Ancient Grains Bread Recipe

 

AuthorSteve Nubie
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I’ve been experimenting with Ancient grains lately. They’re various grains from little known plants that were often a part of our distant ancestor’s diet. They include quinoa, amaranth, Kamut, flaxseed and spelt. They have a nutty, flavorful taste. More importantly, they’re packed with proteins, amino acids, thiamin, niacin, vitamins E, A and D and have both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Better yet, they’re easy to grow and most of them are gluten-free.

Amaranth grows like a weed. It’s a tall, leafy plant on a fibrous stalk and the seeds hang down from the crown like dreadlocks. I have them planted along fences and in the back yard next to the shed.

Quinoa is similar in appearance and both amaranth and quinoa come in a variety of colors from a light, golden color to a deep burgundy. The seeds dry on the vine or stalks although you may have to battle the birds as they mature and dry out.

If you’d like to plant your own, just buy some at the store (most large grocery chains carry them in the organic, cereal or rice aisles) and sprinkle where you’d like them to grown. They grow like weeds and will spread from season to season.

Spelt is a grass and its seeds look much like wheat at the end of a stalk. Flaxseed is actually a flowering plant and the seeds are harvested from the seed buds within the flower tops. They’re a little harder to harvest than quinoa or amaranth, but they grow just as easily and spread just as fast so be careful where you plant them.

Whether you buy your ancient grains or grow them yourself, they will keep well in a sealed container for months if you keep them dry and store them in a cool, dark place like a cabinet or pantry.

This recipe calls for the direct addition of grains that have not been ground or crushed. It uses bread flour as a foundation ingredient because most ancient grains are either low in gluten or gluten free. We’ve developed recipes for gluten free bread which you can explore if you want to go that route, but for the sake of this recipe we’re going to keep the bread flour as an ingredient. You can blend as many ancient grains as you want into this recipe, just don’t exceed the total amount of ancient grains indicated in the recipe. The husks surrounding ancient grains can add a note of bitterness if over-used, but they’re a great source of fiber and contain many micro-nutrients.

You can also buy an ancient grains flour-blend in the specialty or health food aisles in your grocery store. This recipe offers you the option of using that type of flour. It also calls for a tablespoon of vital wheat gluten. You can skip that ingredient if you can’t find it but it helps with the general lack of gluten in the ancient grains.

INGREDIENTS:
 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
 2 tablespoons sugar
 1 teaspoon salt
 1 tablespoon olive oil
 1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) ancient grains flour (or whole ancient grains like quinoa, amaranth, and spelt).
 2 1/4 cups (10 1/4 ounces) bread flour
 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
Topping:
 1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of water whisked
 1 tablespoon of ancient grains for topping
DIRECTIONS:
1

Add the ingredients to the bread pan in the order indicated in the recipe and select whole wheat cycle, 1.5-pound loaf and medium crust.

2

After the rising cycle baste the top of the loaf with the egg whished egg wash and sprinkle the grains on top.

3

When done cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, slice and serve.

4

Like always, you should watch the consistency of your dough during the early dough kneading cycle. If it’s too dry add a tablespoon of warm water at a time to get the consistency right. If it’s too wet or has a batter-like consistency add a tablespoon of bread flour at a time to thicken it up.

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS:
 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
 2 tablespoons sugar
 1 teaspoon salt
 1 tablespoon olive oil
 1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) ancient grains flour (or whole ancient grains like quinoa, amaranth, and spelt).
 2 1/4 cups (10 1/4 ounces) bread flour
 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
Topping:
 1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of water whisked
 1 tablespoon of ancient grains for topping

Directions

DIRECTIONS:
1

Add the ingredients to the bread pan in the order indicated in the recipe and select whole wheat cycle, 1.5-pound loaf and medium crust.

2

After the rising cycle baste the top of the loaf with the egg whished egg wash and sprinkle the grains on top.

3

When done cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, slice and serve.

4

Like always, you should watch the consistency of your dough during the early dough kneading cycle. If it’s too dry add a tablespoon of warm water at a time to get the consistency right. If it’s too wet or has a batter-like consistency add a tablespoon of bread flour at a time to thicken it up.

Ancient Grains Bread Recipe

Steve Nubie

Steve Nubie has been writing professionally for 38 years. He is a Chef and has traveled across Asia and Europe studying language, culture and cuisine. He instructs culinary classes in the Culinary School at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and has written extensively on cuisine, cooking, diet and nutrition. He is a published author of 10 books including a cookbook and continues to write on subjects related to culinary trends.

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3 Comments
  1. Reply
    Robyn L Hare January 24, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    I never review recipes, but man… this is amazing. The best! Make it immediately, eat, and repeat!

  2. Reply
    Veronica April 1, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Is it ancient if flour is in it, wheat I was told is a hibrid, would love to know how to really make a bread with only ancient grains, but your recipe looks so good!

    • Reply
      Steve Nubie April 3, 2018 at 5:14 pm

      Hi Veronica,

      Ancient grains are typically defined as seed grains from weeds used before grassy grains like wheat or rye were cultivated. They include Amaranth and Quinoa which are seeds from the flower stalks of weeds. Ancient people improvised and did the best with what they could forage and gather. If you want to make a truly ancient bread, use a flour made from amaranth and quinoa and maybe a rice flour. Some stores like Whole Foods and others have these grains and flours. These combinations go back 3,000 to 4,000 years across cultures including MesoAmerica. Just know they are low if not absent of gluten so you may have a dense bread unless you add a product called “vital gluten” or you can just go ancient and chew on the relatively unleavened bread. Good for you for connecting to our distant past! You might have to experiment a bit to get it right or to your taste. But then again… ancient people did the same thing.

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