5 Tips for Baking with Teff

Injera © John Kernick
By Stella Parks Posted April 24, 2014

If you’re a fan of Ethiopian cuisine, you’ve had teff in the form of injera—the thin and spongy pancakes served with each meal. But teff’s malty, cocoa-like flavor makes it amazing for sweets as well.

If you’re a fan of Ethiopian cuisine, you’ve had teff in the form of injera—the thin and spongy pancakes served with each meal. It’s a savory association that makes a leap to chocolate chip cookies seem counterintuitive, but that’s my favorite way to take advantage of teff. Its flavor has hints of malt and cocoa, making it a natural fit for any recipe involving cocoa, chocolate, brown butter or brown sugar. Here are 5 tips for using teff.

1. Teff flour enhances the earthy flavor of chocolate cookies, cakes and brownies. Reduce the flour (whether all-purpose flour or a gluten-free blend) in such recipes by 10 to 20 percent and substitute an equal weight of teff. It’s a little denser than other flours, so weight is by far the more reliable way to convert recipes.

2. As a whole grain, teff has a slightly gritty texture, something like an ultra-fine cornmeal. Take advantage of that by using teff in the same applications where you’d otherwise use cornmeal (sprinkled under English muffins or pizza dough). Alternatively, hide its texture in chunky recipes loaded with oats, pecans, chocolate chips and toffee.

3. Thanks to their similar color and texture, teff and buckwheat flours work well together. Try replacing up to half of the buckwheat flour in waffles, pancakes, crêpes or pasta with an equal weight of teff.

4. Teff is high in fiber, calcium and iron, so it’s also a great way to enrich your diet.

5. After opening the package, refrigerate teff in an airtight container to protect its natural oils from rancidity.

Stella Parks is a Food & Wine 2012 Best New Pastry Chef. Her first cookbook, with editor Maria Guarnaschelli, is due from W. W. Norton in 2015.

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