A Flour By Any Other Name Could Still Be As Sweet

A First Look At Timtana

A couple of weeks ago, I entered and won a contest over at Kitchen Therapy that netted me a free bag of a new gluten free product called timtana.  Timtana is a milled all purpose flour ground from timothy grass, which is completely gluten free but full of lots of good for you nutrients like fibre, protein, calcium and iron (you can read more about it over at Kitchen Therapy if you’d like).  A company called Montana Gluten Free graciously provided the bags of flour for the Kitchen Therapy giveaway.

As I’ve previously mentioned, my mother in law is allergic to wheat, so I often keep an eye out for new developments in gluten free products, and have a whole drawer in my freezer devoted to the various alternative flours that I use when baking for her.  Over the years I’ve found that while gluten free baking is not easy, once you know what you’re doing improvisation is possible.

A 3 pound bag of timtana flour arrived at my door a little over a week ago, and has been sitting on my counter waiting for inspiration to reach out and strike ever since.

While an original idea has yet to take shape, in the interim I decided to use Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio app and the basic bread dough formula for a first pass.

The proportions are simple and include 3 parts water to 5 parts flour, plus a little bit of salt and yeast thrown in for good measure.  Because timtana is gluten free, I also opted to toss in a bit of xanthan gum (the gluten free baker’s friend) for some extra leavening power.

A Foreboding Dough

Once the ingredients were combined in my stand mixer, I found the dough impossibly dry so I poured a drizzle of buttermilk in to moisten.  After everything had been incorporated, I left the dough to rise for several hours on a sunny counter.

Punching the dough down before shaping it into a loaf, it became clear that even with the xanthan gum this timtana bread was not going to be airy.  This isn’t meant to blame the Ratio app per se, but rather to reinforce that the proportions are clearly only meant to be used with ordinary wheat flours.  Still, not ready to admit defeat, I shaped the dough into a rustic boule, pressed it onto my baking stone and walked away for 40 minutes.

A Loaf Of Ratio Bread

When the loaf emerged from the oven it was a rich, bronzed colour with tufts of crunchy bits poking up on top.  While definitely not the most attractive loaf I’ve ever made, it did waft its enticingly nutty aroma throughout the kitchen.  A small nibble confirmed that timtana flour is laden with nut-like undertones, but also a subtle hint of grassiness.  Unfortunately, due to the lack of proper leavening the loaf was dense and heavy as a stone.

As a standalone flour, I wouldn’t necessarily say that I was blown away by timtana, but I foresee it having many delicious applications.  I tend to prefer my bread to be light and airy, so baking a loaf with only this flour is not something I’d probably repeat again, but I think that it has a lot of potential in a gluten free blend, perhaps with oat flour.  I also think it would be ideally suited to quick breads and muffins, and will be substituting some in the next time I make either.

For the meantime I’d say I am rather undecided, though.  Have any of you had success with timtana, or recipes to share?  If so, I’d love to hear all about it.

Until next time…

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2 Responses to “A Flour By Any Other Name Could Still Be As Sweet”

  1. [...] we know about flour – they're not all equal when it comes to baking, and "Ruhlman's Rules" don't always apply. What we don't know – anything about Timtana, flour made from timothy grass… cool. [Foodie and [...]

  2. [...] from my timtana experiment last week, I haven’t really done a whole lot of bread baking yet this year.  I’ve been [...]

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