Quinoa Date and Nut Bread

It's hard not to love this bread. It's made using two forms of quinoa — the flour and the cooked grain — which both contribute to its moist, tender texture and subtle nutty flavor. Meanwhile, pockets of sweet dates and buttery pecans make it into each bite so that even a plain slice of this loaf is compelling and appetizing. We also enjoy serving toasted slices tartine-style, with creamy cheese and salty cured ham.
Prep
20 mins
Bake
35 to 40 mins
Total
6 hrs
Yield
2 loaves
Quinoa Date and Nut Bread

Instructions

  1. To make the sponge: Combine all the ingredients and mix until smooth. Cover the sponge, and let it sit for 1 to 2 hours, or until it's very bubbly.
  2. To make the dough: Mix the salt into the sponge, then gradually incorporate the bread flour, either by hand or stand mixer, until a shaggy dough forms.
  3. Knead the dough until it's smooth and somewhat stiff.
  4. Knead in the cooked quinoa, pecans, and dates until they're thoroughly incorporated into the dough; at this point the dough will have slackened, but shouldn't be too sticky to handle.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and set aside to rise until it's just about doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  6. Gently deflate the dough on a lightly floured work surface, divide it in half, and shape each half into a round (boule).
  7. Place the boules on a cornmeal-sprinkled or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise until not quite doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  8. During the final 20 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 425°F.
  9. Bake the loaves for 15 minutes at 425°F, then reduce the oven heat to 375°F and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until a digital thermometer inserted in the center of the loaves registers 200°F.
  10. Remove the loaves from the oven and transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
  11. Store, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.