Flour of the Week: Teff!
While shopping in the bulk food area of Good Earth last Saturday, I noticed a sign, "FLOUR of the WEEK: TEFF!" Next to this announcement was a break-down of this grain's nutrition profile: Serving Size 1.1 oz., with approx. 15.2 servings/pound; 113 calories per serving, total fat 1 g or 2%, saturated fat 0g, cholesterol 0mg, sodium 5mg, total carbohydrate 22g or 7%, dietary fiber 4g or 16%, sugars 0g, protein 4g, calcium 5%, and iron 13%.
If you can get past all the scientific mumbo-jumbo to the bottom line, you'll see that this grain is one healthy powerhouse! I was impressed so I bought a few cups-worth and have been researching it the last few days.
This highly nutritious, pleasingly light, uniquely flavored whole grain flour is made from the smallest grain in the world. Compared to other grains, teff flour has a much larger percentage of bran and germ so it's a very good source of dietary fiber, protein and iron. And to top it off, it's gluten free! History-wise, it's been a nourishing staple of highland Ethiopians for centuries.
The only drawback I see to teff is the need to buy it as a pre-ground flour, due to its small size - it is almost impossible to grind in your home mill, so we need to get it from a whole foods store or whole grain supplier. This means then, that it should be stored either in the fridge or freezer. All I read said it stores well this way for up to six months.
As I researched this flour, there were two names that repeatedly kept coming up - Bob's Red Mill and nutsonline.com. I also found that the flour could be purchased online from Amazon.com, but their supplier is none other than Bob's Red Mill. Here are a couple customer reviews from the Amazon.com site regarding Bob's product:
"I buy this flour for our younger son who is on Gluten-free/Casein-free diet, but ALL family enjoy teff pancakes. I like Bob's Red Mill as my source for this flour - it's been the best of all I've tried." And then she shared her easy teff pancake recipe:
3 large eggs
2 Tbsp raw honey
4 C water
2 1/4 C teff flour
1/2 tsp baking soda + 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (you can add this mix at the end as a multi-purpose rising agent for any baking)
(Usually I use two 10" frying pans at once to make flat pancakes as fast as possible.)
The nutsonline.com folks had a lot of interesting information on the flour. Here I learned that teff is a relative of millet but has a more interesting taste. It is used to make "injera," an Ethiopian crepe-like bread. They recommend that if you are not used to teff or are experiencing some indigestion-like symptoms, you may need to mix all-purpose flour or pancake mix with it to dilute its effects. Then slowly increase your teff intake as your body gets used to it. This is typical of most whole grains, though.
Nutsonline.com had customer reviews as well. One customer reported: "It smelled a bit like hazlenuts when I opened the package. I bought this to use in a recipe for a tart crust. It substitutes for about half of the all-purpose flour. It was absolutely delicious! It acted more like a pastry flour in this recipe (but with a lot more calcium and iron- this grain is a nutrient powerhouse). The crust was unbelievably light and moist (almost like freshly made shortbread) and was much better tasting than the typical tart crust." Again, I was impressed.
Another customer said she loved the quality of the product and how the finely ground texture was especially nice for the injera bread that she makes. If interested, you might go to their site for Teff Flour, and check it out. They have one pound bags for $4.99.
Because it's time to go to newsletter press, I haven't had the chance to do any baking with it yet, but I will, and I'll report back. I'm excited to add this flour to my gluten-free baking repertoire, and it's easy to see why it's the flour of the week!