BREAD, BAKING SOME AND EATING IT!

‘I am probably not alone in loving the smell of bread baking.

Then, there is the delight of this beautiful creation lounging around on a cooling tray just waiting to be served up with butter and other foodie delights.

Bread is a staple in its various forms all over the world. Sometimes it is soft and doughy and white but then it can appear as a flatbread or a blackbread. It can be made using all wheat flour or mixed with rye, spelt, kamut…endless are the variations it seems, to me anyway.

Last Sunday was a lovely sunny October, warm and gorgeous and very similar to my Saturday when I walked and looked around at autumn easing its way into our lives.

Gardening was on the agenda but I decided that I would like some bread to feed on part way through the day.

The recipe that follows was an experimental mix that I had not used before due to having never found Teff flour.

TEFF originates in Ethiopia and Eritrea where it has been a part of the diet for thousands of years. It grows well regardless of climate and so, will grow even during drought and when there has been much rain. It can be found growing as high as 3,000metres above sea.

Many years ago when we lived in Meru, Kenya we knew a lovely family who had walked their way out of Eritrea and eventually found safety and a job on the slopes of Mount Kenya. They shared several meals with us and we learnt about injera, which is a spongy sourdough made from fermenting teff flour. We had it with a spicey, hot chicken dish and it was one of those beautiful, memorable meals. To finish we were served coffee, the ritual ending. You get three cups, the first being thick and strong, the following ones being progressively thinner!

Teff is such a tiny grain that it cannot be processed and so, it means it is always eaten in the whole form, complete with bran and germ. It is gluten-free and a great source of calcium and, unusual for a grain, vitamin C.

For more information visit the Whole Grains Council website.

The loaf that I created consisted of spelt flour, rye and teff. The result of this mix of grains was open-textured and kind of spongy…I am struggling here to come up with a description, so maybe it’s best if I tell you what I did and then leave it with you to give it a whirl!  

One last bit of the puzzle is to say that when I left it for the first ‘prove’ it was really rather wet and sticky. And, then when I kneaded it I used olive oil on my surface…not flour. I saw it being done this way by some wonderful guys in Norway on The Hairy Bikers Cooker Show and thought it may work to lighten what could be a rather heavy dough. The result was delicious and the oil gave it a longer life…although I’m not sure that’s actually true. We ate it probably rather quickly.

BREAD OF MIXED ORIGINS!

350gms (12oz) spelt flour
50gms (2oz) rye flour
50gms (2oz) teff flour
1tspn Sea/Himalayan Salt
1tblsp dried yeast
1tspn honey
300ml (10fl oz) warm water

METHOD

1. Stir dried yeast and honey into a small amount of the warm water and set aside to begin ‘working’.
2. Sift together all the flours and salt.
3. Depending on how warm it is, once the yeast mix has a good frothy head to it, add it to the remainder of the water.
4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the yeast mixture and then draw it all together using your hands.
5. This is the fun part, so really mix and knead well to develop the elasticity of the dough…it’s very claggy, which is a great word I learnt from my mother…sticky and messy!!
6. Cover the bowl and leave to rise until doubled in size, and again this depends on the warmth of the room but I do find spelt-based doughs rise or ‘prove’ rather quickly.
7. Using flour or, as I did olive oil tip the dough out onto your surface and really knead well.
8. I made two small and one large cob out of the quantity given above. Or simply form into a loaf and pop in a greased loaf tin.
9. Set aside and leave to rise one final time then pop into a preheated oven 180/350 gas mark 4 and bake for about 20-30 minutes, all depending on your final loaf size.
10. Cool and serve or be tempted to eat warm….enjoy.

We had this with homemade kefir cheese which I’ll pop on the blog next time.

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