The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Breads made with exotic flours

DakotaRose's picture

Breads made with exotic flours

I went down to our local mill and purchased some exotic flours the other day.  I want to use them as additions to our favorite whole wheat recipe.  I was just wondering if anyone else has worked with these flours and has some good recipes for them.  I started out today by adding some quinoa to the recipe and it came out dense, but boy was it good.

Thank in advance.

Thegreenbaker's picture

What sort of flours were they?

Yum Quinoa flour??? wow! I LOVE Quinoa! 




DakotaRose's picture

Sorry, I totally forgot the list the flours I picked up.  I got the following, kamut, quinoa, amaranth and spelt.  I want to try using the kamut and spelt as replacements for our regular bread flour along with our white whole wheat flour then add the others as additions to my basic recipe.  I am doing another double batch of the bread I made yesterday because all 4 loaves are gone now.  LOL  Guess the family liked them a great deal.  I am interested in any recipes that someone is willing to share or just some information on how to use these flours.


tadmitchell's picture

I've tried most of the exotic flours and even took a whole grains class at AIB and my conclusion is that if you aren't gluten intolerant, don't bother. Wheat's a small miracle. Enjoy it!

That said, if you want to make something good tasting with quinoa or amaranth, try quick breads. For example, use a corn bread recipe. Quick breads don't depend on a good gluten structure, so they're actually pretty good with these grains.

Spelt has gluten so why not use whole wheat instead. If you really want to make it work, you have to work hard to develop the gluten or mix it with wheat flour or both. Use a slack dough. Use the fold technique. Sourdough or a preferment adds acidity and helps strengthen the dough.

I love kamut for pasta. It's lighter than normal whole grain pasta. The recipe is eggs and kamut flour. A bakery in Quebec makes a delightful whole grain kamut loaf. Like with the spelt, do whatever you can do to develop the gluten. The bread they make seems to be sourdough because yeast is not on the ingredient list, just kamut, water and salt. It's a dense, round artisan loaf. Kamut is similar to semolina, so you can use it in recipes that call for semolina flour.

DakotaRose's picture

Well actually my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and husband are all gluten intolerant.  So I have been trying to develope a recipe that would work for them.  They all miss being able to eat bread as they knew it.  My husband and sister-in-law will still eat wheat products, but then suffer from extreme low energy.  It would be nice to be able to make them something that they could eat.

We also have a number of friends who are want to add more protein to their diets and beings the quinoa will create a complete protein in wheat bread then I wanted to use it.  For the most part though I want to learn to use the flours to create some recipes for my family.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

while I have a vegitarian in the family. When I read about the protein, my jaw dropped. I ordered a cook book and it's packed full of ideas. Chiefly one can substitute 1/2 of the wheat flour in any recipe with quinoa (for the other 1/2 I use spelt.) I use spelt all the time. For bread, I have yet to try a 1/2 substitution with quinoa. I do prefer to soak or cook quinoa first, eat half for breakfast (like oatmeal) and put the other half into bread. Important is to rinse under water first. This removes some bitter taste. As this proposes problems with grinding, good if your climate is dry, one solution is to rinse well and spread out thinly to dry. Then grind flour. Sprouted seed can also be eaten.

"Exotic flours" conjures up a stage for me, little velvet curtains & exotic dancers; with little grain seeds dressed in feathers and bright lights doing the Cancan.

My cherry/walnut spelt/ap muffins are done!

Mini O

DakotaRose's picture

I added quinoa at a smaller percentage then half of my wheat flour.  I didn't want to go overboard beings my recipe already had a few other items in it that were very low in gluten and I didn't want to discover a lump of dough in my rising bowl after I was done.  I think my recipe ended up with about an addition of 15% quinoa.  The bread actually turned out quite well, but I forgot to set the loaves on their sides to cool and they did a bit of falling back on themselves.  No matter though, the family ate them and from the 4 loaves of yesterday we are now down to one loaf, which may not last till noon.  I should have thought ahead and through some flour in water to make some more bread again today.  One thing is for sure, my mixer is getting a good workout. 

I would also be interested in some good suggestions for bread cookbooks that deal with whole grains of all kinds.


edh's picture

This sounds like a neat project you've embarked on. I don't know anything about gluten free bread-making, though I've had success converting a number of sweets to gluten free for a friend's son; just used rice flour instead.

I have, however been playing around with both kamut and spelt recently, and the family likes both. The spelt I've used instead of whole wheat, with no changes to the recipe, though I agree with tadmitchell that you really have to pay attention to developing the gluten. I just do lots of extra stretch and folds.

Kamut has been a little trickier in bread; it's pretty hard to avoid having it be quite dense, so it's mostly showed up here in combination with white bread flour. I just realized last night that we had no sandwich bread in the house, but didn't have time to make bread today, so threw together the NYT no-knead bread, subbing in kamut for 1/3 of the white flour. After it had risen about 11 hours, I did a series of stretch and folds every 30 - 45 minutes for the next 3 hours, which really seemed to strength the dough alot. It was actually the lightest kamut bread I've made yet. Very tasty, too.

Kamut also makes the best Toll House cookies ever; just replace all of the white flour with it. Very nutty and crunchy!

Keep us posted; I'm looking forward to adding quinoa to some bread soon.


shakleford's picture

I love using alternative flours in my bread.  I haven't tried kamut and am not a big fan of spelt, but love quinoa and amaranth.  As others have commented, using more than a small percentage of these flours will reduce rise, and also tend to make your bread more crumbly.  The usual solution is to substitute smaller amounts - I've gotten away with up to 50% quinoa, but I wouldn't try more than 25% amaranth.

While it doesn't appeal to everyone, I do sometimes bake loaves consisting solely of alternative flours.  Keep in mind that these are only "bread" in the sense that they are the result of combining flour and water; other than that, they tend to resemble very thick crackers.  That being said, I find the texture a pleasant change of pace (though it is not at all like wheat bread, obviously) and the flavor outstanding.  In fact, while typing this, I think I've decided to make a 100% quinoa bread on my next baking day...

Anyway, just an idea - like I said, it's certainly not for everyone, but I enjoy it.

Janedo's picture

I like the nutty flavour Kamut gives in bread. I substitute about 20% of the bread flour in a hearth bread with it and is enough to add character.

I really like baguettes with a bit of white spelt.

I posted a nice gluten free buckwheat bread made with a buckwheat sourdough starter I grew. There are other flours in it as well (rice, millet, soja and corn). My blog is

but it's in french. If you're interested I can translate it.


DakotaRose's picture


I would be very interested in the recipe for your gluten free buckwheat bread. When my sister-in-law heard that I was playing with some flours she got very excited. I am trying to learn all the different characteristics of the flours so that I can find out which ones might be interchangeable with others.

Tomorrow I want to try increasing the quinoa in the recipe I created here. My biggest fear is that the bread won't come together very well. I know it isn't a gluten free bread, but right now we are just loving experiencing the new flavors.


Janedo's picture

This is a bread I make regularly for a friend. She loves buckwheat which is a very strong flavored flour. You can also substitute a portion of the buckwheat with more dark rice flour or even millet, quinoa, etc. White rice flour is very bland, so don't put too much. You can play around with the flours but buckwheat absorbs a lot of water so you have to modify the water since other flours will take less. Add it a little at a time so as not to put too much. The seeds are for taste and nutritive elements.

I made a buckwheat sourdough starter in the same manner as a regular one and it works great!

Gluten free buckwheat bread

Gluten-free buckwheat sourdough

Gluten-free buckwheat sourdough

200 g rice flour (but the dark kind)

150 g buckwheat flour

100 g fine corn flour (not meal and not starch)

sunflower seeds (I put my hand in the box and pull out a fistful of each type of seed)

sesame seeds

flax seeds

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sugar

1,5 tsp salt

150g buckwheat sourdough starter (or 1 1/2 tsp yeast)

warm water (add 300 g and then add little by little until desired consistency obtained)

1 tsp guar gum or agar-agar powder (Optional!)

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon. It should be thick but stirrable, like a cake batter. If it is too thick and dry it'll cook up like a block.

Pour the batter in a lined bread pan. Cover with plastic.

If using starter, let it rise about 6-7 hrs depending on the temperature. If you're in a rush, you can add a little bit of yeast in the initial batter to speed it up and you'll still get the nice texture from the starter, with a less tangy taste. Or you can use only yeast. It'll rise a lot faster!

When you see that the dough has risen substantially and the top is splitting, preheat the oven to 210°C (410°F) Bake 30-40 min. Make sure the center is cooked because buckwheat tends to look cooked on the outside, but isn't in the inside! You can take it out of the pan and brown the sides.

Let cool WELL before slicing!

thomkat's picture

This recipe looks great!  Do you know how I would modify it to allow the growth of natural yeast...make a starter?



Janedo's picture

You can make a sourdough starter using either buckwheat flour or whole rice. Use the same technique as a regular sourdough starter. Just keep it thick, otherwise it ferments too quickly. Then you can make gluten free bread using only the starter and no yeast.

clazar123's picture

I bought a 50# bag of kamut and grind it as needed. It produces a fine gold flour that colors a loaf nicely. I have never had a problen getting good gluten formation but I never made a 100%kamut loaf-now that I think about it. I always mix my flours. I also have not had a problem with bread being too dense. That is taken care of in the technique-autolyse,stretch and fold,overnight rise in refrig or whatever. Like any whole wheat, it needs time to evenly absorb all the moisture and time to rise.

HAve delicious fun!

cookinmama84's picture

I have just gotten several b25 lb bags of kamut from a healthfood store and want to make bread with it.  I did not know that Kamut is a soft wheat with little gluten, so my first loaf was dense and not what I expected.  However--it tasted lovely, and I used it for toast each morning with great raves from family.

I want to make sandwich bread with it, so would appreciate any help from more experienced bakers. I do not know how to weigh ingredients, but use the "cup" method of measurements. 

One person suggested using vital wheat gluten to help with rise, but that defeats the whole idea of getting away from super-hybridized wheat.  I am trying not to use any hybridized wheat or excipients from it as it is suspected as being the cause of obesity and many other health problems in the U.S. (Read WHEAT BELLY-book)  astounding.

I am also ordering Turkey Red Wheat from Heartland Mills in Kansas, as it is the old-time bread wheat brought toi the U.s. with the Mennonites in the 1800's.  Thanks for all your commcnts. 






Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The wheat grain was a hybrid developed in the US.  The menonites happened to be the work force at the right place in time for getting the new grain planted and harvested.   They had group organization, were hard working  and  knew how to grow crops.   Best of all, their leaders knew how to cut a great deal with the government at the time.

I'm with you on cutting back on wheat.   Try searching (to name a few) topics in the site search machine:


water roux

non-gluten flours  or  low gluten flours

Kamut flour

grind's picture

Have a look here.  They discuss mashing exotic flours to help improve their stabilty -