Injera – Ethiopian Flatbread

by on April 24, 2012 » Add the first comment.
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Actual Injera is made with teff, which is a flour common to Ethiopia.  Read more about why teff is so amazing at the bottom of this page.  This is Grandpa’s American adaptation of injera, the bread used as a utensil in Ethiopian dining.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 C spelt – Ideally use teff, next try half whole wheat and half AP flour
    DO THIS FIRST THING IN THE MORNING
  • 1-1/2 cup water
  • a pinch of yeast
  • two pinches of sugar
  • a GLASS mixing bowl
    DO THIS IN THE LATE AFTERNOON OR EVENING
  • 1 tsp peanut oil – optional canola oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • a VERY nonstick pan

STEP BY STEP

  1. Put the flour in the bottom of a mixing bowl with sugar and dry yeast
  2. Mix or sift together
  3. Slowly add the water, stirring to avoid lumps.
  4. Put the batter aside for 4-10 hours to ferment.
    You will see your injera batter will start to bubble and acquire the slight tanginess for which it’s known.
  5. Fold in the salt and the oil.
  6. Heat a nonstick pan or lightly oiled cast-iron skillet until a water drop dances on the surface – about 350º
    Make sure the surface of the pan is smooth, otherwise, your injera might fall apart when you try to remove it.
  7. Coat the pan with a thin layer of batter. Injera should be thicker than a crêpe, but not as thick as a traditional pancake. It will rise slightly when it heats.
    Cooking Injera
  8. Cook until holes appear on the surface of the bread. DO NOT FLIP.
  9. Once the surface is dry, remove the bread from the pan and let it cool.
  10. Traditionally, fold twice with the cooked surface on the outside
  11. Serve as the “utensil” for duro wat or any other kind of Ethiopian Main Dish.

MORE ABOUT TEFF

  1. Injera is made with teff, a tiny, round grain that flourishes in the highlands of Ethiopia.
  2. While teff is very nutritious, it contains practically no gluten. This makes teff ill-suited for making raised bread, however injera still takes advantage of the special properties of yeast. A short period of fermentation gives it an airy, bubbly texture, and also a slightly sour taste.
  3. Teff is extremely high in fiber, iron, and calcium.
  4. Teff is the smallest grain in the world. It takes about 150 teff seeds to equal the weight of a kernel of wheat!
  5. Many Ethiopians in America use square-shaped, electric, nonstick pans. These heat evenly and make it easy to remove the injera once it is cooked.
  6. Injera is not only a kind of bread—it’s also an eating utensil.
  7. In Ethiopia and Eritrea, this spongy, sour flatbread is used to scoop up meat and vegetable stews.
  8. Injera frequently lines the tray on which the stews are served, soaking up their juices as the meal progresses. When this edible tablecloth is eaten, the meal is officially over.
  9. Ethiopian and Eritrean immigrants have modified their recipes after moving to the United States or Europe, depending on what grains are available to them.
  10. The injera you find in many East African restaurants in the United States includes both teff and wheat flours. Most injera made in Ethiopia and Eritrea, on the other hand, is made solely with teff.
  11. Tip:  Depending on where you live, teff flour can be difficult to come by. Try a well-stocked health food store.
  12. If you have teff grain instead of flour, first grind it in a clean coffee grinder, or with a mortar and pestle.
  13. If you’ve ever cooked pancakes, making injera might seem familiar. In both cases, tiny bubbles form on top as the batter cooks. Keeping an eye on these bubbles is a great way to see how close the pancake or injera is to being ready without peeking underneath.
  14. These bubbles come from the carbon-dioxide produced by the leavener—usually baking powder or soda in the case of pancakes, “wild” yeast in the case of injera. Neither batter contains much gluten.
  15. Because of the gluten, most pancake recipes tell you not to mix the batter too much: If you do, gluten will develop, making them too chewy. Teff, the grain used to make injera, contains very little gluten to begin with. In both cases, the result is the same: With no gummy substance to “blow up,” most of the carbon-dioxide from the leaveners rapidly escapes into the air, leaving the little popped bubbles that contribute to the distinctive textures of these breads.

Find more like this: Condiments and Sauces, World Cuisine

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