Teff flour is a gluten-free flour substitute that you can use in any of your recipes calling for all-purpose flour. Its nutty flavor adds a pleasant sweetness to any recipe.
What is Teff Flour?
Teff flour is made from a small grain grown primarily in Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it is an important food source. The flour is used to make injera bread, a staple of this area's regional cuisine. It has an ancient history, with archaeological evidence suggesting that it was used in Egypt during the time of the pharaohs. Idaho and South Dakota are the primary producers in the United States today.
The teff plant is an annual hardy grass tolerant of a variety of soil conditions, making it a low risk agricultural crop. It is well-adapted to the arid conditions where it is traditionally grown. Its grains are very small, prompting the theory that its name is from the Amharic word meaning "lost". In fact, it is the smallest grain in the world.
In addition to its food value, teff is grown as forage for livestock. The grass is even used in adobe building construction.
Teff flour is available at many health food stores and some grocery stores. Since it is such a fine grain, the cost for this flour will be more than all-purpose varieties. As with all flours, store it in a cool, dry space for best shelf life. The flavor will vary slightly with the color. Ivory-colored flours have more of a chestnut-type taste, while darker varieties have an earthier flavor.
Using This Ancient Flour
Teff flour is a welcome addition to your pantry, especially for those with family members who suffer from celiac disease. This flour is naturally gluten free. Because of its small size, it is a nutrition-dense food, adding extra nutritional value when used.
For recipes calling for all-purpose flour, substitute one-quarter teff flour for added sweetness and nutrition. A quarter cup of teff contains about 113 calories, supplying 16 percent of the daily recommended amount for dietary fiber. It is also a good source of iron and vitamin B. Like flour or cornstarch, it can be used as a thickener for soups and stews.
Recipes with Teff
Breads are the obvious choice for ways to use teff flour. It works well in recipes calling for dense flours like whole wheat, or use it as a substitute in your favorite Irish soda bread recipe. You can also make your own injera bread. This bread is cooked in a skillet, not unlike a crepe. It is used like a utensil to sop up tasty sauces or your favorite beef stew recipe.Because of its density, you will want to experiment with using teff flour in your baked goods recipes. Follow substitution recommendations and adjust accordingly for your recipe.
Healthy Alternative for Gluten Products
For those diagnosed with celiac disease, teff represents a healthy alternative. Celiac disease is about gluten and the human body's intolerance for it, which the National Institutes of Health estimates affects one percent of the U.S. population. Individuals with this disease cannot tolerate foods with gluten found in products containing wheat, rye, or barley.
Because of its widespread use in so many products, celiac disease patients have to check the ingredients on every product they buy for gluten. Using gluten-free products such as teff allows those with celiac disease to still enjoy foods such as breads and cakes, helping them cope with the psychological aspects of this disease.
This versatile flour will add new taste and flavor to all your recipes without the addition of gluten. Your children can enjoy a sandwich at school lunch with gluten-free bread that looks and tastes great. Its healthy complex carbohydrates can give you and your family the energy boost you need.