Monday, April 28, 2014

Experimenting with Quinoa

Sally Lunn Bread with Quinoa | Wynn Anne's Meanderings
Yup, that's actually steam rising from the fresh, hot loaf.
I bought some quinoa because it seemed like a good idea. Then I didn't know what the heck to do with it. I thought that, like hemp hearts, you could just toss it on or into anything. It's a seed, right?

So that's what I did. I splashed a handful of them - raw, untoasted, unsoaked - into a batch of cookies I was making.

They actually turned out fairly well, but I wasn't fond of the occasionally really hard nugget. As they were baking, I looked up a recipe and learned that the quinoa is supposed to be washed and cooked first, like rice. In fact, you could cook it in a rice cooker.


(Cooking is so complicated!)

Quinoa is another "super food" with lots of touted health benefits, from high protein and low calorie count to antiseptic and alkalinity traits.

The quinoa then sat neglected in my cupboard for a couple of months until I spotted a recipe that included barley (which I hate) and decided to substitute quinoa. Rather than steaming up just what the recipe called for, I cooked the full two cups that I had.

So then there was the question of what to do with all this leftover quinoa.

I decided to incorporate it into one of my favourite breadmaker recipes: Sally Lunn bread. It is a rich bread, with two eggs and 1/3 cup of butter. But it lacks the earthiness that Steve loves. (He likes food that knocks his teeth out or cauterizes his sinuses or lands like a brick in his stomach.) Adding quinoa seemed like a good compromise.

Also, since Sally Lunn bread is about as unhealthy as you can get, I figured adding quinoa would make it net-neutral. Right? It's like eating salad to cancel out the ice cream.

This is what the rinsed and steamed quinoa looked like after a couple of days in the fridge; it was moist, slightly sticky, and had begun to sprout.

Sally Lunn Bread with Quinoa | Wynn Anne's Meanderings

At first, I thought of substituting it cup for cup with the flour. But then I realized it was much moister and would upset the liquid balance, so I fudged. And it turned out far, far better than I expected.

I almost added hemp hearts and bake it with non-wheat flour, but then decided to do one modification at a time. (Note: unless there are serious health reasons, I will not be messing with the eggs and butter.)

Sally Lunn Bread with Quinoa | Wynn Anne's Meanderings
I'm seriously in love with the steam.

2 eggs plus enough water to equal 1 and 1/3 cups liquid
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened (I know! That's a lot of butter! Drool!)
1 cup of steamed and cooled red quinoa (I don't know if different types of quinoa make a difference.)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Note: your breadmaker may be different and the humidity and yeast in your kitchen may be different. So, you know, experiment.


I warm my eggs before putting them in the breadmaker, so that they don't cool the water and kill the yeast. To warm them, just cover them with hot water and let them sit while you gather the remaining ingredients.

To soften the butter, I use the defrost setting on the microwave and watch it closely. Some of my butter was melted.

Place the ingredients in your breadmaker in the order listed. After the first mixing, take a look at the texture of your dough. It should look like this.

Sally Lunn Bread with Quinoa | Wynn Anne's Meanderings
A nice, rounded, smooth ball of dough.
If it seems dryer than this, add water one tablespoon at a time.

If it seems too wet (which mine was, at first), add flour. (My dough was quite wet, so I ended up adding 1/4 cup flour, which is what I've listed in the ingredients above.)

Once the consistency is right, sit back, watch, and smell the magic.

Bake on the Basic/White cycle, medium or light crust (my breadmaker tends to bake dark, so I selected light), 2-pound recipe.

Sally Lunn Bread with Quinoa | Wynn Anne's Meanderings

Wait as long as you can (in our house, that's about two minutes), then slather it with your favourite topping.

The bread was sweet with just a little crunch, so both Steve and I were happy.


  1. Experimenting in the kitchen is fun! You may have used the Quinoa incorrectly the first time but that's how we learn. I use recipes for ideas, I don't follow them. I like to experiment and see what works and what doesn't. Oh and I LOVE the steam on your photos, although I didn't notice it till you mentioned it!

    1. Yup. Recipes are usually just a starting point for me, though with baked goods (especially breads), I usually follow them to the letter for the first couple of times.

  2. Quinoa is SO yummy! I've never used it in bread before, but would love to give this a try! Plus, I was just contemplating baking a loaf of bread -- serendipity, I think.

    1. Indeed. Let me know how it turns out for you!

  3. Wow that looks so good!! I would try it, but I bake only a little bit better than I cook.

    1. LOL! If I could bake enough that my family wouldn't devour it all in ten minutes, I would consider sending you some. But then it would be stale before it got there anyway. :(

  4. that looks delicious!! I have some in the cupboard too - no idea what to do and the one time we did cook it the kids all ran from the table. LOL

    1. I don't think I would be interested in eating straight quinoa, but mixed in with other things, it's not bad.

  5. I've been experimenting with quinoa too and it's great. Dr. Oz would be proud of us. I'm not much of a baker especially when it comes to bread. Can I bake the same recipe in the oven?

    1. Maggie, I'm sure you can bake it in a regular oven, just follow regular breadmaking instructions.


What did you think? Any comments?

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