Now that we're into October, I'm excited to share my first pumpkin recipe of the year with you! I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm one of those people who gets a bit obsessed with everything pumpkin related as soon as the weather starts getting cooler every year - I always look forward to pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin scones and muffins, and pumpkin beer!
This particular recipe has lots of spices in it, a generous portion of pumpkin puree, and some maple syrup for a bit of sweetness to balance the bitterness of the beer. This time, I used a lighter blonde ale for the beer, but a light pumpkin beer would work really well too!
I also wanted to add a bit of texture to my loaf by mixing in a grain like quinoa or millet. Unfortunately, I didn't have either of those in my pantry, but I did have some amaranth so I decided to incorporate it instead. Rather than using it dry though, I popped the seeds first so that it puffed up like popcorn. If you've never tried popped amaranth before, there are some helpful tutorials on other blogs such as Edible Perspective.
The amaranth wasn't very noticeable in the baked loaf, but you could see some light speckles throughout and it added a hint of nutty flavour, not to mention a boost of nutrition since amaranth is high in protein, fiber, and vitamins.
I enjoyed most of this bread with Earth Balance coconut spread, but I also ate some with a delicious pumpkin mash which I'll be sharing on the blog next week!
Pumpkin Amaranth Beer Bread
Adapted from various sources, including Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes and Averie Cooks
1/4 cup dry amaranth grain (about 1 cup popped)
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup canned pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp molasses (I used blackstrap molasses)
1/2 tsp maple extract (optional, for more of a maple flavour)
12 oz bottle of light beer (I used a blonde ale)
Preheat oven to 375⁰F. Prepare a loaf pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper (optional) and spraying with cooking spray.
First, to pop the amaranth, place a medium sized pot on the stovetop over medium heat. Add a small amount of amaranth (about 1 tbsp) to the pot and heat until it starts to pop. Once it starts popping, cover pot with a lid and shake frequently until it stops popping. Immediately transfer popped amaranth to a bowl. Continue in small batches until all the amaranth has been popped. Note: You will likely need to throw out your first batch or two, as it won’t pop properly. Mine didn’t start going until the third attempt!
In a large bowl, add the flours, baking powder, spices, and salt. Whisk to mix thoroughly. Whisk in the popped amaranth.
In a separate bowl, stir together the pumpkin, maple syrup, oil, molasses, and maple extract. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir a few times. Pour in the beer and stir gently just until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Transfer mixture to the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 50-60 minutes (I baked mine for 60 minutes just to be sure it was cooked all the way through – this could depend on your oven and the size of your loaf pan). Remove and let cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then remove loaf from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
Makes 1 loaf. *Note: After a couple of days, I stored my leftovers, pre-sliced and wrapped well, in the freezer and defrosted slices when I wanted a piece.