Injera is a fermented teff sourdough flatbread traditionally made in Ethiopia. Teff is mineral and protein rich, an ancient grain that’s naturally gluten free. Fermentation further increases the nutrition of teff. Injera makes a healthy alternative to wheat flour crepes.
I have been wanting to make proper injera forever, for my love of traditional and cultural dishes and fermentation that improves nutritional values of grains.
Injera Recipe Variations
Like any other traditional dish, there are many ways to make injera. My friend Creag and I tested out a version that we are both happy with, which is the one I have included below. I have to give credit to Creag though for doing majority of the research to comb through various recipes.
From the recipes we have seen, most use a combination of teff and other grains, such as wheat and sorghum. This is understandable as teff is expensive, thus there is an economical reason to add an alternative grain. Many injera recipes use a sourdough starter to kick start the process. I felt the use of a sourdough starter is cheating a bit; I would rather put out a recipe for my readers that’s not dependent on the availability of an existing starter culture when not necessary. Besides, I appreciate the simplicity of the injera making process using just water and teff.
The image below illustrates what the teff and water mixture looks like after fermentation has started. The bubbling of the mixture is evident and there is a layer of foam formed on the water surface.
Creag used a slightly different method than I did when we made injera. He took an additional step of making an absit, by cooking part of the fermented batter then adding it back to the mixture for a secondary fermentation. He decided to try the absit method after reading this article from African Journal of Food Science .
When Creag and I made injera, we learned that perfecting the flatbread requires experience in addition to a good recipe. Thus, we recorded our trials and errors in a video. I hope you find it helpful!
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Purpose of Baking Soda in the Recipe
The use of baking soda is not necessary in traditional injera recipes. If you like a really tangy taste for injera, feel free to leave the baking soda out. I use baking soda to neutralize the acidity in the batter after fermentation, and I really love the result of this recipe with some baking soda added right before cooking.
Injera for Gluten-Free Diet
Teff is mineral and protein rich, an ancient grain that’s naturally gluten free. Since I have kept this recipe simple without adding other grains, this injera flatbread is perfectly suitable for those on a gluten-free diet. After fermentation, the injera is extremely easy on the stomach. I have really enjoyed them in great amount.
Related: Gluten-free Bread Recipes You Will Love
- 5 Ingredient Gluten Free Zucchini Crepe
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Injera (Fermented Ethiopian Teff Flatbread)
- Put 2 cups of teff flour in a glass or ceramic bowl. Add 3 and half cups of filtered water at room temperature into the same bowl. Stir to combine well. Cover the bowl with a breathable cloth to keep dust away.
- Leave the bowl on the countertop at room temperature to ferment for 2 days, undisturbed. The mixture should be bubbling up in the meanwhile.
- On the 3rd day, after a minimum of 48 hours of fermentation, the teff should have sunk to the bottom of the bowl, while a layer of liquid is seperated on top. Some foam may be formed on the top layer of the liquid. Do not stir the mixture but carefully pour off all the foam and liquid, about 1 and 3/4 cup. Only teff is left in the bowl.
- Add 1/2 cup of fresh filtered water back into the bowl. Stir to combine with the existing teff to make a thin batter, of the consistency to make crepes. Stir in salt and baking soda.
- Generously grease a pre-heated cast iron skillet. Pour enough batter to cover the bottom of the skillet to form a flatbread of roughly 6mm thickness. Cover the skillet with a lid, cook the flatbread on medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes until the top of the flatbread is dry. Transfer the flatbread onto a plate. Repeat until all the batter is used up.
- Leftover injera flatbread can be stored in the freezer for weeks, or in the fridge for 3 days if tightly covered to prevent the loss of moisture.
- Alternatively, you can store unused batter in a sealed container in the fridge for 1 to 2 days, to stop further fermentation. It's best to store uncooked batter, if you would use them up within a day or 2, and enjoy freshly cooked injera that's always better than leftover ones.