I imagine that most folks diminish their pantries before they move; the flours, sugars, spices dwindle in preparation for the new place. In our case, our pantry seems to have grown sometime between when we left California and landed in Boulder. It must have, because I have literally no idea how it is that we fit all the goodies I pulled from our packing boxes last week into that tiny kitchen we had in Oakland. In this way, and for this little baker, it feels a bit like Christmas in March because while I do actually remember packing the boxes (somewhat frantically,) and labeling them carefully, I don’t recall at all what was inside. But, as I get to know, and get to work in our kitchen now, I seem to have an abundance of exotic spice blends, special honeys, olive oils from far away places, and little bags of interesting + delicious flours. I needed to make/bake something to take with me on a ride this past Sunday morning and our pantry here will explode if I don’t start using some of these ingredients for good. For whatever reason I zeroed in on a little bag of nutty, light, whole grain teff flour as a good place to start.Naturally gluten-free, whole grain teff is an ancient cereal grass from Ethiopia super-packed with dietary fiber, protein, iron, amino acids, vitamin c and calcium making it a nice addition to baked goods where you want to boost the nutrition factor a bit. (You can substitute teff for about 1/4 of the flour called for in your favorite recipes.) Sneaking whole, multi grains into our diet on the regular is one of my little secret missions, and I love it when that thing tucked into my jersey pocket is something I crave, in an I-can’t-wait-to-eat-more-of-this-when-I-get-home kinda way, and in that way this bread hit the spot. I ported a slice with me as I climbed, descended and soaked up the first real spring sunshine of the year on two wheels, and then ate another slice with eggs + crunchy kale salad when I got home. This morning, I had slices slathered with almond butter. Mission accomplished. So, on this bread. I spent the morning baking, photographing, taking notes and playing with this recipe and I’m quite pleased with the results. If not because its a great, healthy little treat to eat on a ride or an adventure, (or to serve next to a plate of after dinner cheese – seriously!) then because it was a perfect recipe to work with as I start to outline a good schedule of preparing/shooting/sharing recipes with you all in the new kitchen. I really started to feel the momentum of the workflow this morning; a momentum that feels as if its a long time coming.
A few notes on this lovely little date bread: if you don’t have teff flour in your pantry, you could choose another whole grain flour as well. Sprouted spelt, or even whole wheat flour would be solid choices, but teff really is delicious and nutty and just perfect here. Most of the sweetness + sugar here come from the date purée. That said, since the dates need to soak before you use them, you could choose to soak the dates in water overnight if you plan to bake the bread in the morning. Also, add in anything that strikes you; I bet that toasted walnuts would stand in well for the pecans, and that little morsels of dried fruit would be great here. I had some crispy leftover flaked coconut so I tossed in a couple of handfuls.
If you do choose to pack this treat, I suggest not just sticking it in a plastic bag (as I did,) and instead wrapping it in tartine or waxed parchment paper so its easier to peel, eat, and stuff back into your pocket. It will stand up a bit better for sure. Lastly, the bread will be freshest if its eaten within three days, and will keep for that duration if wrapped tightly. However, if you were to slice and freeze bits I’d bet they’d be very good within a month. I can’t wait to hear what you think of this one, and hear if it goes on any spring adventures with you riders/runners out there. Summer is on the way! -xo L