Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hopi Red Dye Cornbread

Yesterday's local grain experiment was inspired by the Hopi Red Dye Amaranth that I bought seed for this past year. I've primarily been using it as a braising green (though granted it's more purple than green.) But it was traditionally used as a food coloring, to make a ceremonial red corn bread. I was unable to find instructions for how to extract the dye, or how much to use, but I did find online sources that said to use the flowers, not the leaves.

So, yesterday was my birthday, and I wanted a cake, and some of the spring-planted Amaranth had survived my haphazard harvest and started to bloom. I found this Bi-Color Hopi Corn Bread recipe online, which calls for "red corn meal", and adapted it with reference to the corn bread recipes in my Joy of Cooking. The result was dense and fine-textured, reminiscent of a pound cake (only without the pound of butter...) It's very popular with the family, though you have to be careful to keep the slices small (I had to lie down and groan for awhile after I foolishly took seconds.) The surface color came out a bright raspberry-red, but the interior faded to a brownish hue that was much less noticeable.

Hopi Red Dye Cornbread

Baking Temp: somewhere between 350 & 425 (one recipe called for the lower temp, the other called for a higher one, and I'm not sure which would work better. My oven temp was on the low side, since I opened it several times to check for doneness.)

Make two batches of the following (mix dry ingredients separately, then add wet ingredients):

3/4 cup corn meal (Cayuga Pure)
1/4 cup buckwheat flour (Birkett Mills)
1/4 cup barley flour (CP, home ground)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

3 T sunflower oil (Greenstar bulk local)
1/4 cup maple syrup (or to taste -- I couldn't stomach the thought of 2 cups of maple syrup in one batch of bread...)
1 egg (back yard chickens)

For one batch, add 1 cup almond milk (or regular milk.)

For the other batch, add 1 cup almond milk blended with a handful of Hopi Red Dye Amaranth flowers. (I tried boiling & steeping them first, which released enough dye to make a pretty pink, then I put the lot in the blender to deepen the color. I'm not sure whether the heat was needed to release the dye.)

Use a greased 9x9 pan (I used an 8x8, which is what I had on hand, but I think the larger size would have been an improvement.) Pour in the red layer first, then carefully pour the yellow layer on top of it. Use a spoon to swirl the colors together. Bake 20-25 minutes for the higher temp, or 30-35 for the lower, or as long as you need to get a toothpick to come out clean (I think mine was in for about 40-45, but it was thicker due to the smaller pan.)

Serving suggestion: top with warm cinnamon-spiced applesauce and fresh raspberries.

1 comment:

  1. Partner Perspective

    Happy Birthday, Marty!

    Downside of the challenge -- Marty having to bake her own birthday cake. (But then, she does about 99% of the cooking so I guess that's nothing new. I can manage the GF cake mix but this inventing recipes on the fly thing takes an expert.)

    Upside of the challenge -- this was delicious.