Injera: The Ethiopian Flat Bread

What is injera or enjira as it is sometimes spelled? Injera is a flat crepe like food that has millions of bubbles or wholes on its surface. In Ethiopia injera is not considered bread. Injera is injera the stuff of life. We say Ethiopian flat bread when describing it to foreigners because of a lack of words on how to describe it. As I have already written in my hub “Teff: An Ancient Grain” It is made of this very unique and little known grain “teff.” The traditional Ethiopian injera is made wholly with the teff flour and is fermented for three days. This fermentation process gives it a slight sour test.

In this hub I will give 3 different recipes on how to make injera. The first one will be on how to make it the traditional way as it is still being done in Ethiopia which is going to be made purely with teff flour. The other two will be recipes that has been created by Ethiopians in the diaspora. It is going to be a mixture of grains including all purpose flour, self rising flower and some teff. One of this recipes has to ferment for three days, and the other one just for a few hours.

Close-up Photo of Injera

notice the gray color of this day old injera photo by lelanew55
notice the gray color of this day old injera photo by lelanew55

Modern Injera Maker

photo by lelanew 55
photo by lelanew 55

Pouring the Batter on the Griddle

photo by lelanew55
photo by lelanew55
photo by lelanew55
photo by lelanew55

Making Traditional Injera with Teff Only

The traditional injera making is a long processes and most of the ingredients and equipment are not available anywhere else but Ethiopia. The recipe is mostly for your information only and to give you some idea on how real injera is made. The recipe is for the large size injera as it is normally made in the typical Ethiopian home. Since it is a major staple it is made in large quantities.

Traditional Injera

To make 25 large size traditional injeras

Ingredients

11 pounds of Teff flour

4 cups of teff yeast

5 quarts of water

Directions

Preparing the Dough

Sift the teff flower add the teff yeast and Kneed the dough well.

Add one quart of water and kneed some more.

Add ¾ quart water and let it stand for 3 days to ferment.

On the third day discard all the liquid that has collected on top.

Thin the dough with ½ quart of water.

Take 4 cups of these dough that has been thinned add to 8 cups of boiling water.

Simmer and keep stirring to make sure it doesn’t form lumps fir about 5 minutes

Remove from heat let it cool and add it to the rest of the dough.

Add the remaining water and let it stand until the dough rises.

And when it goes back down start making the injera.

Cooking the Injera

The injera is cooked on a flat circular ceramic griddle with shinny smooth black surface known as “metad”

Preheat the griddle to very high heat.

Then a specially prepared herb is sprinkled over the hot surface to help polish the cooking surface further and to make sure the injrea will not stick to the surface.

The herb is removed from the surface with a piece of clothing at the same time you give the griddle a polish.

A container preferably one with a spout is used to pour the thinned dough on the hot circular ceramic griddle.

You start pouring on the outer ridges of the griddle and work your way in filling up the hole in the middle.

You cover the griddle with its top known as akembalo.

Let the injera cook for  about a minutes or so.

Open up the akembalo and remove the injera with a sefede.

Sefede is a flat basket the shape and size of a large pizza.

You let the injera cool on the sefede while you pour another container of dough on the hot griddle.

You then transfer the cooled injera to an enkeb, a special basket used to keep injera and Ethiopian bread.

You keep repeating this process until you have finished all the dough and keep piling one injera on top of the other on the enkeb.


Injera: Rolled and Cut

Sefed Used to Remove Hot Injera from the Griddle

Quicker and Easier Ways of Making Injera

Here is a  recipes for modified injera, injera that anyone can make at home using a large non stick skillet.

makes about 14 injeras

Ingredients

1 cups of teff flour

2 cups of all purpose flour

1 cup of self rising flower

4 cups of water

1 tsp of Yeast

Directions

Mix all the flours together add 1 cups of water gradually while kneeding the dough well.

Add the yeast and baking soda and kneed some more.

Add the rest of the water and set aside for three days.

At the end of the three days discard all the liquid on top of the dough.

Boil some water and mix in a cup of the fermented dough.

Keep stirring while the the mixture is cooking, making sure it doesn’t form lumps.

Cook for about 5 minutes and remove from heat and let it cool.

Add it to the rest of the dough cover and set it aside for it to rise.

After it has risen and gone back down you can start making the injera.

Preheat the skillet.

Measure about half a cup of the thinned dough and pour it on the hot skillet then pick up the skillet and move it in a circular motion to spread the batter throughout the surface evenly.

Cover and cook for 30 seconds to a minute or until all the wholes are formed on the surface and the injera can easily be removed from the skillet.

Remove from skillet by using a spatula and quickly placing it on a plate.

With a piece of dry clean cloth clean the surface of the skillet and remove any food particles that my be sticking on it.

Make the next injera, let it cool on another plate before you stack it on the last injera and then the next until you run out of dough.


Easy Ingera Recipe

Makes about 14 injeras

Ingredients

3 cups of self rising flower

1 cups of teff

1 tsp yeast

1tsp of baking soda

5 cups of water

Directions

Mix the flours and add a cup of water and kneed the dough well.

Add the yeast and baking soda and kneed some more.

Add the rest of the water and let it sit in a warm place to rise.

When it goes back down preheat a non stick skillet.

measure a half a cup of the batter and pour it on the hot skillet.

Cover and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute until all the holes are formed.

Remove with a spatula being careful not to break up the injera.

Place it on a dish towel and let it cool.

Cook another injera and another until all the batter is gone.

Enjoy your injera with some Ethiopian Vegan Dishes. You will find some recipes there.

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Comments 14 comments

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago

Very interesting hub on this flat bread. I can't imagine waiting 3 days just to make it--I'll be too impatient but I bet the result must be worth the wait. Thanks for sharing and rated it useful.


lelanew55 profile image

lelanew55 6 years ago Author

Thank you for stopping by. Well for Ethiopians and many who like the food it is worth the wait. But there is a modified version where you don't have to wait at all. Thank you for rating it up.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Excellent and I can do this. Thanks so much for the varied recipes. I love food that takes time and as anglnwu says - it is worth the wait. Ah, good food!

Rated up and thanks again. I'll bookmark!


lelanew55 profile image

lelanew55 6 years ago Author

Thanks for your kind words and for reading, commenting, and bookmarking BK.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

I love learning about the cultures and cuisines of other parts, especially of Africa. Thanks for this one. Bookmarked!

Love and peace

Tony


lelanew55 profile image

lelanew55 6 years ago Author

Thank you for your kind words tonymac04. I am glad you enjoyed this hub and learning about Africa. This encourages me to write more about this subject.


Tracey 6 years ago

Hi, thinks for the info. I am using a recipe w/o yeast. Do you know how long I can store the yeast after it has fermented, and do I store it in a refrigerator or leave it out?

Thank you


lelanew55 profile image

lelanew55 6 years ago Author

Tracey thank you for stopping by and I am glad you found it useful. You keep the yeast in the fridge and it keeps for a long time. I have seen my sister keep it in the fridge for over 6 months with no problems.


Raey 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing lelane. I can finally say, I found a real good information on how to make Injera. I had a questions for you though. In the traditional way of making injera, you mentioned "Teff Yeast"; How is it different from any baker's yeast?


lelanew55 profile image

lelanew55 5 years ago Author

Hello Raey. Sorry it took so long to answer your question. I was so busy with a project that I have not visited my hubs for a while. Anyway in Ethiopia they use teff starters. They mix some teff flour with warm water and let it ferment for three days,the same way sourdough starters are made. I hope this answers your question and thank you for stopping by.


aslanlight profile image

aslanlight 5 years ago from England

I'd love to eat some of this but I can't use yeast in bread. I make unleavened bread and I was hoping your recipes might not contain yeast. Never mind, I enjoyed reading about it!


lelanew55 profile image

lelanew55 5 years ago Author

Thank you for stopping by asianlight. I am sorry you couldn't eat injera because of the yeast. But you can use the teff flour to make other things to eat. Look it up on the internet.


Lulla 5 years ago

Thanks for the receipe, it is great. Do you also have info where to get the Injera Maing Griddle, in USA? I want to buy the one on the pic shown but I don't know if it is available in Ethiopian Stores/shops in U.S.A.

Thanks


lelanew55 profile image

lelanew55 5 years ago Author

I am sorry but I don't think the griddle shown on the picture is available in the US yet. It is an Ethiopian invention and is only available in Ethiopia at this time. Most people in the US use a pancake maker or just a non stick skillet for their injera. Thank you for stopping by.

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