I first learned of the existence of teff from a delicious quiche recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, 101 Cookbooks. The quiche itself was light, fluffy, and flavorful, but what interested me most about it was the teff crust. I had no idea what teff was and was most certainly not going to compromise on the integrity of the recipe by making a normal crust. Actually, I constantly mess with the ingredients of recipes I try out. In this case, I really just wanted to try teff, whatever it was.
Turns out, teff is a teeny, tiny grain. Really, really tiny. The size of a millimeter of 0.5 mm mechanical pencil lead kind of tiny. Supposedly you can cook it to make a pudding-like dish, but that sounds gross to me. More importantly, you can grind it into a deep brown, gluten-free flour. Yay!
Like many recipes for which I do not have the ingredients the moment I discover them, the quiche and its crust stayed constantly in the back of my mind for quite a few weeks before I happened upon teff in the grocery store. It was sequestered off by itself in some illogical corner of the store, if I remember correctly. The organization of grocery store aisles defies comprehension sometimes.
I ground some teff flour in our Vitamix and made the quiche; its crust was a bit hard and strange right out of the oven, but it improved greatly after sitting in the fridge overnight.
Of course I needed another use for my leftover teff, so I made some gluten free-biscuits with both teff and millet flour. Since I do not maintain a supply of xanthan gum or arrowroot powder, coagulating agents normally used in gluten-free baking, I went without. The resulting biscuits, the recipe for which I present to you below, were nutty, soft and somewhat fluffy, and very crumbly. Younger-but-taller brother Isaac really liked them. So did I.
I have decided that it is far more fun to think of gluten-free biscuits as a different type of biscuits rather than biscuits with something missing from them. In fact, I like that policy for most any food. Vegan raspberry truffle brownies, for example, are not brownies that someone messed up by removing the eggs and milk. Nope. They are the best fudgy brownies I have ever had in my life. And tandoori grilled tofu is not a sad substitute for chicken. Tofu is a neutral medium for conveying tasty spice combinations. I like to taste chicken when I eat chicken, anyway, not Indian spices. I save those for tofu. Sounds a lot like post-modern American tolerance, doesn’t it? Well, maybe it is. But, I just think it is more fun and allows for the sampling of a wider variety of new ingredients. Plus, since there are no moral absolutes when it comes to food, tolerance is entirely practical and permissible. Except when it comes to olives. Those are just wrong.
Teff and Millet Biscuits [gluten free]
- 1 + 2/3 cup teff flour
- 1 cup millet flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 + 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Combine all the ingredients in a medium size bowl. The dough will be rather wet and sticky. Drop the dough by 1/4 cup scoopfuls on a baking stone or lightly greased baking sheet. There should be 9 or 10 biscuits. Bake at 350ºF for 25 minutes. Eat them, covered in butter and honey, as soon as possible.
Submitted to the Gluten Free Fridays link roundup.