Rusks; sorghum, masa harina, pressure cooked

I’m doing a test of sorghum flour and masa harina. I’m curious to see if the rusks from this come out hard as wood or not. My theory is that the wooden crackers are from the gluten (in the rye, barley, etc.).

I’m also tweaking the spices, increasing the cumin and I added some dried California chili powder.

1/2 cup masa harina
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1 cup wheat bran
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
3 tablespoons instant potato
2 1/4 teaspoons crushed cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed ajwain
2 teaspoons dried California chili powder
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup (approximately) water

I ground the cumin and ajwain in a mortar and added some of the powdered milk while grinding them, which looks like a good idea because the powdered milk picks up the essential oils and turns brown.

The water quantity is an approximation. I add the water slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time. When the dough starts sticking together in clumps I let it mix longer before I add each additional tablespoon. Towards the end the dough will clump together and stick to the mixer’s paddle. In the beginning the mixer is on low; once the dough starts clumping together I put the spatter shield on the bowl and turn up the mixer’s speed. At this point, after each tablespoon of water it needs to mix for a minute or more before I add another tablespoon. Suddenly it will start sticking to the inside of the bowl instead of clumping together, becoming a very stiff batter. At this point I don’t add any more water since I’ll be cooking it in the pressure cooker in a steamy environment. Then I put it in a greased plastic bowl with a snap on lid, but before putting its lid on it I press some plastic food wrap down onto the dough. Even with plastic on it the top darkens. I let it rest for at least an hour before I transfer it to the loaf pan and cook it.

The dough is resting.

The reason I let the dough rest is that I read that whole grain flours don’t absorb fluids as quickly as white wheat flour does. And that the bran needs extra time to soak up its fluids. Additionally, there is enzyme activity going on that adds complexity to the flavor of the bread, but that probably requires a longer rest (for example, a day).

After its rest I put it in the little loaf pan, covered it with aluminum foil, and cooked it at high pressure for 35 minutes, then let the pressure go down naturally.

I set up my pressure cooker by putting the pressure cooker’s trivet in it then I put the folding steaming basket on top of it (with its center handle removed). I wanted the loaf pan up away from the water and I wanted to put in several cups of water.

Later, sliced and drying: I sliced it on the 3 setting, and hoping that won’t be too thick.

Later, several hours after drying: The flavor is quite nice. These are the ones that I had tasted before they were fully dried and the cumin flavor was definitely there and nice. Their flavor reminded me of tamales. But now that they’re fully dry the cumin flavor has largely receded to the background. I need to do another batch and dry them at 105 instead of 160.

The texture is a bit too tough. Not so tough as to relegate them to dog treats but they are tougher than I’d like. I’m thinking that replacing the 1/2 cup of sorghum flour with 1/4 cup sorghum and 1/4 cup rice bran might be the trick.


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