The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Amaranth Starter

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Amaranth Starter

Inspired by Charles Luce gluten free millet starter (following instructions in The Bread Builders, by Daniel Wing and Alan Scott)   I startered a sourdough starter using amaranth...


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/14476/excellent-gluten-free-bread#comment-91244


I am repeating part of the thread below so that when I use the starter with gluten flours, it will not be confusing in Charles's gluten free thread.  The discussion can be carried on here about using amaranth sourdough starter in gluten breads.  I also want to try his recipe for millet bread but use amaranth starter.  He has much more experience than I with gluten free breads and this has interesting and fascinating overlaps I'm only beginning to discover.


Nov 16 //  ...to make a starter.  It smells much like corn.  For obvious reasons, I didn't rinse the grain first but put it directly into a blender to turn it to flour.  Then I mixed 60g with 60g water and it sat 57 hours (instead of 48) 16°c to 17°c 


Nov 18 //   I added 60g more amaranth flour and 60g water, blended well  16°c.


I'm hoping it will make the amaranth tastier, milder maybe.  This could be the "trick" I've been waiting for.


Nov 19 //   I got life!  I forgot it again, it is 24 hours since I fed it and it is bubbly and rounded and even a little bit risen!  Amazing!  Can't smell any "sour" still smells like wet amaranth (yuck) or wet corn but I know it is active.  I stirred it and forced it to collapse.  In stirring I can feel the bubbles or pockets of gas in the starter.  Now to dump half and feed again but in the warmer room to help develop the yeasts.  I will also start washing the amaranth and adding the water then blending before adding to the starter.   The photos are before and after stirring:



 


Nov 20 //    First thing was to smell my starter.   Na ya...   ... went for cooked rolled oats this chilly foggy morning.  When I discard today I plan to try a glutinous 10 grain flour and we will see if it lifts it.  I've not yet aquired xanthum gum and millet flour.  I would be interested in mixing the amaranth starter in a palatable mixture of GF flours.  Maybe the Montana Mix that Charles mentions and suggests on his blog.   Amaranth can be quite strong in flavor and smells of Autumn.   Wet leaves and mushrooms, truffle  come to mind along with dry red wine and soaked beans ...thyme.  Charles Luce seemed to also be in a similar lock of the senses and on the above mentioned thread writes: 



...walked through my neighborhood, which is quite Hispanic, smelling the smells and thinking of your question. Potato starch flour comes to mind, as does banana flour, yuca (tapioca)flour and corn masa (used for making corn tortillas in Mexico). Maybe coconut flour too. Then I read that porcini (Steinpilz) work w/ amaranth...



I had read that amaranth was often combined with banana and chocolate, also seems to be used more in cakes and sweet recipes...  I use a fine metal coffee filter for washing the grain.   Coconut milk.... interesting.


Okay, it's evening now and I'm looking into my starter and the smell is....getting sour and the amaranth is taking on a milder smell.  This looks promising!  This is good!  Ooo can't wait for the bread!  I mixed it 1-2-3  120g starter - 240g water - 345g 10 grain flour  autolyse  and work in 1 tsp salt.  Three hours in the kitchen then into a cool room for the night.  To bake tomorrow.  Better plain for the first loaf,  then come more taste experiments.


Now I'm working on the remaining 120g of starter.  I am rinsing 60g amaranth and will dry it before milling and adding.  It dries nicely in a smooth dish towel, the grain doesn't seem to stick at all.   This time I feed it 60g amaranth shortly blenderized (no water but the tiny seeds seem to slip avoiding the blades) mix well and after 3 hours tuck away into the fridge.  I'm liking the smell of the starter, I really do.


Mini Oven


 


 

Comments

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

I have been following the discussions between you and Charles.  Very interesting indeed.  Thanks for shareing.  I can't wait to see your pictures.  Al


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

but tell me about a new sourdough that isn't.  It was in 12°c overnight low hydration and is warming up.  Gave it a few folds and I'm going shopping.  Montana is really Montina and a kind of wild rice (both grass) and probably not available to me.   Millet is Hirse in German.  Sorgum is most likely in the Asia shop.  I'm beginning to think I should have added fresh amaranth flour to my dough...


Mini

Charles Luce's picture
Charles Luce

Mini: Thanks for quoting me and for starting this thread. Here's a (maybe)helpful thought: As I was contemplating two disparate ideas several weeks ago I had a proofing insight. Idea #1: My wife and I were going to the revival of West SIde Story and I was recalling the songs, one of which has the lyrics, "Stick to your own kind." Idea 2: Why were my doughs not rising enough? It dawned on me then that the yeast/bacteria combination of any sourdough might be very specific - ie - only works fully with the grain on which it is raised (its own kind). WIth that in mind I cut back the starter amount for anything I was making and added to the full dough more of the flour that was in the starter. The difference was in fact great. WHich is why, if you go back to my millet rolls recipe, you'll see that the sponge is small and the proof is long. So maybe your breads need more amaranth flour at the proofing stage. Best of Luck - I'm going to do a beta bread next week and will post on my site. Oh and BTW we saw West Side Story Tuesday and it was still quite good.


Charles

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Nov 21 //   I've notice this with my oat starter when it was very young.  Come to think of it every new starter was slow when fed different food suddenly.   As it got older and experience other flours, it was able to digest them too. 


It's been over 28 hours since I mixed the loaf and I just slashed it and put it covered into the oven.  Seemed rather dense... The flour is reaching critical enzyme levels.  If I don't bake it, it will start to fall apart, I could have just trashed it but I am curious about the taste of the amaranth when soured and 17% of the total flour.  My 1" high hocky puck is cooling.  Detect small whiffs of amaranth.


Nov 22 //   Started my coffee and sliced the bread, consistancy of moist heavy vollkorn.  Taste is gummy.   Sour blooms with chewing to very sour and then the amaranth comes in as a surprise aftertaste that quickly fades to nutty.  The sour makes the saliva glands produce.  Great if you like amaranth jerky.  Could even be sliced very thin and dried for trail food.  On with the experiments...



 


The next step for the gluten flours is to feed a little bit of amaranth starter with amaranth flour/water and then use it in dough with some added amaranth.  That should clear up the gas producing problems.  


Meanwhile testing goes on with what flavors go best with amaranth.   Saw chocolate bars made with puffed amaranth with fig filling.  Honey, nuts, beans, sweet red bean paste, mushrooms, buckwheat and chicken are in line.   All taste suggestions welcome!


Mini

Charles Luce's picture
Charles Luce

I have to say, Mini, you're brave for showing the hockey puck! I make them from time to time and hide them even from myself (though they sometimes make OK bread crumbs and/or croutons). Actually, that bread is not bad for a start. You've got some nice big gas bubbles which would be a real trick in a gluten free loaf. BTW I sometimes "cheat" and when a formula does not rise, add some yeast and sugar. 


I'm onto a "political" holiday project: A bread made of indigenous American flours to honor those first Americans. You can see my rationale and check progress at my site:


http://myceliaglutenfree.blogspot.com/


 

Charles Luce's picture
Charles Luce

Hi Mini. I've added a photo and other info regarding my Native American Bread on my blog. More details are off-site at



http://myceliaglutenfree.blogspot.com/


Enjoy the week. It's a busy one here.
Charles

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Fancy that!  A bread machine that has a Special program for gluten free bread!  There is nothing wrong in using yeast but there are lots of beasties out there. 


Still experimenting though...