I recently realized that I had not baked a sourdough bread this year. It’s May, and that’s how busy I’ve been. Because baking bread is one of my favorite things to do, I knew I had to remedy this situation, and fast. Opportunity presented itself in the form of the Bread Baking Babes (BBBs) and Mary’s pick this month: Ethiopian Injera.
For those of you who may not know, the BBBs are a group of bread baking aficionados the world over, who get together once a month, and basically bake the heck out of a recipe until they get it “right.” They then share their results and wisdom with everyone else, and issue a general invitation to others to bake the bread and blog about it. I was lucky this month because they extended the deadline so that folks could find teff flour, the prime ingredient in Ethiopian injera, a flavorful flatbread.
I told myself that this was a Sign, and that I would put pedal to the metal and make this. So I ordered some teff and got started. After a day, I wondered why my starter wasn’t bubbling. I then realized that I had purchased four POUNDS of TEFF GRAIN, not flour. Needless to say, I’m going to be eating a lot of teff porridge in the near future. Sigh.
I zoomed around and found a bag of teff flour at my local emporium of many overpriced items, aka Whole Foods. After that, I didn’t have any problems thanks to Mary’s excellent instructions. I had planned on making an Ethiopian meal (I’ve never had Ethiopian food), but time got away from me. So, I decided to make the injera and improvise. As an aside, I looked down and was met by the steady gaze of Daisy, who appeared to like the smell of what I was cooking.
A few minutes later, Gus joined her. Yes, I gave them wee bits of injera.
Boy, am I glad I made this. I tasted the first little bread after it had cooled, and I loved the flavor. Tart from the sourdough, but with an earthy taste, as well – it was delicious. Rather absent-mindedly, I drizzled some extra virgin olive oil on it as I continued to make the breads, and I experienced a flavor explosion in my mouth – the injera actually made the olive oil taste fruitier and richer. Since I hadn’t made any curry, Ethiopian or otherwise, Master Chow fished out some left over coq au vin from the fridge and threw together a meal, and informed me it was pretty good with the injera. In the intereste of research, I gave it a taste. ZOUNDS! The injera made the coq au vin taste better. What was it about this little African bread that enhanced the flavors of Mediterranean and French foods? Two culinary worlds collided in my kitchen, and the results were fabulous. I will now add teff to my growing collection of flours, just in case the urge strikes to make this again. Injera will make a repeat appearance in my kitchen!
This takes five days. If you want to have some starter left over to keep to make injera again, wait seven days.
3/4 cup water, room temp. (70 degrees)
1/2 cup teff flour
A pinch active yeast (about 1/8 tsp)
Day 1: Combine ingredients in a 4 cup container with a lid. Loosely cover the starter with the lid and let ferment for two days on the counter or someplace that is about 70 degrees. You should see some rising in about four hours.
Let alone for 2 days.
Day 3: Stir starter, you should notice a grassy yeasty smell and small bubbles should rise to the top.
Feed the starter 1/3 cup teff flour and 1/2 cup water and loosely cover with the lid. Let alone for 2 days.
Day 5: Starter should have separated into distinct layers.
Feed with 1/3 cup teff flour and 1/2 cup water. Loosely cover and allow to sit alone for at least 4 hours before using to make Injera. You should have about 2 cups of starter by now.
Note: If you go to Day 7, follow Day 3 instructions for Day 5. You will have left over starter to make Injera again in the future this way.
You will need a blender or food processor for this step. This is to get rid of the gritty feel of the teff flour in the starter. I used both my food processor (pulse with the mixing blade) and my blender. My blender did a better job on getting the grit gone in the starter but I didn’t have a failure using the food processor.
2 cups Teff starter
2 cups Self Rising Flour
Room Temp Water (70 degrees F), as needed to make batter right consistancy
Stir the starter to combine in all the liquid and any “starter sludge” at the bottom. Rub a bit between three fingers. It will be very gritty. Place the Teff starter, one cup at at time in a blender or food processor and whiz starter until it doesn’t feel gritty when you rub it between your fingers. Place whizzed starter in a large bowl and repeat with the other cup of starter.
Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a lid and set in a warm, draft free place to rise for about 4 – 6 hours.
You will need a 8″ pan and two large plates: one to cool the cooked Injera and the other to place the cooled Injera on. You will also need wax paper to place between each piece of cooled Injera.
Stir dough mixture. If it is too thick, add more water until the right consistency. You should have about 4 cups of batterHeat on stove on medium heat, a 8″ pan. Non-stick works best but if you don’t have non-stick, have some peanut or neutral tasting oil in a small bowl and basting brush to brush oil on the hot pan when you cook the Injera.
Using between 1/8 – 1/4 (I used 1/4 cup) cup of batter, pour into heated pan and swirl around as if making a crepe. Allow Injera to cook until entire top of bread is full of pockmarks.
Do not turn over. Remove when batter is fixed and all the bubbles have popped.
Using your fingers remove Injera from pan, set aside on a plate and allow to cool.
Place cooled Injera on other plate and place a piece of wax paper between each Injera or they will stick to each other.
Repeat until all the batter is gone. You should get about 20 Injera from the batch. This is enough for 4 Injera to go on the serving platter and under the curries/stews and to serve 4 people during the meal.
Self Rising Flour Recipe
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
Whisk ingredients together. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.