Rusks; amaranth flour, pressure cooked

I’m doing a test of amaranth, pressure cooked. I’m curious to see how the rusks from this come out and how it tastes. Amaranth is a gluten free flour; the flour has a texture similar to the sorghum flour; sort of grainy so I’m guessing (hoping) that the crackers won’t be tough.

The dough had an earthy smell. If it ends up tasting funky I can probably fix it by using half masa harina. If it’s too crumbly I could use something like 1/4 cup barley or rye flour. It might be interesting to try it with 1/4 cup rye flour in any event to see how the flavor works out.

1 cup amaranth flour
1 cup wheat bran
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
3 tablespoons instant potato
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup (approximately) water

The water quantity is an approximation. I add the water slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time. When the dough starts sticking together in clumps I let it mix longer before I add each additional tablespoon. Towards the end the dough will clump together and stick to the mixer’s paddle. In the beginning the mixer is on low; once the dough starts clumping together I put the spatter shield on the bowl and turn up the mixer’s speed. At this point, after each tablespoon of water it needs to mix for a minute or more before I add another tablespoon. Suddenly it will start sticking to the inside of the bowl instead of clumping together, becoming a very stiff batter. At this point I don’t add any more water since I’ll be cooking it in the pressure cooker in a steamy environment. Then I put it in a greased plastic bowl with a snap on lid, but before putting its lid on it I press some plastic food wrap down onto the dough. Even with plastic on it the top darkens. I let it rest for at least an hour before I transfer it to the loaf pan and cook it.

The dough is resting.

The reason I let the dough rest is that I read that whole grain flours don’t absorb fluids as quickly as white wheat flour does. And that the bran needs extra time to soak up its fluids. Additionally, there is enzyme activity going on that adds complexity to the flavor of the bread, but that probably requires a longer rest (for example, a day).

After its rest I put it in the little loaf pan, covered it with aluminum foil, and cooked it at high pressure for 35 minutes, then let the pressure go down naturally.

I set up my pressure cooker by putting the pressure cooker’s trivet in it then I put the folding steaming basket on top of it (with its center handle removed). I wanted the loaf pan up away from the water and I wanted to put in several cups of water.

Later, baked: Ugh, minor crisis in the kitchen; I forgot to put aluminum foil over the loaf. I was able to dab off the water that was on top of the loaf but some had run down the sides and the bottom was soggy.

After the loaf had cooled and chilled in the fridge I sliced it and it was definitely gummy and not looking good. Nevertheless I soldiered on and put it in the dehydrator and started it on the 105 setting.

A few hours later I tasted a slice and couldn’t even finish the entire slice it tasted so awful. Bitter and funky. I can’t imagine that they’ll taste any better when fully dry. In the hopes that perhaps a higher drying temperature might help I’ve turned the dryer up to 160. But I’m not getting my hopes up.

I’m wondering how I can use this flour, perhaps in combination with something else. Or maybe it needs to be conventionally baked in the oven.

Hmm, one web site says “It has a very mild taste that without the addition of other flours might seem bland.” Not from my experience. It definitely had a funky smell while I was mixing it. And I’ve been keeping it in the freezer so I know it hasn’t gone bad on me, unless it was bad when I bought it. Or maybe it’s something about being combined with wheat bran? I think that the next thing to do is try baking it in the oven.

Later, after more drying: I’ve decided that the off flavor in the amaranth flour is a moldy flavor and have thrown away the crackers. I’m also going to throw away the flour. It’s disturbing to think that the store is selling moldy flour. Perhaps the seeds were moldy when they were ground. I hope I don’t get sick from what little bit I’ve eaten.


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