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.

The Best Teff Sandwich Bread

In a small bowl or large measuring cup mix:

1.5 cups water at 110 degrees F
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 Teff flour
100g Sorghum flour
75g Tapioca flour
75g Potato Starch

2T sugar
1.5 tsp xanthan gum
1.5 tsp salt

Whisk together:

3 eggs

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

4 Tbsp oil or melted butter
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!


l'actrice said...

OMG! That looks delicious and even crispy! I will try it out! Just one question. What is Teff flour? Is it just gluten free flour?

jacobithegreat said...

I have tried SO many bread recipes and finally gave up! Will def be trying this

Gina said...

L'actrice, a natural foods store should have it. Find a place that sells a good selection of Bob's Red Mill flours and you should be able to find a certified GF teff flour. You can also buy it online here:

FooFooBerry said...

This looks divine. Wonder if I can sub out the eggs for egg replacer and switch the butter with vegan marg to make it vegan friendly?

Gina said...

FooFooBerry - The butter can definitely be subbed out for regular vegetable oil. I actually used olive oil in making the loaf that's pictured. As for the egg replacer, I'm not sure yet. I haven't started trying to create my vegan version of this teff bread yet. Let me know if you try something that works!

Nancy said...

This looks like a perfect texture. I've tried many bread recipes, but never get something that rises up this well--they tend to be fairly heavy. I'll definitely be giving this a try. Thanks!

Erika K from Gluten Free Diet Guide said...

Thank you thank you for describing your process! I've been wanting to come up with my own bread recipe with the types of flours we like at home, but I couldn't think of the first place to start.

I appreciate understanding the ratios, some of the chemistry involved, using weight over cup measurements, etc. Already has me wondering about how I could tweak a few recipes I use now.

Again, thanks! And that bread does look great :)

Gina said...

Nancy - Thanks for the comments! I like how the texture turned out. I hope you like it! Let me know how it turns out.

Erika K - You're welcome! I also tried looking up a bunch of recipes before trying my own, but it took a long time to get all the information I needed to make the loaf rise properly. I'd love it if you got back to me with what you came up with. Thanks for the comments!

jUUggernaut said...

I'll try this today using whey left over from making German quark instead of water. For my regular wheat and rye baking it has always made a difference.

Kate said...

Though water is mentioned several times, it is not listed in the recipe - when, where and how much???? (and I love the idea of using whey instead of water!)

Gina said...

Kate - Water is the first ingredient in the recipe! Use 1.5 cups as listed, or sub out milk (or whey!).

Gloria said...

I have a great recipe that contains teff flour as well. I love using teff flour, it's so healthy I even put it in peanut butter cookies to give a little extra fiber. Here is a link to my recipe
Thank you for sharing!!

Gina said...

Gloria - Teff flour in peanut butter cookies sounds delicious. That would be an easy way to sneak in some fiber! Thanks for the link to your Teff Bread recipe. It looks great!

AmyT said...

Any idea if I can use honey instead of sugar?

Gina said...

AmyT - honey is perfect for this bread. Just substitute the 2T honey for the 2T sugar. Any other natural sweetener would work as well: agave, maple syrup, brown sugar, etc. The yeast just needs a little sugar to start its fermentation process, but it's not picky about the source.

Anonymous said...

Made this last night and it turned out perfect!!!! Hubby & kid loved it too. That says a lot cuz hubby normally only likes extra soft store bought bread. He said this might be THE recipe. I subbed rice flour for sorghum and coconut for potato. Awesome texture- soft! prob needs only 30 -40 minutes cooking in electric oven. I did it at 350 too.

Gina said...

I'm glad you liked the bread! I think the reduced baking time that you experienced is due to the coconut flour, which has a LOT more fiber than other flours and absorbs more water. A drier dough will bake faster. I'm glad it turned out! Thanks for trying the recipe and for commenting, too!

lgilderhus said...

Do you think you could add flax seed and sunflower seeds and have it still rise?

Gina said...

Igilderhus - I haven't tried flax seed with this recipe yet, but I'm getting good results with it on other breads. I bet it would be great! I really need to try it with this Teff bread recipe too. I haven't tried sunflower seeds, but I've been using a combination of flax and chia seeds. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

Clint Hoff & Family said...

Dear Gina, Your bread sure does look good. I would like to try it, but I don't have a scale to measure the flours (that you have listed in grams). Do you know what the equivalent measurements for the flour in cups?

Gina said...

You know, Clint, I just never use volume measurements for flour in recipes any more. It's just too unreliable! Even the grind of the flour can change its volume measurement. I could never get any consistency with my recipes before I got a good kitchen scale. That scale has been well worth it. In addition to being more accurate and consistent, it's much faster to measure by weight.

However, if you want to experiment, start with this: The teff and sorghum are quite a bit heavier than the starches. From my notes, I'd guess it's about:

3/4 cup potato starch
3/4 cup tapioca flour,
1 cup teff
3/4 cup sorghum

Add more water if needed to make the dough the consistency that you see in the photo.

Anonymous said...

Hello Gina your bread looks absolutely delicious! Now that I have added eggs back in my diet and plan on defintely trying your recipe! The funny thing is, I have tried basically all the gluten free flours but not Teff for some weird reason. What does it taste/smell like? Does it have a strong flavour like quinoa does? Also, have you ever tried it using a little less starch? I am really glad you used the scale. I really think anyone doing gluten free baking should own one. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe. :-) I will let you know how it turned out once I make it. Cheers Farzana

Anonymous said...

The consistency is like muffin batter, right? Pretty wet? Not flowy but not super thick either?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, its Farzana again . . I was just thinking, is it active dry yeast or instant? Cuz the instant can be mixed into the dry, it doesnt need to be proofed. Maybe there is a reason you did it or maybe you used active dry yeast? Please do tell. thx

Gina said...

Teff flour has a distinctive flavor, but it is not at all like quinoa. It's nutty and strong. I really like it, and this recipe pairs it with flours that mellow it out a little. If you're cautious about it you can use more sorghum and less teff. Using less starch will make it more dense - too dense for my taste - and it won't rise as well. This recipe is not very starchy compared to most other GF bread recipes.

I use Red Star Quick-rise Yeast. It's GF and it seems to work best for GF bread, which is more reluctant to rise. I tried putting the dry yeast in with the flours with this recipe, but I got better results proofing the yeast. If you decide to try putting the yeast in the dry ingredients, you will have better luck if you beat the dough for a long time, preferably in a stand mixer.

The dough should be about like a thick muffin batter. Thanks for your comments!

SciResearcher said...

I don't agree with your use of Xanthan Gum. , Xanthan Gum is a synthesized compound (the last part of the synthesis requires it be dried with Isopropanol) . It is from China which has been pushed into the USA for the past 2 years and it has an MSDS which states it , has heavy metals , . You should substitute the Xanthan Gum for an equal amount of Knox Gelatin. It is much safer and won't change your DNA.

Gina Kelley said...

SciResearcher - I no longer rely so heavily on xanthan gum in my baking. Since this recipe was published there have been some people, most notably Gluten-free Girl, who have complained of sensitivity to xanthan gum. Furthermore, I have found other binders to be more effective and to lend a better texture to the product. See some more of my bread recipes here:

I haven't tried gelatin in my bread recipes, but I have seen several recipes that do. The author of the Gluten-free Gourmet series of books used gelatin pretty regularly for making bread. I don't include it in my recipes because it is not vegetarian, and I cook for vegetarians often. I typically use psyllium husk instead.

Thanks for your comment and suggestions!

Sarah said...

I made the recipe as is and it came out amazing. Thanks for the great recipe.
I have not used it but I have seen several recipes use fruit pectin in place of xanthan gum, gelatin or guar gum.

Gina Kelley said...

Sarah - Thanks for the comment! I've played around with fruit pectin in bread recipes. I am not sure that it would have the binding power to substitute for xanthan gum by itself, but I've used it with flax and chia seeds with good results. If there's a recipe out there with pectin that you think I should check out, let me know!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried this recipe in a bread machine?

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for a teff bread recipe (without xantham gum)that can be baked in my bread machine.

Gina Kelley said...

I don't know how my bread mixes would do in a bread machine. The blog Gluten-free Portland dot Org is a good resource for bread machine mixes. You should check that out!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to post the cup conversion using the gram measurments on my Bob Red mill bags of flour.
1 1/4 cup teff flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons tapioca starch
6 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon potato starch
I hope this helps anyone that does not have a gram scale like me. I look forward to trying this bread. The only thing I have made with teff are some waffles and I loved them.

Karen said...

I just made this bread today and I love it! I didn't have potato starch so I substituted arrowroot starch/flour and it came out great. Thank you so much for this recipe!

Gina Kelley said...

Thanks for the comment Karen! I haven't ever used arrowroot starch. I'm glad to know that it substitutes well for the potato starch in this sandwich bread recipe. That's good to know! Thank you!