Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Teff Biscuits

Thinking of making the Ethiopian Soup I posted yesterday? Then you also need to make these teff biscuits. The recipe is adapted/veganized from Rienhart's Artisan Breads Everyday--the best biscuit recipe around, I think. You really do need a pastry scraper for this recipe, so if you try it without one, don't say I didn't warn you! The method is similar to making croissants or other laminated doughs. The alternating hydrophilic and hydrophobic helps the biscuits rise and contributes to their flaky texture. These biscuits are a little more dense because of the teff flour, but are still remarkably tender.

- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 8 oz coconut milk, or plain soy milk
- 1/2 Earth Balance margarine (1 stick of the baking margarine)
- 2.5 oz bread flour
- 2.5 oz all purpose flour
- 3.5 oz teff flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
1. Whisk vinegar into the coconut or soy milk in a small bowl. Keep in the fridge.
2. Put the margarine in the freezer for 30 mins to get nice and cold. Meanwhile, mix all the rest of the ingredient together.
3. When margarine is cold, grate it into the flour mixture, then work it with your fingers into something that looks like very coarse bread crumbs. Don't make the mixture too fine--some chunks of margarine is what you want.
4. Add coconut or soy milk mixture and stir until just combined. The mixture will be very wet (teff has no gluten) and starting to rise from the action of the soda and vinegar.
5. Turn the mixture out on to a very well floured surface. Dust liberally with flour, then pat the dough into a rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick, and square off the sides with the pastry scraper. The exact size does not really matter. The key here is that it needs to be big enough to fold into thirds, like a letter. Using the pastry scraper, fold the dough like a letter (it will most likely fall apart, on the first turn, so be patient). Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat, dusting with flour as needed. Rotate and repeat. Rotate and repeat. By this time enough flour will have been incorporated into the dough to make it more firm and workable.
6. Pat dough out into a final rectangle, 1/2 inch thick, then cut with the pastry scraper into whatever size biscuits you want (I like smaller ones for the kids, so I get about 20). Place on prepared baking sheet and put in the fridge while the oven heats.
7. Heat oven to 500 degrees. When heated, put baking sheet in, reduce heat to 450, and bake for 8 mins. Rotate the pan and bake for another 6 mins (more if you made huge biscuits). Serve while still warm.