Friday, April 18, 2014

Sourdough Millet Breadsticks: Struggling with sourdough

Last winter I bought a book all about gluten free bread baking. I read the reviews (very positive) and made the corrections from the errata related to oven temperatures and times. I bought all the expensive specific ingredients. I nurtured the sourdough starter and tried the yeast breads. Basically 3 out of 10 recipes were pleasant to eat and none were worth posting here or serving to anyone else. Sigh. 

So I went back to inventing my own misadventures in gluten free vegan bread baking. Except for the fact that I felt terrible discarding the sourdough starter, even though it had failed me. It smells so good and has so much Teff in it... 

Today's experiment centered around using the weekly discard from that starter. I have to reduce it by half and add new Teff and water so it can continue to grow (if that's what it's doing). So I made bread sticks using the rest of the millet flour that didn't fit in the quart jar I use for fridge storage, some sorghum flour, a splash of Xanthan gum (because I bought it for all those  failed bread recipes) a couple teaspoons of yeast, a tablespoon of molasses, well... It came out nicely and was a fun accompaniment to the corn chowder I thawed out for lunch.  Here's the way it went. The sourdough starter must be made at least 4 days in advance.

Sourdough Millet Teff Breadsticks

Sourdough starter:
4 cups ground Teff flour
Red cabbage outer leaf 
2-3 apple peeling pieces 
4-5 cups room temp filtered water
Large mixing bowl

Mix together 2 cups water 2 cups flour and the cabbage leaf, torn into 2 pieces, and the apple peelings in a good sized bowl. Leave this out on the kitchen counter or other moderately warm place where you will see it. Cover it with cheesecloth or a dish towel (especially in summer to keep bugs out if it) and stir it gently every 4-6 hours. Add 1/2 cup Teff flour and 1/2 cup water every 12 hours for at least 2 days. 

After 48 hours you should be seeing bubbles and smell some fermentation. Take out 1 cup and add in 1/2 cup Teff and 1/2 cup water. Let stand another 6 -12 hours. If you are going to use some right away , you can take 1 cup out and feed the starter again. Give it at least 4 hours and then refrigerate it in a closed jar. Every week you need to take out a cup & feed it, setting it out to give it time to restart the growth. You can experiment with adding other flour like millet, sorghum etc.


1.5 cup starter
1/2. cup Teff flour
1 1/4 cup millet flour
2/3 cup sorghum flour
1 tsp Xantgan gum (binder to replace gluten)
2tsp yeast
1 Tblspn molasses
1/2 -2/3 cup water to moisten
Mix all these stirring gently until thoroughly moistened and combined.

1Tblspn garlic powder
5-8 kalamata olives cut off the pit in bits
1.2 tsp dried (or fresh!) rosemRy crushed or chopped
1/2 tsp sea sat

Stir in all the above and let sit covered with a cloth for 40-50 minutes.

Sprinkle a surface with 1/4 c millet flour.
Take a fistful of dough and dredge just enough so you can roll it out on a non stick Silicone baking sheet on a large cookie sheet. They can be 5-7 inches long and best is a little wider than an inch. Makes about 8 sticks. After you've used up all the dough, sprinkle kosher salt and ground pepper in another handful of millet flour in the flat surface. Gently pick up each stick and dab and roll it in the salt/pepper replacing it on the baking sheet with the peppery side up. Make 3 quick diagonal cuts in the surface of each stick.

Bake for 30-40 minutes at 375F checking for doneness afyer 30 minutes. 

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