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Teff Flour Guide

Royd Carlson |
05. 22. 2024

Maskal Teff, Teff – The Naturally Gluten-Free Grain – The Teff Company  has been producing Teff flour for almost 40 years, so we have a lot of experience producing the flour, and working with it in different culinary contexts. Teff flour is a great gluten free alternative flour, and is also a great way to add nutrition and flavor to recipes even if they are not gluten free. It is an important staple food in Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it is fermented and made into a flat bread called injera.  

What is Teff

Teff is a grass crop native to Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is high in nutrition and is also free of common allergens. The flour is used in Ethiopian traditional cuisine, though the flour is gaining popularity around the world due to it’s many benefits. It is also a common forage crop and is commonly grown in the US and around the world for hay. Teff is a very versatile flour and works well in many common baked goods, particularly those that are a bit denser like pancakes, waffles, and brownies. Teff can be used in place of other common flours, but it has its own characteristics and accommodations need to be made rather than 1:1 replacements.

Is Teff Gluten Free?

Teff is naturally gluten free and a good choice for those with celiac disease or other gluten allergies or intolerances. As with other gluten-free foods, it is important to select teff that has been processed in a gluten-free facility. When enjoying Ethiopian food, it is also important to be careful as the injera bread can be baked

Is Teff Flour Healthy?

Teff is becoming better known as a ‘superfood’ due to its nutrient profile. For starters, because the teff seed is so small, there is more of the nutritious parts of the seed relative to the starchy parts. Additionally, it is typically milled in a way that produces a whole grain flour. A whole grain flour contains all the parts of the seed, including the bran which contains most of the nutrients. Other types of flours either don’t have many nutrients to begin with, or those nutrients are deliberately removed as part of the milling process, to make a finer, starchier flour. Whole grains have many benefits including the reduction of risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer. There is a good explainer page at Harvard University, here: Whole Grains – The Nutrition Source (harvard.edu)

Teff is best known for its content of protein, iron, calcium and fiber. It’s protein content is around 10%. A serving of teff has a lot of iron, in 47 g serving there is 22% of the required iron. Teff is a great option to help regulate blood sugar. Teff both fiber and resistant starch, both of which help to regulate blood sugar. Fiber also benefits the function of the digestive system.

What does Teff Flour Taste like?

Teff has a very pleasant taste. Unlike many ancient grains, it does not have any bitter or off tastes. Additionally, being a whole grain, it tastes very wholesome. It is mildly sweet, but unlike refined wheat flour or many gluten free flours, it is not starchy and does not immediately break down into sugars. The ivory flour has a mild sweet, almost grassy or milky flavor. The brown teff is nuttier, eathier, and almost has a hint of chocolate.

What is the difference between brown and ivory teff flour?

Teff actually has many different varieties that range in color from very light to brown or red and to quite dark. Nutritionally, the varieties are quite similar. The taste is also similar though there are some subtle differences. The ivory teff is a little sweeter and the brown is has a mild nutty earthy taste.

How to bake with Teff Flour

Teff is a great flour for baking, either alone in some recipes, or as part of blend of other flours. It pairs very well with chocolate and makes a great brownie. It also works very well with for other, denser baked good such as waffles and pancakes. Teff can have a slightly gritty or grainy texture which can add an interesting texture to recipes. This texture can be reduced by allowing batters to soak a little bit longer. The texture is probably from starch granules that need some time to be infiltrated by water.

Teff has a lot of fiber, and can soak up a lot of water. Often recipes require more moisture than would be expected with other flours, in order to fully saturate the fiber and get the expected moisture level.

Because teff is gluten free, it will not hang together like a typical wheat flour. Because of this, recipes can be a little more crumbly and friable, and can benefit from a binder such as egg, flax, or xanthan gum.

For recipes like bread made with gluten free flour, teff will not work for a 1:1 replacement. See here for an AP flour blend Teff AP Flour Blend – The Teff Company Recipe.

In recipes that are not gluten free, teff can be used to add some additional flavor, texture, or nutrition.

How to store Teff Flour

Store teff flour in a cool, dry environment, in an air-tight container. Many seeds and grains such as wheat have natural oils, which is the reason that they can go rancid as the oils oxidize. Teff does not contain much natural oil, and thus preserves quite well. In good conditions the flour can last a year. It is still recommended to use the flour soon after milling if possible. It is also important to keep it away from pests such as beetles or moths.

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