Ethiopian Injera

By DK on Feb 01, 2010
How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
For last few months I am in pursuit of happyness (guess I am watching too many movies) this Ethiopian delicacy called Injera. HOW MANY BOOKS have I researched, how many online resources have I waded through, is too brobdingnagian to elaborate here! Most of the resources contradicted each other. Many were more adept at giving shortcuts for a better taste than the real one. I mean no one would make such a dish classic  if it tasted THAT bad right!? Or would they? That's where so many questions arose. More than 6-7 sources claimed that Injera was made purely only with Teff flour. Made sense. So I eliminated many of my notes which carried recipes made with "self rising flour","wheat flour","rye flour??!","all purpose flour" etc.
How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
Few other resources assured me that the highlight was the lengthy yeasty starter which made the spongy bread. Thus I eliminated few other notes which carried words "Baking powder" and "baking soda"! And now comes the problem! I did not have any recipe to work with! Either the starter had "other flours" in it or the starter was Teff but it had other flours in the main recipe!!! (May be they were talking about other Injera! I wudnt know!) It was confusing indeed! I even tried searching for someone from Ethiopia, without success! My husband actually even started doubting if he married a sane wife! Who gets fanatic about a silly flatbread and that too from somewhere called Ethiopia which in his mind is synonymous with Masai Mara? (Husbands - Go figure!) I am not even going to elaborate how much he probably freaked out when I made a stinker in the kitchen (not me - the starter did it!) ;)
How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
I finally zeroed on to two sites - The Bread Chick and Apple Pie, Patis and Pate (Thank YOU!!!!) whose recipes  made sense and looked totally logical from what I had read. According to the former link - I had to prepare a stinker Starter which was a 5 day long process! But I was determined. Once the starter is done, the rest of the process is a cinch! Yes, you can finally remove that cloth from your nose ;) And the bread - it was everything I was promised - Soft and Spongy! Only such a treatment could have made Teff flour taste this good
References

recipe courtesy for the starter from bread chick and the making of the bread from apple pie, patis and pate

Basic Information
Prep Time: 2+ days
Cook Time: Under 15 min
Serves: 2 people
Yield: Makes 2 cups Starter and the batter (uses only 1/4 cup of starter) makes about 4-6 injera. Using all the starter will make around 30 Injera
Ingredients
  • For the starter - Takes five days. If you want to have some starter left over 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)
  • For the Injera
  • 1/4 cup teff starter
  • 1-3/4 cups water, at room temperature
  • 1-3/4 cups teff flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Tips
* although Apple pie, Patis and Pate mentions using wheat/white flour starter if making Injera for the first time, I went ahead with teff and I am not dissapointed.
Method
1

Lets start with the starter first! (Duh!) I followed Bread chick's instruction to the tee

Day 1:

Combine ingredients for the starter in a bowl.

How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
2
Loosely cover the starter with the lid/cloth and 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.
How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
3

Day 3:

Stir the starter. This is when the stinker effect starts. The starter has a very yeasty and grassy smell. You will also notice that small bubbles on the surface now.

How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
4

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. You would think that something has gone wrong with it - what with watery layer on top and dense muddy flour at the bottom! But that's exactly what we are looking for :) Stir starter, it should be slightly fizzy and have a very strong grassy aroma. 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.

( I just realized that I have forgotten to take a picture of my day 5 starter! Guess that stink got to me! )

Now lets go to the Injera recipe (verbatim from this link) Uses only 1/4 cup of the starter. If you want to use all the 2 cups of the starter increase the flour, salt and water accordingly

Mix. Place the starter in a bowl. Pour the water over the starter and stir to dissolve.

How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
5
Add the teff flour and mix until the batter is smooth. It will have the consistency of thin pancake batter.
How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
6
Ferment. Cover and let stand for 5 to 6 hours at room temperature. Reserve 1/4 cup of the starter for the next batch.
How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
7
Add the salt and stir to dissolve.
How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
8
Heat a 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium heat (you’ll also need a tight-fitting lid). Using a paper towel, wipe the skillet with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Pour about 1/2 cup (for a 10-inch skillet) or 3/4 cup (for a 12-inch skillet) of batter in the center of the skillet.
How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
9
Tilt and swirl the skillet immediately to coat evenly.
How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
10
Let the bread cook for about 1 minute, just until holes start to form on the surface.
How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
11
Cover the skillet with the lid to steam the injera.
How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
12
Cook for about 3 minutes, just until the edges pull away from the sides and the top is set.
How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
13
The first 1-2 Injera's might be a slight disaster - Don't worry. The rest of them will be pillows! See 1 and 2 of mine down here? Sad :(
How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
But from the next ones it will be amazing.Promise. You don't have to turn the Injera. Just cook it on one side. It does not get the spongy texture immediately. But let it rest for 3-5 minutes and it suddenly gets that amazing texture. There is no muddy, bitter taste of Teff either. Serve it with any spicy dish. Spicy dish goes very well this. I served it with some hot tomato stew. Great for scooping the side dish!! How to make Ethiopian Injera Bread - Gluten Free Recipe
6 members have made this recipe!
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Please click below to share your experiences while you were making this recipe. Thanks for your input!
166 Responses to “Ethiopian Injera”
  1. Andrew

    The starter is an active culture of yeast that should live indefinitely as long as you do not allow it to get contaminated and keep it hydrated and properly fed. You can slow down the metabolism of the culture by keeping it cool and refrigerating it.
    To be honest I don’t think the yeast is necessary to start this or any other sour dough culture. You can start a sour dough with just flour and water. Ubiquitous lactobacteria will do the rest although it might take an extra few days. The cool thing is that the sour bread will have a character reflecting the native strains of lactic bacteria where you live. It won’t necessarily be authentic to Ethiopia but it will be authentic to you and where you live which is just as good in my opinion.

  2. Jaqueline Yamey

    At last I have perfect injera! Seems the problem was with the pan I was using – it wasn’t heavy enough. I’m now using a thick bottomed pan. It makes all the difference! :wink:

  3. Robin

    :wink: How do I store the starter?

  4. Jaqueline Yamey

    I also had them mostly sticking. I baked some mixture on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, on the lowest rack of the oven , at a high temperature. This works well but doesn’t have the same delicious crispiness. I have now managed to make some successfully in a stainless steel frying pan but am still learning…lots of broken ones!

  5. The Bulk Barn has teff flour

  6. Luisa

    I haven’t tried yet, but this is exactly the type of preparation I was looking for. My partner is Ethiopian but never learnt how to cook it himself. Seems similar to what I have seen there in Ethiopia. Should have learnt when I had the chance! Thanks for the recipe. I’ll write again as soon as I try :-)

  7. Jaqueline Yamey

    I’m in the prices of making these….excited! Do you perhaps know how long the 7 day starter can be kept?

  8. Theta

    :lol: I like your way – I thought I gave up on making it a few months ago, but you inspired me to try again. Oh, by the way, I have Ethiopian friends and watching them make ingera, roasting coffee beans, etc. is just amazing. They have one of the real ingera grills (not sure what the real name is), but when I’m there, it’s like being in a different country – and I love it! Thank you. Theta — PS I’ll let you know how it turns out!!!

  9. Selam

    I’m from Ethiopia, just moved from there. I can honestly say your recipe is great but it will never be the same as the one I used to eat back home. I guess it’s the traditional frying object called a “mitad” which you can’t find here. That’s the only problem but thank you for your recipe !

    Its amazing that you compare my attempt with the very best out there. I take it as a compliment :) –DK

  10. Shaari :)

    Thank you so much… High protein, lower glycemic index than rice, naan, roti, gluten , soy, dairy free, fermented
    It’s honestly what the western diet needs.
    :)

  11. Wylie

    I just went through and read a bunch of old comments and that answered my question. Thanks!!!!

  12. Wylie

    Thank you soooo much for this info! Ethiopian is my favorite food but I can afford to go out and eat it every night. I have a question. I’m on day 5. I had some water on top but everything wasn’t fully separated and it looked as if there could be some type of moldy formations. Not hairs but dots and some flat crystal type formations. I went ahead and mixed it to test test the smell, wow, and I fed it. ! I don’t know how to describe the smell but grassy and yeasty didn’t seem to quite describe what I am smelling. Does this all sound normal or might I have a issue? Thank you thank you thank you sooo much! Getting a 12″ square cast iron griddle tomorrow to cook it on.

  13. Bishir

    So excited about trying this!! Thank you for sharing it. I’m Ethiopian and always buy injera from my Eritrean/Ethiopian store. They say it’s teff, but I’m sure it’s a mix. Being gluten sensitive, I can ‘feel’ that it’s a mix.

    Wish I could ask my mom to teach me, but she’s in heaven now. Wish I’d paid attention all those years she tried to teach me… but that’s just how teenagers are. Who wants ingera when you can have burgers :lol:

    Can’t wait to try this. Thank you!!

  14. Yes, there is a huge benefit to the fermentation. All grains, beans & nuts have an outer coating that’s hard to digest. The fermentation process breaks it down. It’s an enzyme called phytase. Without the fermentation process you eat the grain,s but then the phytase binds with minerals in your body (phytic acid), and takes them out of the body as waste. So the fermentation process actually makes the food more digestible and the nutrients available to you. See http://www.WestonAPrice.org for more. Thanks for the non-wheat bread recipe. I cannot tolerate wheat here. So thanks!

  15. sheila

    :-P A friend of mine from Ethiopia used a electric skillet to fry her injera , It was so delicious with the spicy dish’s

  16. John

    I am also wandering how to feed the starter? Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Lizzy

    I heard that if you make it with mineral water (with bubbels) that you only have to wait for 8 hours and then it is ready to go!!!

  18. Cheryl NY

    Mike – teff flour is available online at Bob’s Red Mill.

  19. I’m impressed by the injera recipe. I made it and it is very good. It has exactly the taste I remember, when made by an Ethiopian. Thank you.

  20. I make a pizza sauce with avocado, tomatillo, garlic, cilantro or basil with olive oil. You can buy Teff online also, that’s how I found it and purchased it.

  21. Sandra

    You can use Ragi flour it’s the same as Teff, just a different name and that’s available online.

  22. daizyjune

    pizza dough, what a great idea! What toppings do you put on it to compliment the sour taste?

  23. I used mine as pizza dough.

  24. Susan

    Good morning, how do I take care of the starter injera (after using up the 1/4 cup)? Is it best to leave at room temperature (how long is it ok to do this?) or put it in the fridge? How long will the start injera last, and does it need to be fed the flour again? Thank you, Susan.

  25. Mike O'Hara

    I lived in Ethiopia as a child have great memory of the place I have been unable to find the Teff Flour can you help!! Mike

  26. Marika

    Delicious! Thank you for the recipe! One problem I had was that every single injira stuck to the pan, so I had to scrape it. Despite it, they turned out fine, just a lot of work. I have stainless steal pan. Any experience with that?

  27. Texas Firefly

    Just back from Ethiopia and delighted to find the recipe for the injera that I saw cooking and ate there. Thinking it is a lot like the crepes I make and wondered why it is fermented? Is there some nutritional benefit to the process? I will try your recipe as soon as I find the teff flour.

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