Ragi or finger millet is my new favourite grain. I love everything about it - its dense texture, malted sweetish taste and the incredible colour of caramelised cocoa it takes on when cooked.
The last time I had baked ragi into bread, I had ended up with a satisfying but slightly glutinous crumb. Today's experiment which used commercial yeast and regular flour, turned out drier and lighter, but had more uniform air pockets :(
Oh well, I guess you can't have it all.
Here's what I did.
Ragi flour 130 g (The logic behind this odd number? That's how much ragi I had left over in my jar)
Flour 270 g (Again an odd number, but wanted to make up 400 g, which makes the perfect sized loaf for my home)
Yeast 4 g
Salt 6 g (normally would have used 8 g, but thought I'd try less to help develop the sweet notes of ragi)
Sugar 8 g
Tepid water 300 ml (75%)
I dissolved the sugar in the water and sprinkled the yeast on top. When frothy (in about 10 minutes), stirred in the flours and set aside, covered, for about half an hour.
In went the salt and kneading followed. Unlike regular dough, this one seemed very manageable at the start, and then went through a meltdown phase where everything stuck to everything else. Hard work paid off though, and I did end up with a beautiful elastic ball of dough.
Nap time for 1.5 hours (it was a hot day), at the end of which the dough had doubled in volume.
Gently shaped the dough into a loaf and placed it seam side up, into a cloth lined basket.
In an hour, it was ready to slash and bake.
Baked the loaf at 250ºC for the first 10 minutes, with a lot of spraying and steam.
Reduced temperature to 170ºC and gave it another 25 minutes in the oven.
Then came the hardest part. Controlling the urge to tear off pieces and eat them before the loaf cooled. :)))
Loved the texture and the way the maltiness (if there's such a word) of ragi came through.
Must try this with more ragi and less yeast next time. Also wondering if a bit of cocoa would complement the taste...