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Quirky Quinoa Sourdough

This recipe is a fun twist on our Classic White Sourdough, incorporating the ancient South American grain "quinoa". Technically, quinoa is an edible seed, but it is treated as a versatile and nutritious wholegrain in the food world. It boasts a nutty taste, as well as a high fibre content and a good source of plant protein. This recipe is the perfect way to use up some quinoa you might have lurking at the back of your pantry!

This recipe makes two generous loaves weighing approximately 750g each.


120g active, bubbly starter

630g water at room temperature

1,000g AllGrain Bakers Flour

2/3 cup of dry tri-colour quinoa (or quinoa of your choice)

20g salt (non-iodised)

20g water

1/2 cup rolled oats (optional)

Quirky Quinoa Sourdough.JPEG

1. Early in the morning, or around breakfast time remove your starter from the fridge and feed it – 40g starter + 40g Bakers Flour + 40g water. Stir with the end of a chopstick and leave to activate. (This will become the 120g of starter you need for the recipe).


2. In about 4-5 hours (depending on the temperature and how active your starter is) put 120g of the active, bubbly starter (See Note 1) in a large bowl and add 630g water. Mix together with a whisk. Then add 1,000g AllGrain Bakers Flour.  Mix with a round dough scraper for a few minutes until there’s no dry flour remaining. The dough at this point will be very rough and shaggy. Cover with a damp towel or shower cap and rest for 30 minutes to autolyse. This is the official commencement of your bulk fermentation.

3. This is a good time to prepare the quinoa. Bring the tri-colour quinoa to a simmer in double the volume of water (i.e. 1 and 1/3 cups of water), stirring occasionally. Simmer at a low heat for approximately 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat, and leave to sit with the lid on so that it absorbs any remaining liquid. Once it has cooled to room temperature, fluff it with a fork.


4. Back to the dough again. After 30 minutes rest (as described in Step 2), add 20g salt with a little water (no more than 20g). Push wet fingers into the dough and sprinkle salt and water into the holes. Hand mix for about 5 minutes to incorporate. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.

5. Incorporate the cooled quinoa from step 3 into the dough. Now perform at least 3 sets of stretch and fold (See Note 2) resting the dough for 30 minutes after each set. After the final stretch and fold, perform the windowpane test (See Note 3) to check the dough has enough strength and elasticity.  Once the dough has passed this test, cover and leave it to complete bulk fermentation (See Note 4).


6. Pre-shaping - at the end of bulk fermentation, gently ease the dough out of the bowl using a rounded dough scraper or spatula onto an unfloured bench (See Note 5). Divide into two equal portions using your bench scraper and then shape each portion by performing envelope folds on each side and then rolling the dough to create tension. (There are many tutorials on YouTube demonstrating a variety of shaping techniques and also many videos about “creating tension”.)  Cover with a damp towel and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

7. Final Shaping – flip the doughs over in one smooth action and then repeat the envelope folds as previously and build tension again with rolling. At this stage, you may choose to spritz the dough and roll it face down in the rolled oats. Whether you choose to use the rolled oats or not, in one smooth action lift the doughs and place seam side up in lined and well-dusted bannetons. Many sourdough bakers find Rice flour to be the flour of choice for dusting bannetons as it doesn’t absorb moisture from the dough and we’ve certainly found this to be the case in the FPM test kitchen. Cover with a damp towel and rest for a final 15 minutes.


8. Stitching – stitch the dough firmly to ensure good tension and an impressive ear (See Note 6).


9. Cover the bannetons with shower caps and place them in the fridge for overnight cold proof (See Note 7). 


10. The next morning preheat the oven to 250° and allow time for it to reach this temperature. Remove the bannetons from the fridge, sprinkle the doughs with Bakers Flour and cover with a piece of non-stick baking paper. Carefully invert the bannetons onto your work surface, brush off any excess rice flour with a soft brush and then score the doughs with a very sharp razor blade or lame. Keep the blade as flat as possible on the dough to assist with the creation of the ear. Using the baking paper to lift the doughs, transfer them into your roasting pans, spritz with water and cover with the lids. Bake for 20 minutes at 250°, then remove the lids and bake for a further 15-20 minutes at 180°, watching carefully until they reach the desired level of brown and look well cooked. Be careful as they do burn easily!


11. Remove the loaves from your pans and leave them to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting –  they continue to cook while cooling and trying to slice the bread at this point should be avoided if possible.

Quirky Quinoa Sourdough Cross Section.HEIC

Cross section of the Quirky Quinoa Sourdough

Recipe Notes (Tips & Tricks!)

1. The windowpane test is used to determine if enough strength and elasticity has been developed during the stretch and fold process. A piece of dough is stretched until it becomes a very thin membrane through which light can be seen – without tearing the dough! Check out this video for further information.


2.  Knowing when bulk fermentation is finished is one of the great challenges of sourdough bread baking! The general rule is that the dough should have doubled in size, it should look pillowy, it should be domed on top and pulling away from the sides of the bowl and, if using a glass bowl – there should be plenty of visible air bubbles dotted through the dough. The length of bulk fermentation depends on a lot of things but most importantly the temperature. In summer in Tamworth, bulk fermentation generally takes about 5 hours (measuring from when the starter is mixed with the water and flour). In winter it takes quite a bit longer!

3. Most sourdough bakers seem to prefer rice flour for dusting the bannetons, and we have certainly found this to be the case in our Test Kitchen. We use an empty spice jar with a sprinkle top for easy application. 


6.  The biggest breakthrough in the FPM test kitchen was consistently achieving an impressive “ear” on our sourdough loaves.  If we can suggest one thing – it’s to create tension in the dough. The stitching mentioned in step 7 has been a game-changer for us. Once again, there are lots of videos on YouTube that demonstrate this technique, as well as this Facebook video.


Can't you smell that loaf from here? All you need is some good-quality butter or Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and excellent company to share it with.

If you use this recipe, we’d love to hear your feedback and see a photo! Please tag us on social media @fpmcerealmilling on Facebook and Instagram.

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