Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Best Teff Sandwich Bread Recipe

After countless batches of teff bread that sagged, deflated, or didn't rise, I finally came up with the perfect recipe for a gluten-free whole grain sandwich bread.  I learned quite a few things about bread making in the process of developing this recipe that I'd like to share with you.  The success of a gluten-free bread depends on these essential baking elements:

  • the correct ratio of salt, yeast, and sugar to flour
  • the correct ratio of xanthan gum to liquid and flours
  • accurate measurements, including temperature
and the most important thing, and the one it took me longest to discover, is:
  • a hefty amount of acid in the mix.

I learned about the ratios of salt and sugar to yeast from reading the Joy of Cooking and other reference books.  What I didn't learn until now is the role of acid in bread making.  It turns out that yeast performs better in an acidic environment.  All the commercially-available bread mixes that I've been trying out have had vinegar and ascorbic acid in them.  Adding a lot more apple cider to my existing recipe made it a whole lot better.  The acid not only gives the bread quite a bit more volume but it also acts as a dough conditioner to give the bread a sturdy yet flexible structure and a better crust.

You can use this as a template to create your own recipe.  Just substitute your flours by weight and keep the ratios the same.  I measure the weights in metric because it's a little more straight-forward.  Weighing the flour is much more accurate, but if you must use dry measures then all the flours together should be about three cups.

If you're looking for a more traditional teff bread recipe, see my Artisan Teff Bread Recipe or the Vegan, gum-free teff bread recipe.  Check out my Bread Page for more recipes and a new GF Bread Flour Blend.

The Best Teff Sandwich Bread

In a small bowl or large measuring cup mix:

345g (1.5 cups) water at 110 degrees F
6g (1 Tbsp) yeast

Set aside in a warm place while you mix the other ingredients.  It should sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast is dissolved and the water becomes opaque.

Mix in a large bowl:

200g (1 1/4 C) Teff flour
100g (3/4C) Sorghum flour
75g (1/2 C) Tapioca flour
75g (1/2 C) Potato Starch

24g (2Tbsp) sugar
1.5 tsp xanthan gum
6g (1.5) tsp salt

Whisk together:

3 eggs

Add the eggs and the water mixture to the dry ingredients with:

35g (4 Tbsp) oil or melted butter
18g (1 Tbsp + 1 tsp.) apple cider vinegar

Beat the dough until smooth and completely mixed.  Oil or grease a sandwich bread pan.  Pullman loaf pans with really high sides give you bigger slices.

Cover the pan with a cloth and let rise in a warm place for 60 minutes.  In the meantime, heat the oven to 375.  Once the bread has risen, bake in the oven for 50 minutes to an hour.  The internal temperature should reach 200 degrees.  Let cool on a drying rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
Enjoy your teff bread with butter or use it as a sandwich.  Either way it's delicious!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Read This New Blog

Sad. Inspiring. Hilarious.  It's difficult to sum up my friend's new blog.  It is not for the weak of heart.  It's about her struggle with colon cancer after suffering through years of undiagnosed food allergies and digestive ailments.  It's called My Butt Hurts.  Read this new blog.  Whether it makes you laugh or cry you won't regret it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gluten-free Flour Substitutions

If you've looked online for a gluten-free recipe, you've probably run into this dilemma:  you want to make something now, but you don't have - or can't get - one of the flours your delicious-looking recipe calls for.  This quick guide is a reference for what kind of flour to substitute for what you're missing.

Keep in mind a few things when you substitute flours in a recipe: first, do it by weight if that is possible.  A digital kitchen scale will make your life so much easier!  Different flours measure very differently in measuring cups sometimes.  Second, any substitution will change the texture and density of the dough.  Thirdly, if you don't see the flour here that you want to substitute, try thinking of something with a similar fiber content and texture, and experiment.  Starches can almost always be subbed out for other starches, and whole grain flours can replace each other, but don't sub a starch for a whole grain.  Then let me know what you come up with!

Flour Substitutions:

brown rice flour - teff flour
white rice flour - finely-ground corn flour
corn meal - buckwheat
buckwheat - teff flour
sorghum flour - amaranth flour
tapioca starch - potato starch
arrowroot starch - corn starch
potato flour - millet flour
coconut flour - do not sub out!  Coconut flour has much more fiber than anything else.  If you substitute it, your ratio of flour to liquids will be completely thrown off.  (Flours high in fiber call for more liquid.)

Do you have a favorite flour substitution?  Let me know in the comments!