Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy Accident-25 Lbs. of Teff Flour-Part 1

I thought I was ordering Teff Whole Grain but I obviously made a mistake somewhere along the line because when my order arrived I opened a 25 lb. bag of Teff Flour! I went back to my original order slip and saw that, indeed, I had ordered 25 lbs. of flour. I just looked at this massive amount of flour and wondered how long will it take to use this up. Ugh.

I usually buy whole grain teff and grind it up as I need it. Teff is a potent high protein seed grain and has been a blessing after learning I had to go off gluten. I also use whole grain teff for a power breakfast. I soak the teff grain the night before, 1 cup teff to 3 cups water, add a little water kefir to boost the enzyme activity, cover and let it sit overnight. The next morning I simmer it for about 15 minutes to cook. Mixed with chia gel, flax seed oil and soaked nuts, I'm off and running. I'll often pour the leftovers into a loaf pan where it becomes like polenta. I'll slice it and toast or saute it. Using spices and herbs it could be made sweet or savory.

Since I was missing my teff breakfasts I ordered some more whole grain, this time only 10 lbs. To my horror, I opened a box of 10 lbs. of teff flour, again! I really must slow down, I'm making way too many mistakes.

Anyway, what to do with my 35 lbs. of teff flour?
My book, The Art of Gluten Free Sourdough Baking, is based on brown rice flour starters. I'd begun to experiment with buckwheat sorghum starters and have had some great results. I figured I better move on to Teff starters so I wouldn't have pounds and pounds of teff flour either stuffed into the freezer or sprouting critters with legs.

I began a new starter using only teff flour and water in a ratio of 1 to 1. I chose this because teff absorbs a lot of water. I usually use teff to thicken and give structure to some bread recipes. I was surprised that this starter was actually very soupy but I continued along with my 1 to 1 experiment, feeding it every 8 hours or so for a couple of days.

I used the bubbly starter to make Teff pancakes and was pleasantly surprised that they were as good as or even better than the rice pancakes! They were naturally slightly sweet with a great cake-like texture. The leftovers were great toasted the next day. Since I can't eat sweet stuff I used them as an accompaniment to a bean stew. I'm sure they would be great with maple syrup or fruit.

Starter Recipe:
Make a starter by mixing equal amounts of teff flour and water. Add a tablespoon of water kefir or other fermented liquid.
Feed every 8 hours or so with equal amounts of teff flour and water.
After 2 days it should be ready to use.

Pancake Recipe:
One cup of starter makes about 4 pancakes.
Add a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoons of any oil or fat and 1 tablespoons ground flax seeds.
Mix let it sit about 10 minutes and cook.
The pancakes will not show bubbles so flip it when it starts to dry out around the outer third.
Sometimes I cover it while it's cooking. It cooks faster and more thoroughly.

My next experiment will be making breads using this teff starter. I'll keep you posted.


  1. That is what you call blessing in disguise. Never planned it and came out something good. Hope their was a picture for me to see the result.

  2. Thanks for finding my blog and leaving a comment. I have enjoyed reading through a few posts and look forward to reading more. Feel free to check in at anytime. I really do plan on posting about my journey in G-free living, as well as sharing recipes that are g-free, dairy free, sugar free, added yeast free and brown rice free. Whew. That is quite a list, but I am well fed. Thanks again!


  3. HI Kara,
    Thanks for the comment. I will check your blog and it's true that even with all our food restrictions we can eat well!

  4. Thanx for the post, i must try this recipe for my friends and i hope that they like it.

  5. Hi Megan,
    you're very welcome. I hope your friends like the teff pancakes. I froze some of the leftover teff starter, thawed it 2 weeks later and made pancakes. It wasn't as spectacular as when it was fresh but it still made a good snack in a pinch.

  6. Teff pancakes are wonderful! These would totally taste great with pecan, banana aand maple syrup, yum!

  7. If I keep making teff starters maybe 3 to 4 months. Maybe longer. I'm just concerned about it going through the summer. I wouldn't want it to sprout bugs. (yuck) I might end up freezing or refrigerating some of it if the weather gets very hot.

    Meanwhile, I'm having fun.
    Thanks for writing,

  8. Hmmm, I will check your blog and it's true that even with all our food restrictions we can eat well! thanx for the info.

  9. I love to make pancakes at breakfast time. My kids love to bring pancakes at school. Thanks for the post. I will keep visiting here.

  10. Nice Post, Sharon. It was pleasure reading your Post. And thanks for the recipe. I will try this at home.

  11. Thanks for the pancake recipe. I will follow your recipe. Thanks for the share.