There is something unbeatable about a good slice of well-toasted bread in the morning, or indeed at teatime. Whether you’re a sticky honey or rich, deep jams kind of person, or usually go for marmite, soft cheeses or cured meats, a good loaf is the best vehicle for some of the finer flavours in life.
The trouble is, bread is traditionally made from wheat, which can be quite hard to digest. Luckily, however, there is a lot of room to experiment when it comes to combatting this – from the raising agent to the flours used – and here’s where quinoa can play a part.
Until recently, quinoa was a rather unheard-of foodstuff, grown and eaten primarily by Peruvians. In the last few years its popularity has exploded, and it now appears on menus all over the world. Like rice and many other grains, it lends itself to a lot of different uses. It can be cooked and incorporated into veggie burgers, added to salads, baked into bars and biscuits, eaten sweet for breakfast, you name it; its versatility is supreme.
The great thing about quinoa is that, while it acts like a lot of grains, it’s gluten free. It is also a great source of protein, is lower in carbs than other cracked wheats (like couscous), and is high in B-vitamins and iron!
So, in this recipe I am going to share my method for turning quinoa in to a hunk of amazing nutty bread.
I have opted to use spelt as the additional grain in this recipe. I love spelt as a flour; it is actually an ancient ground wheat, but is far easier to digest than generic wheat flour. It’s also deliciously nutty and has enough gluten to give the bread a bit of rise and a good crumb. Be sure to note, though, that the presence of spelt in the ingredients means that the bread itself is not gluten free.
The trick with this recipe is in the preparation. Ideally it is best to soak the quinoa overnight, but if you forget, never fear; the alternative way is to cook the quinoa (as you would rice) for 15-20 minutes to soften it (use a 1:2 ratio of water to dry quinoa), before placing it in the blender. Either way works fine.
This recipe also lends itself nicely to adaptations, so feel free to mix it up. Try pumpkin seeds or crushed walnuts in place of sunflower seeds.
The loaf lasts for a week – just cover it in a tea towel and store in a cool place, or, better, in an airtight container.
Quinoa & sunflower seed bread recipe
- 2 cups white quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
- 1 egg
- 1 cup sunflower seeds (or seeds of choice)
Soak the quinoa overnight (for at least 8 hours) in fresh water with a pinch of salt. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and grease and line the base of a standard loaf tin.
Strain and rinse the soaked quinoa in fresh water. Place it in your blender or food processor with 1/2 cup of water and the egg, then blend until smooth. Add dry ingredients, (except the seeds) and continue blending. Lastly, add seeds for a few seconds so they stay mostly whole.
Spoon mixture into the tin and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Turn out on a wire rack and leave until cool before eating.