Monday, September 20, 2010

Maple Oatmeal & Quinoa Bread (19th Bread Braid)

This biweekly part of our bread journey took us to creating 100% Whole Grain Maple Oatmeal Bread and Quinoa Bread.  I have to say that I was quite excited when I saw that the next bread we needed to make was a sweet bread.  I love crusty type, hearth breads, but I was definitely in the mood for some sweetness.  I had been frustrated with previous recipes' substantially "wet" dough so I don't know why I wasn't more careful here.  I guess my brain was slightly turned off in my zeal to quickly make some sweet bread.  I dumped all the ingredients into my bucket, or rather my KA mixer, and after a few minutes of mixing I realized that I should have held back water.  My dough mixture was more like batter than dough, but I put it into the fridge after it had risen sufficiently and thought that maybe the flour would absorb some of that water and it would be less runny.  I was wrong.  The dough was difficult to work with.  I used flour, flour and more flour, but no matter how much I used the dough stuck quite readily to everything.  I couldn't shape it very well at all and just barely managed to fling it into the loaf pan after dough droppings fell on the floor and all over the front of me.  I was not happy :(  Oh well, this is a learning experience.  After about thirty minutes of baking, I think, I detected an overdone smell, looked in the window and the loaf looked much too brown.  Like many of the King Arthur loaf recipes that I make, I think this loaf needs to be tented with aluminum foil after the first 20 minutes of baking.  I quickly slapped a foil tent over my loaf, but it had already gotten a little too brown around the edges as you can see from my picture.
The loaf tasted good though, and I probably cut into it sooner than I should have, to have a slice slathered with homemade strawberry jam.  I plan on trying the loaf again when I have time and definitely leaving out much water.  I still have to say though, that my favorite maple flavored oatmeal bread is the "Vermont Oatmeal Maple-Honey Bread" recipe in The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion cookbook.

I was quite perplexed with the Quinoa Bread.  I really thought it odd that the recipe said to use uncooked quinoa.  Quinoa is a grain that's native to South America and is very high in protein.  When it is cooked, it becomes translucent and is soft and nutty tasting, but using it uncooked in a bread, I guessed it would be hard and crunchy.  I had just made a loaf a few weeks previous using 7 grain cereal, and I did not like it because of the crunchy bite of the various grains.  I was so wanting to cook that quinoa before adding it to the flour, yeast, and salt, but I decided not to since the recipe as written said uncooked.  I did, however, add two extra ingredients to the recipe.  I've been reading Peter Reinhart's book "Artisan Breads Every Day" and I was comparing the Quinoa Bread recipe to his recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Hearth Bread.  I decided to incorporate the brown sugar and oil from his hearth bread recipe into our quinoa bread recipe to ensure that the bread had good flavor.  I put 1 Tbsp brown sugar and 1 Tbsp canola oil into my half recipe of Quinoa Bread.  For this recipe I was determined to have the proper consistency dough, so I weighed all my ingredients on my Salter scale and I only added 1 cup of water to the other ingredients to start with.  It turned out that for a half recipe of the Quinoa bread I left out 3/8 cups of the water called for. 

I decided to shape mine into baguettes like several others in the group.  I'm fascinated by this shape and that I can actually do it myself at home.  The only other baguette I'd made was with the Rosemary Flax bread from the HBin5 book.  Here is my first baguette:
The dough was wonderfully easy to work with, and I got a very good rise from the dough after shaping the baguette and leaving it to rest on the parchment before going into the oven.
I sliced the baguette and we topped the slices with some homemade pesto, ricotta cheese and garlic the first night and with just pesto the next night. 

I have to say it was quite good, even though ever so slightly crunchy from the little seeds.  I encourage you to visit the blogs of others in the group by going to Big Black Dogs, to see their wonderful creations!! 


  1. Your Quinoa Baguette turned so nicely shaped! Love the idea of adding a bit of brown sugar to the dough. We loved the Quinoa Bread!

    If you want to change a recipe in any way, you can always do that. So you could have cooked the Quinoa if you would be more comfortable with that method.

    I don't think your Maple Oatmeal bread looks bad at all. Sometimes a little over browning can add so much flavor, especially for a sweeter bread. I bet it would have made great French Toast!

  2. Both your breads look great to me. I always weigh, and still have some doughs that are a bit too wet. There is a fine line between having enough hydration so that the gluten forms as it rests in the fridge and too much so that the dough is hard to work with.

  3. I agree with Michelle, your maple oatmeal bread looks great, as does your quinoa baguette. I thought about cooking the quinoa first also, but I ended up liking the crunch. Good idea to add some brown sugar and oil. I'm going to do that next time.

  4. Both your breads look really great.

    Having the right amount of water is a fine line. Sometimes, I follow the recipe and see what happens. Sometimes I adjust. If I know I am going to use a loaf pan, I probably just go with the recipe.

    I'm guessing the addition of the brown sugar helped the yeast rise.

    Great looking baguette and pesto topping!