bowl, add active yeast packet to 4 tbsp of warm water and 1 tbsp brown sugar. Mix well and then let sit for activation. This should take about 10 minutes or so to foam. Be careful your water isn't too warm or it will kill the poor yeasts.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add all of your flower and the pear/quinoa puree mix. Once the yeast is ready, add it in and mix well until your dough is formed. You may need to add more water or flower at this time.
4. Knead the dough well for around five or more minutes, or until soft. Dough should be a bit sticky.
5. Place dough in a well greased or parchment lined container, cover, and let site in a warm spot for around an hour and a half to rise.
6. By now your dough has risen to at least double in size. Take out and re-shape for your bread loaf pan. Grease the pan well (I used coconut oil) and add dough with the crease line facing down. Sparingly add more water and oil to the top of the roll. Cover and let sit for another hour or so.
7. Bake at 365 degrees F for around 35 to 40 minutes, or until top is golden. Once done remove and let cool completely before slicing.