Last week I had the crazy idea to experiment with flour-less bread. On a Friday of all days. Why did I have such crazy thoughts on a weekend (or almost weekend) day? Well, it’s quite simple, I was craving some bread (or bread like product), did not want to buy it, I wanted to make something myself and wanted it to be a fast and easy endeavour.
My go to ingredient of choice was quinoa. For a snippet of its benefits, read this.
Yes, I know, I’ve been using quinoa so much in all sorts of recipes lately that I should probably rename the blog ‘TalesofQuinoa’. Hmm. Anywho, after browsing the world wide web I stumbled upon quite few recipes. Seems making quinoa bread is not that original of an idea? Be still my ego. But the recipes I browsed called for cooking quinoa first, then proceed to making the bread. While that is still easy and still on my To Try list, on this particular occasion I wanted something that would not take as much time. Something under 30 minutes, with no more than 5 minutes of active involvement. Or thereabouts. No kneading the dough, no waiting for it to rise. Quick, easy and nutritious.
I find the quinoa buns that I ended up with simply gorgeous. They’re dense (as expected, since no flour, no kneading, no significant rising), flavoursome and so filling! And when toasted, try to limit your intake to just one. Impossible. Especially when topped, dipped, layered with more goodness. Not that you’d need suggestions on how to serve your bread, but I really need to tell you they made awesome burger style buns, especially with mushrooms and sweet potato. They are also awesome with lentils stewed in tomato sauce, topped with cashew aioli and hot chili sauce. Awesome with avocado, lemon and pepper. Awesome in a naughty way too, when topped with strawberry jam, walnuts and chia seeds.
I feel this wonderful recipe can be improved in so many ways! I look forward to play with it some more and to share any recipe variations worth sharing. I also look forward for you to try them and let me know what you think and what improvements you come up with to make them even more gorgeous.
Now, who’s keen to try them?!
Life changing quinoa avocado bread buns
- 300 gr whole quinoa
- 200 gr almond meal
- 2 TBSP ground linseed
- 2 TBSP sesame seeds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch sea salt flakes
- 1 avocado
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- 1 TBSP honey or maple syrup
- 190 ml water
- Preheat the oven to 170C and line a tray with baking paper.
- Add quinoa to a blender and whiz until you get it to a flour consistency.
- In a bowl, mix quinoa, almond meal, linseed, sesame seeds, sea salt and baking powder.
- In a separate bowl, peel and mash the avocado. Add lime zest and juice, honey and water and mix.
- Add the avocado water mix to the dry ingredients and mix well by hand for 2-3 minutes until you got a sticky, firm dough.
- Shape 7 balls out of the dough, slightly flatten them (not too much though) and place them in the baking paper, making sure they don’t touch.
- Bake for around 25 minutes. Check them after about 15 minutes and if the bottom browns more than the top, turn them over for the remaining time. To check if they’re done, poke 2-3 of them with a BBQ skewer and if it comes out clean and if the outside is golden brown, they’re done .
- Allow them to completely cool before cutting.
*** LATER UPDATE: COOKING WITH QUINOA: TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE ***
Because I love quinoa and have been using it in so many of my dishes, including baking these beautiful buns repeatedly over the past year or making healthy donuts with it, I thought best to revisit this article and write a little troubleshooting guide to cooking with quinoa. Because it is really tasty and nutritious and I think everyone should make friends with it. Hope this helps!
- I bought my regular whole quinoa brand the other day and a new never-tried-before quinoa flour and set about to bake two batches of these buns. My conclusion: buy whole quinoa, not quinoa flour. The buns I baked with homemade flour from my usual brand of whole quinoa were as beautiful as always. The buns I baked with store bought quinoa flour were yuk and bitter.
- Quinoa has lots of fats which means it will go rancid after some time if it’s ground to a flour consistency. Same as with nuts. Same as with linseed/flax seeds. Fact: you don’t know how long that quinoa flour has been sitting on the shelf and although it might be well within its use by date and safe to eat, it might not be very palatable, might be bitter and yuk and produce bitter and yuk baked products.
- Also, quinoa is by itself a grassy, bitter grain, even in its whole form. BUT all whole quinoa available for purchase should be prewashed, ready and safe for you to eat. By commercial prewashing, the outer layer that gives quinoa it’s bitterness should be removed. BUT again, not all companies are doing a good job at this prewashing bit. If there is a brand of quinoa that you have been buying and cooking whit regularly without washing and it’s nice and nutty and yummy, you can go ahead and use that, make it into flour and it should be tasty. If you’re buying quinoa for the first time and haven’t tried that brand before in any type of cooking, I would recommend either you wash the whole batch (soak it for 24 hours, changing water once halfway) and then dry it back if you wish to make flour. An oven at low temp or dehydrator would do the job. Or you can also spread it out on a tea towel and let it air dry if you wish. You can also cook a handful of whole quinoa and see if it’s bitter, but this might cause a bit of waste if it wasn’t washed properly.
- If you can only get your hands on quinoa flour and not the whole quinoa grain, you can still purchase that if you want but you will need to roast the flour. Sounds weird, but it will remove the bitterness and turn the flour into it’s yummy, nutty best. There’s few ways to do it:
- you can use your oven on the lowest temp or your dehydrator on the highest temp and spread the quinoa flour (up to 1 kg) on a baking sheet in a uniform layer. You can do it at 100C for about 2-3 hours (mix it every half hour to make sure it doesn’t burn)
- you can also do it at 150C for about 1 hour, mixing it every 20 minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn
- you can also do it the speedy way in a skillet over low heat. You can only do about half cup – 1 cup at a time, depending on the size of your skillet.
Because this is more time consuming, I’d recommend doing the whole bag of quinoa flour at a time, then store it in the freezer or other cool dry place.
- Another thing that comes to mind is you could toast the whole guinoa grain in a skillet until it smells nutty and gets a golden color. Let it cool, then turn it into flour and use. I am yet to try this method.
- Baking stage. If you find that after 20-25 minutes your buns are not cooked in the middle, but seem golden on the outside, there two things to look at: maybe you made them a little too big or oven temperature was a little bit higher. Not a problem either way. Cover the buns with al foil so they stop browning on the outside and continue to cook them until done. Please know that these are not soft, spongy breads, like the white bread type of buns. They’re small, dense, nutty and filling. They should not be hard as a rock though – end result is a dense bread, but very easy to bite into, even when toasted.
- If you have already made the buns, didn’t read this troubleshooting guide before baking and they did turn out bitter, try cutting the buns in half lengthways and grilling them. It should remove almost all the bitterness and make them yummy.
Really hope this helps you! x
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