Teff Pitta Breads

These pittas are rich and dark. Teff gives the crumb a sourdough density and tang, and lends the crust a chew. Pecan meal lends it a shortness and opens up the texture to produce a bread that is rich, satisfying and great with both cheese and pickle or creamy butter and honey. Brazilnut meal is also fantastic here, producing a creamier taste - if you're not too keen on pecans. If you can't eat nuts - I guess you'd want to try my sweet potato pittas instead.

I was eating the last of this batch yesterday for an afternoon snack, toasted and split, smeared with butter and honey. As I leant over my book with half a pitta in my other hand, Fin swooped in like a baby seagull and snatched it clean away. Chomp, chomp, chomp and my snack was gone. 'Mmm mmm! That was good! Can you make me one?' said Fin innocently. I went to the 'how do I feel?' chart and chose; 'frustrated'. Opened the fridge and scrubbed a carrot....

Teff Pitta Breads (Gluten Free - makes 7-8)

I used fast action yeast for these as it's what I had - it's the kind you use in bread machines. If you have another kind then just use the equivalent and take the water needed to froth it from the allowance given in the recipe. Fresh yeast can just be crumbled in to the mix.

If you keep your flours in the freezer or fridge and want to follow option two, warm them up before starting or leave for a couple of hours at room temp.

Dry ingredients
4 oz white teff flour
4 oz pecan meal (or ground almonds or pecans)
1 oz millet flour (or brown rice flour)
1 oz tapioca starch (or arrowroot or cornflour)
2 oz sorghum flour (or millet or brown rice flour)
1 tsp fast action yeast or 10g (walnut sized lump) of fresh yeast
1 tsp sea salt
25g crushed/ground flax seeds

Wet ingredients
1 tsp lime or lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil, melted coconut oil or melted butter
2 tbs date syrup (or 1-2 tsp molasses) - optional
160ml (2/3 cup) warm water
1 large free range egg

You can start this recipe 12-24 hours before you plan to make the breads by following option one below. This extra time allows the anti nutrients and enzyme inhibitors naturally present in grains and nuts to be partially removed from the mixture and gives a better rise and fluffier bread!

Option one (24 hours before) Put all the flours, nut meal, flax seeds, lime or lemon juice, salt and warm water in a large mixing bowl and put in a warmish place for 12-24 hours.

When you are ready to bake, add all the other ingredients and skip to stage 2.
Option two (instant, but less digestible bread) Sift all the dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl.

Beat all the wet ingredients together and beat into the dry ones until smooth If using fresh yeast, just crumble in. It will be unmanageably sticky at this point - fear not!

Stage 2: Leave to rest in a warm place for an hour to let the yeast develop. After an hour, beat well with a wooden spoon - hard work! - to release the gasses from the yeast.

Stage 3: Oil a few trays ready for the pittas and flour your work surface with one of the flours above. Scoop off peices of dough about the size of a small satsuma, roll into a ball on the floured surface and roll into a flat oval using a floured rolling pin, or flatten between your palms into an oval and then pat into shape on the tray.

Put these onto the trays, not touching - but they don't rise much so you don't need to leave lots of space. Leave them to rise for at least an hour in a warm place - covered if you have drafts. When the surface looks like it has bubbles underneath it and they appear to have puffed up slightly, put a shallow tray of water in the bottom of the oven and turn to 200C.

Stage 4: When the oven reaches temperature, sprinkle the pittas and trays with warm water and bake straight way for 8-10 minutes, until puffed and starting to take a golden brown colour at the edges.

Cool on a rack and freeze any you don't eat that day. They are great toasted straight from the freezer, with some butter - just shut the door to keep out seagulls.