Friday, March 1, 2013

No-knead Whole Grain Bread and Teff

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but I'm not amused or flattered. My adrenals have crashed once more and I'm spending part of my days flat out in bed. My computer, the dirty little beggar, decided to do like-wise and crashed. Luckily I was able to upload these photos on to a post before it did so. Now I'm on hubbies but his does not have my folder after folder of photos and saved favorites on different subjects. Glug! I've done all I can to try and fix it so when I'm done canning chicken today then I'll head out for the eighty mile drive to drop off my computer and pray it gets fixed soon, real soon.
Meanwhile I'll take the opportunity to pick up some propane for the grill since yes, it died too while I was trying to cook the chicken before bottling and pressure canning.  Some days are just tougher than others. The oven works though and since the house was pretty cold this morning I used it to cook the chicken on cookie sheets and the side effect was a warmer house. Make do isn't all bad.
But you probably didn't want to hear all those woes but instead want to know what are all those dark spots in the bread I've concocted.
It is good for you stuff. I'm on my bread kick and ground up some spelt, pulled out some Teff, some dark flax seed, and sunflower seeds. Yes, the teff has been sitting in my food storage room for a year and true to form, I'm just getting around to experimenting with it so I can decide when I've done my research if I want to try and grow it, try to buy some in bulk, or feed what I have to the chickens.  Love the guilt free feeling of throwing things out to the chickens.
A couple days ago I took a no-knead recipe and fudged. Don't I always? That is why I love the science of baking because you know I'm not going to follow a recipe. I recently learned that to go from a white flour artisan-no knead recipe to using whole grains in the same recipe requires doubling the yeast. Yup, my favorite white flour artisan bread calls for 1/4 a teaspoon yeast and this one with a cup more flour calls for 1/2 teaspoon so that is pretty close. This recipe did call for half the flour to be white. Hmm... wonder what will happen when I go totally whole grain? Then again I may be off to try another recipe before I get back to this one again.
The rise action was big time so a little less speed of lift from yeast would work fine. and I conclude at least with half white flour and half whole grains that the doubled yeast is more than enough even with a cool house like ours.
Knowing that any time during the day I might end up having to lay down, I decided to mix up the flours, seeds, yeast, etc. and add the water right before bed. That way it was sure to get done - pretty sure at least but no sweat at this stage it could sit for a few days.
Not sure if I added the four cups of four the recipe asked for as I might of been mentally haywire with my Thyroid swollen and mad. I'm thinking it might of been only three cups of flour because the dough wasn't sticky it was REALLY sticky and lacked enough cohesiveness to be more than a sponge.
As you can see it was rising big time. Usually I do my bread and such in ceramic or glass containers but once in while when I know my counter tops will be really busy, I do things in plastic with tight lids. I knew this would be one of those days and this might just get bumped as I had a few things planned to do and I knew dishes might pile up before I got to them being up and down, up and down with feeling not too bad and really bad.
First I proably should confess that the recipe called for not only white flour but wheat, which I chose spelt, and honey or mollases which I added both and didn't measure the sweets. I did use flax seeds but I didn't use sesame seeds choosing Teff instead and I didn't use rye flour at all. So like I said it was a loose interpretation of the recipe. 
 The dough set overnight and was very active the next morning but I added a good cup or to make a raggy sticky dough but one that had some form That is why I question if I had all the four I should have at the beginning. It turned out anyway and that is all one can hope for even if they follow the recipe.
The bread is mild flavored despite all the seeds and ingredients. I like it. When I have done some more experimenting, I'll give you a recipe.  I might actually do some carefulll measuring - No, I won't. I shouldn't even hint that I will because you know I won't but I will tell all.  
The Teff, well, I couldn't find any distinct taste in the bread just a mild crunch. I boiled some Teff up as porridge and it was mild also, just tasted like grain. 
A little background, Teff comes from Ethiopia. It is now grown in many areas of the worlds even in Idaho. Hmm... potatoes and Teff, NO! brain don't go there. What I can assure you is that Teff doesn't have tannin in it as I did not pick up any bitter flavor. Teff is non gluten so that is a plus for some. It can be ground or eaten whole and it comes in colors from ivory to a dark brown and even a hint of purple in some. The lighter colors being milder but I suspect less nutrious. Darker colored things usually are.
Price ? I can't remember as it was a year ago that we bought this package from a grocery store marketed by Bob Mill. But though the Internet says a handful  of Teff will seed an acre and it takes a 100 pounds of wheat to seed an acre, I still haven't yet learned what the difference in yield is?  Which is a better use of the land? Hm.....? You would have to wager between nutrition, yield, and versitility if they both grew well in your area.
Since most of Teff consists of the germ, or outside, it makes Teff a highly nutritious grain.  It takes about 100 grains of this seed to equal one grain of wheat. That makes me lean heavily toward Teff as a more nutrious choice over wheat.  Teff can be used to make sourdough as wild yeast is present on the outside just like wheat. Bonus!!
Teff grows from sea level to 3000 meters but maximum yields are at 1800 to 2100 meters high. Our elevation is around 5000 ft and
1524 meters equals 5000 feet  so it is a definite possibility to grow here in that sense. It is also touted to be very hardy and grows in boggy to drought stricken areas from the high and mountainous Idaho to the low and wet Netherlands. But does it like clay? And what is the growing season length? Hm....?
"Maximum teff production occurs at altitudes of 1,800 to 2,100 m, growing season
rainfall of 450 to 550 mm, and a temperature range of 10 to 27 °C."
 So 10 C equals 50 F. and 27 C equals the 70's F.. And 450 mm minimum rainfall means at least 17 inches. We have on average 12 inches in a whole year. Not so drought resistant a grain as I thought but then we would be watering it so looking at temperatures would that mean growing it in the shade for the 80 some degree days and above?  
"Teff is day
length sensitive and flowers best with 12 hours of daylight."
But 12 hours for how long?  This would definitely be an out there experience with a questionable return but hey,  Kirk and I are already out there. After all, we have yaks. LOL
Any Teff enthusiasts out there to shed some light on this subject?


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