No, I don't mean that I found some really old grains in the back of my pantry. We're talking about the heritage of the grains themselves, not how long they've been stored.
I'm always on the lookout for interesting ingredients to use in bread so I was intrigued by a King Arthur Flour blend called "ancient grains." It's a blend of 30 percent each of amaranth, millet, and sorghum flours, and the final 10 percent is of quinoa flour.
I usually don't buy blends, whether they're spice blends or baking mixes (or, well, anything really) since I have a well-stocked pantry and usually don't see the point in stocking a bunch of mixed things that I could just as easily combine.
But there are exceptions. It's sure easier to add a teaspoon of a blend than it is to pull out six jars and add a shake of each. And some blends include ingredients that I would have a hard time finding. That's what I realized when looking at the ingredient list on this ancient grains bag.
The flour is all whole-grain but it's a fine-ground flour—not like whole wheat where you can see the bits inside—yet the dough felt sort of gritty. To compensate for the gluten-lacking flours, I added some vital wheat gluten. It's probably not essential, but it's useful for a bread like this.
The bread reminded me of a light rye, with a slightly chewy texture and depth of flavor that you don't get in an all-white loaf. There weren't any particularly strong flavors so this wouldn't conflict with anything you might be serving.
About the author: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. You can find her on her blog, Cookistry or follow her on Twitter at @dbcurrie or @cookistry.
- 1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) ancient grains flour
- 2 1/4 cups (10 1/4 ounces) bread flour
- 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
- 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine the flours, gluten, water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixed. Knead with the dough hook until you have an elastic dough. Add the salt and olive oil and continue kneading until both are fully incorporated.
Form the dough into a ball, drizzle with additional olive oil, and return the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in size - about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet. Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and turn out the dough. Knead the dough briefly, then shape it into a ball. Place it, seam-side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in size - about 40 minutes.
Slash the loaf as desired, then bake until nicely browned, about 35 minutes. Remove the loaf to a rack to cool completely before slicing.