What is it?
Amaranth flour is made from the ground up seeds of the amaranth plant. It is grain free and gluten free. The flour itself is cream-coloured. The coarseness of the granules in the flour can vary. You will find, however, that this flour is more coarse than ordinary wheat flour. It has a strong earthy, almost musty flavour.
How do I cook with it?
For first timers, try using a recipe that specifically asks for amaranth flour. That way, you’ll get a taste and feel for its unique texture with a tried and true formula. Click on this link to try a yummy banana bread recipe, or see the lemon coconut cookie recipe below. Or try both. Treat yourself.
If you’re keen to experiment with your own recipes, read on.
As with many other grain free flours such as quinoa flour, buckwheat flour and coconut flour, the following guidelines apply as a general rule of thumb. Anyone who is a seasoned experimenter in grain free baking will know that there are many exceptions to this rule… just to keep every day different from the next….
If you are adapting a recipe that contains wheat or another gluten flour, don’t just replace the existing flour with the same quantity of amaranth flour. Instead:
-Increase the amount of moisture in the recipe. Amaranth flour is denser and heavier than wheat flour.
-Add more binding agent (such as eggs, banana or soy flour). Gluten has an elasticity that helps hold things together and as amaranth does not contain gluten, it is more likely to fall apart without a bit of extra help.
-Reduce the cooking time and temperature, or at least, keep checking regularly as it bakes. Amaranth flour generally browns quicker than traditional wheat flour. I can’t tell you how many charred failures have ended up in the chicken coop because I wandered away for more than 5 minutes when I was trying out something new.
- Try mixing the amaranth flour with other grain free flours. Soy flour, tapioca flour, potato flour and arrowroot work well.
Lemon Coconut Cookie Recipe
1 cup amaranth flour
¼ cup honey
½ cup coconut oil
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 tsp soda bicarbonate
1 tsp vanilla
Grated rind of one lemon
Bring all ingredients to room temperature. Whisk together honey and coconut oil. Add vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, coconut, soda and lemon rind. Blend wet and dry ingredients together.
Pinch off a plum sized portions, roll into balls and flatten slightly on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Bake in a preheated oven at 345°F/175°C for 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.
Sprouted Amaranth Flour
You can mill sprouted amaranth seeds for a highly nutritious, full o’ flavor flour. Follow these simple instructions:
1. Sprout grains according to the instructions under Sprouted Amaranth on the Amaranth page here.
2. The moment the grains germinate and the tiny sprout appears, they are ready. This can take 1-3 days. Don’t leave them more than a day after sprouting – they become rancid quickly.
3. Rinse and drain.
4. Dehydrate in a food dehydrator, or, by spreading out on a baking tray and leaving in the oven at approximately 45°C/110°F for several hours until dry.
5. Grind in a coffee grinder or grain mill.
Sprouted amaranth flour is highly nutritious. The unsprouted flour produces pretty heavy results in baked goods, and sprouted flour is even heavier. That’s pretty heavy. But it’s also tasty and seriously good for you.
Sprouting the grains to use as a flour amplifies the flavour of an already strongly flavoured flour. So if you like the taste of the unsprouted flour, the sprouted flour could be for you.
Sprouted Amaranth Tortilla Recipe
Try this simple tortilla recipe, originally from Bob’s Red Mill website, to give yourself an unadulterated taste of sprouted flour:
1 ¼ cups sprouted amaranth flour (see above for how to make the sprouted flour)
1 teaspoon your preferred seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup water
In a small bowl, mix the flour and seasoning. Stir in water, then evaluate the consistency. The dough should be soft, but not wet, and mould easily into shapes. The dough will easily form a ball as you stir it. If necessary, add a bit more flour or water to achieve the proper consistency.
Pinch off balls of dough the size of golf balls. Roll them in additional flour to coat well. Knead each ball a bit as you pat or roll it into a flat circle about half a cm (1/8 inch) thick and about 14cm (5½ inches) across. Repeat with all dough.
Heat a heavy nonstick frying pan or griddle. You can choose to use oil or not.
Place each tortilla in the hot frypan, and cook for a few minutes on each side. Tortillas should become lightly brown and start to appear dry. Cool on wire racks.
Makes about 6 Tortillas.
The nutritional contents of amaranth flour align with that of the raw amaranth seeds, seeing as the flour contains the ground up seeds with nothing removed (especially if you make it yourself – Keep reading for details).
Hop to the Amaranth page for more info on the nutritional qualities of amaranth and its flour.
Where can I get it?
A number of options exist, depending upon where in the world you live. Try:
-The health food section of a high end supermarket
-The health food store
-You can also make your own by grinding the raw amaranth seeds/grains in a mill or grinder. Just make sure they have been rinsed first. See the amaranth page for info on rinsing if it’s not already done by the manufacturer.
Alternatively, grinding flaked and puffed amaranth in an ordinary coffee grinder makes a light and easy-to-use flour too. And it’s a lot softer on an ordinary herb/coffee grinder than the hard, raw seeds.
Amaranth flour, as with many other grain free flours such as soy flour and quinoa flour, are prone to going rancid much quicker and easier than ordinary wheat flour if not stored correctly. Store in cool, dry place in sealed container, preferably the refrigerator, for up to 3 months.
It can also be frozen to extend shelf life to approx 6 months. Return to Grain and Gluten Free Flours from Amaranth flour