What is Teff Flour?
Teff flour comes from a cereal grain grown most commonly in Eritria and Ethopia, in Africa. As a plant dating back to 1000 BC, teff has ancient grain status, meaning that it’s considered to be a grain that has not experienced much, if any, modification. Ancient grains are considered very healthy for you and are commonly grown in Africa and the Middle East.
The seeds used to make this flour are quite small. While you could make flour from teff at home, it would probably be difficult for the average home chef to grind it into a flour by themselves.
What Does Teff Flour Taste Like?
The answer depends in part on what kind you get.
Ivory or brown colored teff tastes like hazelnut and a little bit like chocolate – it is definitely considered a sweeter-tasting flour.
Lighter colored flours have a milder, more nutty tasty – but less distinguishable than hazelnut.
Overall, this flour tastes really good as compared to most. Other ancient grain based flours can have a bitter taste, but teff is an exception that adds complex flavors to already tasty baked goods.
Is Teff Flour Good for Baking?
It most certainly is! Teff enhances the earthy and sweet flavor of baked goods like chocolate cookies and cakes. While some chocolate cookies can be overly sweet with traditional flour, teff adds a natural sweetness to your favorite chocolate cookies without being overwhelming.
Teff also makes lighter pastries, especially when grounded extra fine. Teff is otherwise considered a fairly dense flour and will make for thick cookies, cakes, and other sweets. People who bake with teff often mix it with all purpose flour to make sure the goods don’t come out too thick. Some recipes recommend using teff for about 25% of their flour to make thicken up. All purpose flour made from teff can be used in higher proportions to make up for it’s lesser density.
Uses for Teff Flour
In Africa, this flour finds a common use in flatbreads where it can be made crisp and light, or dense. Teff is also making its way into snacks, cereals, pancakes, and breads. We already mentioned baking, but that’s one of the biggest reasons to use this versatile flour.
Porridge becomes tastier with teff with a bit of added thickness and some sweet.
Like in baking, teff commonly makes up 50% or less of a recipe’s flour. It’s more readily mixed with all purpose flours and adds some nutrition and flavor to what could otherwise be a boring flour mixture.
One big difference between teff and all purpose flour comes from bread and cookies. While teff makes extra tasty bread, cookies, and pastries – they also don’t rise as much when using just teff. If you like bread to rise – consider adding other flours.
Is Teff Flour Healthy?
Like many other ancient grain flours, this flour is great for your body. First, it has lots of calcium which is great for people building their bones or who can’t have dairy milk.
Teff also has lots of fiber, which is great for promoting regular bathroom trips with ease. Fiber also helps with dieters who want to feel full faster to maintain portion control.
Finally, teff has lots of protein. Food authorities in Ethiopia believe that more than half of the population’s protein diet comes from teff use in flatbreads.
Is It Gluten Free?
Yes, teff flour is gluten free. For a relatively sweet flour, this is a huge benefit because even people who are gluten sensitive can still enjoy teff.
Is Teff Flour Keto Friendly?
By most standards, this flour is keto friendly. While it does have carbohydrates, the amount is relatively low. For people on a strict keto diet, this might not work, but for people who are not strictly anti carb, teff provides a great alternative to much more carb filled flours.
Is Teff Kosher?
For the purposes of Passover, it depends on whether or not you consider the kitnoyot grain to be permissible. Most people who observe Passover consider teff to be good flour to use when making foods for Passover.
Is It Paleo?
Paleo considers teff to be a grain and grains are generally not considered paleo friendly. Skip this flour if you are currently doing the paleo diet.
How Long Does It Last?
Teff has a bit of a short shelf life compared to other flours at four months. Many wheat based flours have shelf lives upwards of a half a year. Consider putting this flour in the fridge or at least an airtight container to make it good for longer.
Can I Substitute It for All Purpose Flour?
You could, but we wouldn’t suggesting doing so completely. The less finely ground teff will make your dish extra thick, which might not be a positive thing for some bakers. Use this flour between 25% to 50% of your dish instead of the whole recipe.
Teff is a great ancient grain with many health benefits. For those hesistant about the tastes of different kinds of flours, teff also has a great taste ranging from rather mellow to earthy and sweet. We suggest you try teff in a small amount first, then consider adding to more recipes in slightly larger quantities. You might like it!