Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gluten-free pumpernickel, almost there

This is my fourth attempt at gluten-free pumpernickel; its still not quite right. The last time the flavor was spot on, but it was too moist. This time, its a little bit dry. The inevitable Goldie Locks solution cannot be far away.

The first time I saw teff flour, I was pretty insistent that it looked like rye. My first go at fauxpernickel, I learned the major difference between the two - teff is partially fermented. My first loaf smelled like gym socks while dough and tasted quite sour when baked. Try #2 was a bit better. I cut the amount of teff down, to less than half the total flour content, which decreased the sourness, but also made it taste more like a generic loaf of multigrain bread, than pumpernickel. Try #3 was greatly improved by the addition of golden raisins and more teff, but the middle was "soggy-ish" and required toasting for it hold up to even a smidgen of butter to be run across its beautiful crumb.

Try #3 - too wet
2 1/2 cups preferment
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cup teff
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp psyllim hush
2 tbsp flax seed meal
1 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp water - to loosen the batter

(The wed dough looked like chocolate pudding, but is the consistency of soft frosting.)
The best thing I learned from Try #3, was the addition of psyllium husks to the batter, in addition to the flax seed meal.  (Psyllium husks are the same ingredient in Metamucil, and if you have ever left a glass of that on your counter, you know their power to turn water into slimy sludge. Sounds gross, but totally helpful in binding together gluten-free flours.)

I also discovered that allowing the pre-ferment to go for more than 2 days, allowed time for the yeast flavors to develop beyond gym-sock-sour.

Here you can see the baked loaf. About half teff flour, plus a mix of millet, rice, potato starch, tapioca starch and arrowroot starch. It is dotted with golden raisins and sunflower seeds. The crumb is pretty even. The taste is on-point. The only problem - the texture. There is no push/give when one bites into it; it sort of crumbles. I think I might go back to adding an egg, or some oil (both I omitted in this batch). Other suggestions?

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