Busy days with sports, science fair projects, springtime to-dos, and everyday must-dos call for chowder in a crockpot. Tonight I made my savory (and according to my friend Nicole, even better the next day) Chickpea Chowder. The problem, was that I had nothing to dunk and soak up all that yumminess. I used to make THE best focaccia bread from scratch that was perfect with a dish like this. So I had to come up with something dunk-worthy that was equally as savory on it's own.
(Just so you know, this is going to be a long backstory for a bread recipe. Stay with me!)
Anyway, I was recently perusing the gluten free flour section at my local health food store. I had stopped to study a package of amaranth flour, but really just needed some more tapioca starch. I must have subconsciously really wanted that amaranth because when I got home I realized that I had bought the amaranth instead of the tapioca. Thus began my research into amaranth and how to use it.
Like quinoa, amaranth is an ancient South American grain. It is a super grain that's chalked full of calcium, magnesium, iron, and fiber. It also has one of the highest amounts of protein for any grain and is very easily digested. What really caught my attention was the primary protein in amaranth is albumin. This word probably means nothing to anyone else, but that was the word I kept hearing over and over again during that long month at the children's hospital with Miah during her celiac crisis. Her body was dangerously low in albumin. As soon as I read that I became a little obsessed with figuring out how to incorporate my new found super grain into my cooking.
Also, I had been asked by a reader if I would create a bread that did not use any xanthan gum. Gluten is the protein that binds breads together. So when you bake without gluten you need something to bind the ingredients together. I honestly thought xanthan gum was some kind of ground up plant like guar gum. Turns out it's more of a science experiment using fermented sugar and in some cases fermented wheat or soy. What!? So part 2 of my mission was to find a better alternative to xanthan gum.
Ladies and gentlemen....Success!!! (After a lot of gluten free bread failures, success feels really good so excuse my gloating).
This amaranth bread is like a biscuit and a scone got married and had a yummy gluten free baby and it is xanthan gum free! Instead of xanthan gum I used...(wait for it)...unflavored gelatin. I know! Katie at Wellness Mama describes all the amazing benefits that eating gelatin can give you. Awesome benefits like reducing wrinkles, making your hair thicker, and improved digestive system.
So, in closing, not only is this bread mouth wateringly good (and I don't mean just as far as gluten free breads go. I mean good! Period) It is so, so good for you. It's brimming with beneficial vitamins, minerals, and awesomeness! Can you tell I'm pretty proud of this one? Cause I am!
Gluten Free Amaranth Bread
2 cups amaranth flour (buying it whole grain and grinding it yourself is more affordable, but always double check that it's processed separately from wheat products)
2/3 cup arrowroot starch
1/3 almond flour (again you can buy raw almonds and grind them until they reach a flour consistency, but not too much or you'll make almond butter)
1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
4 tsp. baking powder, GF and aluminum free
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. honey
1 cup milk (almond, rice, or organic dairy)
2 tbsp. olive oil + 1/2 tbsp.
1 tsp. dried parsley (opt.)
Preheat the oven to 375. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl including the gelatin. Add in the wet ingredients and mix until everything is well blended. Drizzle 1/2 tbsp. olive oil into a 9 inch pie pan (ceramic or pyrex work best.) Scoop the dough into the pan, smooth to the edges, and sprinkle with a little parsley if you like. Bake for 20 minutes until the top turns a golden brown. Dip it in soup, chowder, chili, or serve it next to a fish or chicken dinner.