Amaranth "Happiness" Bread, and two from Mr. Hamelman: Sunflower Seed Bread with Rye Sourdough, and Rustic Bread
While visiting Victoria last March, I picked up a book called My sweet Mexico, written by Fany Gerson .
This book is full of all sorts of lovely things, and as I was looking through the book a few days ago, came across a recipe for Alegrias (Amaranth “Happiness” Candy).
The ingredients listed pecans, peanuts, raisins, pumpkin seeds, piloncillo sugar, honey, a bit of lemon (or lime) juice,
and puffed amaranth seeds.
I wondered if I could take those ingredients and make an Amaranth “Happiness” Bread!
Tried to decorate the top with 'flowers',
with ingredients used in the bread:
a pumpkin-seed flower:
... a picture taken before baking
I tried making an amaranth starter for this bread, recalling Farine’s very helpful post  about using different types of flours in preferments; based on the advice in Farine’s post (courtesy of Safa Hemzé), I kept the amaranth flour in the starter, and kept the amaranth flour to 15% of the total flour.
Mini posted about Amaranth Starter  – it was interesting to read that she thought the starter smelled like corn; I definitely tasted the flavor of corn when I first tasted the bread. The power of suggestion?!
This is how my amaranth starter looked after it had doubled:
This is the formula I worked out:
A note on how to 'puff' amaranth (It’s like making mini-popcorn!): I heated a deep pan over medium-high heat for a minute or two, added 1 Tablespoon of amaranth seeds, which immediately started to pop; covered the pan quickly, removed from the heat, and shook the pan around holding the lid in place until most of the amaranth was popped (‘puffed’). I did this three or four times, until I’d popped enough for my bread recipe. Keep those amaranth grains moving though - they'll scorch easily in a hot, dry pan.
...the effect of piloncillo sugar:
What this sugar looked like in the dough, after mixing:
The second bake today is Mr. Hamelman’s Sunflower Seed Bread with Rye Sourdough.
The sunflower seeds within, and crusting the loaf, sounded enormously appealing.
I saw jsk’s lovely bake with this formula  today, and there was a helpful reply to the OP from David (thanks David…gave me some guidance re: S&F’s with this dough :^) ).
I also happened across this beautiful post of Benjamin’s , and inspired by the beauty of that loaf, tried to score my sunflower-seed-crusted bread similarly. My loaf is not a thing of beauty like Benjamin’s!!! but despite my loaf's appearance I am happy with this bread’s very flavorful, moist crumb and crunchy, toasty crust of sunflower seeds!
The last bake is Mr. Hamelman’s Rustic Bread, from a week or so ago, trying out a new stencil.
The bread, and some crumb shots:
Happy baking everyone!
:^) from breadsong