Monday, September 5, 2011

Product Training: New Gluten Free Grains

I am new to gluten free grain.  But I am so excited that SR is now offering them.  It is my most requested product.  I think it is going to be a great option for a lot of customer.  I have done a lot of research on the new grains we offer and I will admit that I’m not an expert, but I thought you might be interested in what I have found.

·         Amaranth:  Amaranth is a tiny whole grain.  It is an ancient grain.  It is really high in protein and it is a gluten free grain (and is safe for those with Celiac disease).  It can be cooked as a cereal, ground into flour, popped like popcorn, sprouted, or toasted. The seeds can be cooked with other whole grains, added to stir-fry or to soups and stews as a nutrient dense thickening agent.

Amaranth flour is used in making pastas and baked goods. It must be mixed with other flours for baking yeast breads, as it contains no gluten. One part amaranth flour to 3-4 parts wheat or other grain flours may be used. In the preparation of flatbreads, pancakes and pastas, 100% amaranth flour can be used. Sprouting the seeds will increase the level of some of the nutrients and the sprouts can be used on sandwiches and in salads, or just to munch on.

Amaranth has a "sticky" texture that contrasts with the fluffier texture of most grains and care should be taken not to overcook it as it can become "gummy." Amaranth flavor is mild, sweet, nutty, and malt like, with a variance in flavor according to the variety being used.


½ cup
1 ½ cup
1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup amaranth, a pinch of salt. Combine in saucepan, bring to boil, and reduce heat to simmer for 25 minutes or until the water is absorbed. You could then use it in recipes calling for rice, couscous, etc. For example, use cold in a salad by tossing with a little olive oil, lemon juice, chopped fresh dill, diced green onion, and fresh ground pepper.
To pop (like pop corn)

¼ cup at a time
The easiest way to pop amaranth seeds is with an air popper. Otherwise pop in small amounts (about 1/4 cup at a time) in a wok or large saucepan over high heat. Don’t add oil to the pan, just heat it and then add the grain. Stir constantly until most of the grains have popped and those that do not pop are a shade or two darker.  Try adding it as a topping for a salad. 

·         Millet
o   Millet is a gluten-free grain that’s high in antioxidant activity, and also especially high in magnesium, a mineral that helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function. For many years, little research was done on the health benefits of millets, but recently they have been “rediscovered” by researchers, who have found millets helpful in controlling diabetes and inflammation.
o   Millet grains are usually small and yellowish in color. They have a mild flavor that pairs well with other foods. Most sources recommend cooking millet with about 2 ½ cups of liquid for each cup of millet grain.

Like most other whole gains, millet can be made into pilafs or breakfast cereals, or added to breads, soups or stews. It can also be popped like corn and eaten as a snack.  You can substitute up to about 30% millet flour in your favorite baking recipes, and even more in foods like cookies that do not need to rise as much.

WGC Culinary Advisor Lorna Sass, in her book “Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way” recommends three ways to cook millet:

Fluffy Millet

1 cup
2 ¼ cup
Toast 1 cup millet for 4-6 minutes in a dry pan then add 2 ¼ cups boiling water, simmer 13-18 minutes, then let stand 10 minutes.
Sticky Millett

1 cup
2 ¾ cup
Bring 1 cup millet to a boil in 2 ¾ cups water, simmer for 13-18 minutes, then let stand 10 minutes. Sticky millet can be molded in croquettes and patties.

Creamy Millet

Grind 1 cup millet in a spice grinder. Bring 5 cups water to a boil, then gradually whisk in millet. Cover, lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 to 30 minutes until grits are tender. Makes a great porridge or polenta.

·         Quinoa
o   Quinoa (keen-wah) comes to us from the Andes, quinoa cooks in about 10-12 minutes, creating a light, fluffy side dish. It can also be incorporated into soups, salads and baked goods.
o   Quinoa is a small, light-colored round grain, similar in appearance to sesame seeds. Most quinoa must be rinsed before cooking, the quinoa that Shelf Reliance sells is pre washed and does not need to be rinsed.

Fluffy Quinoa

1 cup
1 ¼ cup
 Bring to a simmer and then reduce to low.  Cover and cook for between 30 and 35 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit covered for an additional five minutes.  Fluff and serve.
*Most places I found recommended that you use 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water (or other liquid)  I like it more when you use less water. This makes it fluffy not soggy.
Traditional Quinoa

1 cup
2 cups
Place quinoa in a small saucepan with liquid. Quinoa may be cooked in water or vegetable or meat stock. We use a 2:1 ratio – 2 cups liquid to 1 cup quinoa. Use a larger saucepan if you are cooking more than this basic amount.
Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. You should see tiny spirals (the germ) separating from and curling around the quinoa seeds
Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve. Some people like to add olive oil, butter, salt, or pepper. Cooked quinoa can also be used as the basis for pilafs, salads, breakfast porridges, and more.

·         Rice Flour
o   Rice flour (also rice powder) is a form of flour made from finely milled rice.   It is used frequently to make rice noodles, as a coating for General Tso’s chicken.   Rice flour is gluten free and is safe for those on a gluten free diet. When you substitute rice flour for wheat flour it makes things come out crispers (think waffles, or cookies)
Source: The Splendid Grain - by Rebecca Wood
5 T. unsalted butter
1/2 c. Sucanat or packed light brown sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
1/2 t. almond extrace
1-1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/4 t. sea salt
18 blanched almonds
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a cookie sheet and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and almond extract. Stir in the flour and salt until well mixed. (The dough may be baked immediately or refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to 5 days.)
Roll the dough into walnut-size balls. Place 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Flatten with your fingertips. Press an almond half into the center of each cookie. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool on wire racks. (May be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.)

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