2 day easy process Makes a little more than a quart of injera About 12-14 flat breads using ⅓ cup batter each
Special Equipment crepe spreader/ crepe pan These are nice to have but you can use a cast iron griddle and the back of a big spoon.
Day Before Ingredients 1 cup teff flour ½ cup barley flakes ⅔ cup sorghum flour ⅓ cup potato starch 2 tablespoons flaxseed measured and then ground ½ cup firm levain (sourdough starter) 2 cups filtered water
Next Day Ingredients 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup water Extra water and ¼ teaspoon increments of baking soda if you make injera in more than one session.
Method using a food processor can be done by hand of course
In The Evening In the food processor: Grind barley flakes into a fine meal Add other flours and ground flaxseed Spin until combined Crumble ½ cup firm levain into FP with flours Spin for 1 minute Pour into a mixing bowl Add water and stir Cover and set in at room temperature until fermented about 12 hours.
Next Day The batter should taste pleasantly sour and look puffed Add salt and baking soda to a ½ cup water and mix into batter The batter should be the consistency of thick cream/ You can always add more water a little at a time as needed until right pourability is attained.
Cooking Heat cast iron crepe pan on low for 10 minutes Move up to medium heat Set oven to warm and a dish to hold injeras Every time you cook an injera you will lightly butter the griddle I use Nit’r Qibe Ethiopian Spiced butter Measure out ⅓ cup of batter Pour the batter into the center of the buttered crepe pan Holding the crepe spreader upright turn in a circle spreading the injera thinner with each turn. You can also make batter thinner and turn the pan itself.
Cover the crepe pan with a large lid and set timer for 1 minute. After one minute the injera will have lots of bubbly holes, and be spongy on top Put it in the oven, no need to turn it over. Repeat for next bread You only need to make as many as you will eat in a meal because the batter will keep refrigerated for 3-4 days. If you use more batter later, and like lots of bubbly holes, add ¼ teaspoon baking soda in water to the batter and stir. After the batter has sat a while, it might need a little more water to retain the thick cream consistency.
Traditionally injera is much larger than I make them, but I prefer this size, it’s a good portion and easier to handle.
The bottom of the injera is smooth, while the top is porous. The bubbly openness of the top is suburb for catching the sauce of whatever is scooped up. I like to tear off a small piece of injera and use it to pick up stewie foods, beans or eggs and vegetables. They also make a nice treat spread with raw honey and rolled up.
The way flour tortillas now hold more than beans, Injera is filled with possibilities.
Mystery, that’s why I keep him...
A decade ago it turned out that my new, ‘eat pizza with a fork and knife’ and ‘no stars please’ at the Thai restaurant husband, loved Ethiopian food. He loved both its spice and eating with his fingers !? Mystery, that’s why I keep him around. I’d never eaten Ethiopian food, but after my first restaurant experience, I was hooked and determined to cook it at home, but injera befuddled me. I wish, I would have had me, and this recipe around then because I failed and failed-- but each time came a little closer. Finally, I buckled down and chained myself to the kitchen until I’d mastered it, and could confidently teach others. I watched videos, read recipes, went back and talked with restaurant cooks...and at each turn I began to understand injera better. It seems simple and straightforward now, we make delicious injera all the time. I’ve let go of it having to be fermented without a starter, or poured in a circle. I can’t tell you how long I practiced that one. My injera works just dandy with a crepe spreader, and a slightly thicker batter. It’s also ok for it to be smaller. The most important part is delicious, and the ability to make it often.
Injera holds up well to being filled, has a delicious texture and flavor. It's a whole food, easily digestible and if made without the barley, an easy homemade gluten free food for people who need it.
Why this version of injera?
Here's what I was after and my reasoning:
A whole grain version without wheat.
Extra nutrition and structural strength by using ground flaxseed. I liked that flaxseed grows in Ethiopia, and is used in recipes, although not that I know of for injera.
Using potato starch for structure and its moistness.
I like to pair sorghum with potato, because sorghum is a dry tasting flour and potato starch wet, and together they balance well.
Using flaked barley because sorghum, barley and teff are all traditional to injera and flake barley is easier to buy than flour or to grind my own.
Using a gluten free firm levain for quicker (overnight) and reliable fermentation of the batter.
It’s well know that adding baking soda to the batter, right before cooking creates plenty of bubbles for the top of the injera, and putting a lid on and steaming without flipping helps the spongy texture. The baking soda works best added in ¼ teaspoon increments to leftover batter with additional water. You can also measure out only the batter you will use and add ¼ teaspoon baking soda to it dissolved in water.
⅓ cup of batter spreads out to a nice portion size and is easier to handle, for me, than the traditional large bread.
To create a recipe that would allow injera to become a common household bread.
I think it deserves this place because of its excellent flavor, eating versatility, outstanding nutrition, digestibility, and ease of making and keeping.
Injera belongs to a linage of world flat breads that include dosas, lahouh (thank you Dena !) and crepes. Injera is traditionally made with 100% teff flour, but teff is expensive. There are regional variations that use mixes of flours including teff, wheat, corn, barley, millet and sorghum.