Teff flour has been one of my favorite substitutes for wheat flour for a while now. Teff milk was a new discovery today: I’m not sure that rice milk is the best thing to consume out of the lactose-free milks as it’s basically just sugar. It’s not bad, but it’s not rich, either. Teff milk has now been my favorite dairy-free milk for one day. A whole day. And now night.
It’s real here: baguette is something that surpasses stereotype. It surrounds the daily function of the Parisian, clings to the backs of those dedicated enough to leave an opening in their backpacks for the long strand of yeast-risen staple, breaks beneath the fingers of the eager who cannot make it home without finding the tip missing. Yup, baguette’s a thing. And today I wanted one real bad. That’s when I found teff flour for the first time in grocery stores here. Sha buy yah roll call
I think you’ve gotta be a bit of a geek to make it in this world. Tech-y stuff is all over, and what’s slightly paradoxical is that I’ve found the more I give up my old ways of traditional-is-better-because-it’s-more-human, unless I actually want to go Neanderthal, it’s hit me that these new advances in images and sound and things with computers and wires can actually make the human things we do more interesting.
I say this because you may notice that these pictures look slightly better than the past. That’s because technically they are. I’ve succumbed to, with the greatest pleasure, an actual camera. It’s manual, I control things like aperture and shutter speed, and photoshop is now something taking up space in my hard drive. In between washing off the teff flour and gluten-free yeast from my hands, I spent my first day with my new ally in the kitchen. And then ate some baguette so I’d have something pretty to share with you. Of course, that was the only impetus to construct a plate like this.
-gluten, nut, soy, dairy, egg, and corn free-
ingredients: 2 tbs (21 g) flax seeds, 3 tbs (41 g) hot water, 1/4 cup (50 g) + 1/3 cup (75 g) teff milk [can substitute water], 3/4 cup (90g) teff flour, 3/4 cup (100 g) brown rice flour, 2 tbs (16 g) arrowroot starch/flour, 8 g yeast, 1/4 tsp (a large pinch) sea salt, 2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
method: In small bowl, pour hot water over flax seeds. Let soak 20 minutes. Combine flax seed mixture with 1/4 cup teff milk (or alternative dairy-free milk or water) until puréed. Set aside.
Add flax seed mixture and half of the teff milk. Knead with hands. Add honey/agave nectar and remainder of milk and more if needed to get a moist dough that is not sticky. If too dry, add more milk or a bit water. If sticky, add a bit of rice flour. Knead for about 5 minutes, form into a ball, and let rise in bowl covered with wet towel.
Knead again for 5 minutes, separate into three balls for mini baguettes, two balls for demi baguettes, or keep whole for a large baguette. Roll into a cylinder, then taper out the edges. Place on a prepared baking sheet (silicon mat and a light oiling will do quite well) and flatten a bit in the middle, and then fold in both edges (see photo at beginning of post). You’ll make a bit of a smushed taco. Flip over (the smush is the bottom of the baguette) and make lines with a small knife on the top. Cover with a damp towel and let rise about 1 1/2-2 hours minimum.* Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Bake bread for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with a fine layer of oil and sprinkle with salt. Place back in oven turned the other way, for even cooking, and bake another 10 minutes. If the inside or bottom is not cooked through, reduce heat to 375 F (185 degrees C) and bake for another 5-10 minutes. This really varies upon the size of your baguette and your oven. Remove from heat, let cool to touch, and consume within a day for freshness. To keep longer, keep it in the freezer until use.
*If preparing the night before, keep covered in the refrigerator and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours the next day.