Thursday, February 25, 2010

Quinoa: Food Find!

I love quinoa. No it's not pronounced "kee-no-ah". It's "keen-wah". It's an ancient grain and is super healthy. In fact it's considered to be a superfood.

This amazing little grain (and I mean little) has some unique things about it. First, it has it's own built in pesticide coating each grain so it should be rinsed in a fine mesh strainer and drained before you cook with it. Second, it's the only grain that provides a complete protein. None of this mixing with legumes - it's a good source of protein all by itself! It contains many essential vitamins and minerals, is low in sugar and starch and high in fiber and unsaturated fat.

It also cooks in about 12 minutes which is another plus in my book. It has a nutty taste and is really great for salads.

I wanted to try something different though. I thought that by adding quinoa to baked goods would be a good way to increase the nutritional value of the recipe. I make a great brown rice bread but I cook the rice first (obviously). The first recipe that I pulled up called for putting the quinoa in without cooking. So I thought I'd give it a go.

After the dough was made I thought I'd really blown it. It looked like polka dot bread and I was sure I'd have hard crunchy quinoa grains throughout. But it rose like a champ and baked just as well! The grains that are on the outside give it a nice crunch, but the inside is nice and soft.

I revised the recipe a bit adding honey and walnuts for flavor and health benefits. I did another loaf with walnuts and dried cherries. I think this bread is best toasted. . . slathered with Irish butter. So much for low fat. I'll be good tomorrow. Or when my bread is gone.

Quinoa Bread

Prep: 30 minutes
Rise: 3 hours total
Bake: 30 minutes

1 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water, divided
1/4 cup honey
1 package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups wheat flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup chopped dried cherries, raisins or cranberries (optional)

Place 1 cup water and honey in a large bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle yeast over the top; let stand for 5 minutes or until yeast starts to foam. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and drain well; add to bowl with oil and mix lightly. Using the dough hook, stir in flours and salt until a dough forms, adding a little more water if necessary. (Dough will be stiff.) Knead for 5 to 10 minutes or until dough is very smooth and elastic. Coat another large clean bowl lightly with oil; add dough and turn to coat. Cover bowl and set in a warm spot to rise for 2 hours. Punch dough down and knead several times, adding walnuts and fruit if you like. Shape into 2 loaves and place on a large parchment lined baking sheet. Let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour more. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake bread for 30 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped.

Post comments and let me know what you think of the recipe!


  1. I'd never cooked with quinoa until today, now I'm hooked! I tried a recipe for breakfast quinoa with cinnamon apples and almonds, then used the leftover quinoa to make an Asian salad with julienne veggies and ginger sesame dressing (my own creation). Your bread recipe is definitely next on my quinoa list. Thanks for the great blog!

  2. Good to know I have another quinoa follower! Let me know what you think. Feel free to add in your favorite dried fruits and nuts