Teff Flour

Linda Johnson Larsen
You Can Make Gluten-Free Breads with Teff Flour

Teff flour is a gluten-free wheat flour substitute used in gluten-free recipes. It has a slightly sweet, nutty, malt-like flavor. It is a whole grain product. The tiny grains of teff are ground to produce the flour.

What Is Teff Flour?

Teff flour is made from an East African cereal grass, so it is a seed. It is the smallest grain in the world, about the size of a poppy seed. Teff flour has been used in Ethiopian baking for years and is often made into a flatbread staple called injera.

  • Teff flour is a good source of dietary fiber and protein, albeit an incomplete protein.
  • The grain has a higher percentage of germ and bran than other grains, so it is higher in fiber.
  • It has the highest calcium content of all whole grains.
  • Teff is gluten-free, although if it is grown in fields near wheat or not milled in a dedicated gluten-free facility, it can contain trace amounts of gluten. Make sure the teff flour you buy has been certified gluten-free.
  • The teff plant is a member of the genus Eragrostis. It grows during droughts and when fields are wet, so it is a dependable staple in many African countries. One handful of teff seed will produce an entire field of the plant.
  • Teff is also grown as food for livestock, and the grass part of the plant can be used to construct adobe buildings.
  • You can find teff flour in several colors. The grain can vary in color from dark brown to light ivory. The darker teff flours may have a stronger flavor.

Nutritional Value

Teff contains many important nutrients, including folate (vitamin B9), thiamine (vitamin B1), and minerals. A 100 gram serving of teff has 5 percent of the daily value (DV) of calcium, 11 percent of copper, 143 percent of manganese, 12 percent of phosphorus, 12 percent of thiamine, and 5 percent of vitamin B3 (niacin). It also contains 18 mcg of folate, 8 percent daily value of protein, and 15 grams of fiber. Per 100 grams, it has about 100 calories, 20 grams of carbohydrates, and less than 1 gram of fat.

Using This Ancient Flour

Store teff in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. You can use it to make yeast breads, pancakes, scones, quick breads, and muffins, as well as flat bread. You can also use it as a substitute for wheat flour in combination with other flours.

As a Replacement for Wheat Flour

To use teff flour as a substitute for wheat flour, combine it with equal amounts of amaranth flour, brown rice flour, quinoa flour, sweet brown rice flour, and sorghum. Then add starches, such as cornstarch, tapioca flour, or arrowroot. The proportion of non-wheat flours to starches in a gluten-free blend should be about 70 percent to 30 percent.

For instance, if you wanted to make a cup of gluten-free flour mix, combine 3 tablespoons amaranth flour, 3 tablespoons quinoa flour, 3 tablespoons sorghum, and 3 tablespoons teff flour with 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons arrowroot. Mix until the blend is all one color.

Adding It to Recipes

If you just want to add teff flour to your baking recipes, substitute 1/4 cup teff flour for wheat flour in every cup. If you use all teff flour in place of all the wheat flour, the bread will be chewy and dense and will not rise as much as wheat flour breads. Small amounts of teff flour will add a sweet and nutty taste to your baked goods.

You can add teff flour to recipes for chocolate cakes and brownies. Per one cup of wheat flour, use about 2 tablespoons teff flour in place of an equal amount of wheat flour.

Recipes With Teff

You can use teff flour to make many foods.

  • Use it in flatbreads, muffins, pancakes, quick breads, and yeast breads
  • Use teff grains in place of bread crumbs when you make meatballs (substitute as a 1:1 ratio).
  • Add as a thickener for stews and soups (simmer it in the liquid until it thickens).
  • Add it to a pie crust.

Teff flour makes any baked good denser, so follow recipes exactly. You can experiment with the amounts, adding more or less according to your taste.

Injera

Injera Bread

To make traditional injera, use the following recipe. Cook it like you would a pancake and serve injera with soups and stews.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup teff flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • Oil

Instructions

  1. Heat a nonstick skillet on medium-high.
  2. Brush with oil.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the teff flour, water, and yeast. Scoop in 1/4 cupsful onto the hot skillet.
  4. Cook until bubbles form, about three minutes. Flip and cook until set, three to four minutes more.

Where to Buy

Purchase it through many online outlets. It is also available at many co-ops and health food stores and in some large grocery stores.

  • Bob's Red Mill offers a 24-ounce bag of teff flour for about $7.50.
  • Whole Foods carries teff flour.
  • Nuts.com sells teff flour in 1 pound bags for about $5.
  • The Teff Company, based in Idaho, sells teff grains and flours.

Healthy Wheat Flour Alternative for Celiacs

People with celiac disease must avoid gluten and all gluten-containing products. Teff flour is a nutritious alternative to wheat flours. So add teff flour to your pantry if you can't eat gluten. This delicious grain and flour packs a nutritional punch in addition to its gluten-free characteristic.

Teff Flour