Injera – Ethiopian Sourdough Flatbread

Injera Ethiopian Sourdough Flatbread Recipe

Injera, an Ethiopian staple traditionally made with teff flour, is a spongy flatbread made with a thin sourdough batter. Served in a communal place setting, assertively spiced sauces and stews are ladled on overlapping rounds and pieces are torn off to scoop up the chunkier bits. Additional injera may also be neatly folded into quarters and served on the side.

Ethiopian food is very well-represented in Chicago. I’ve somehow developed an addiction a taste for it, much like the occasional Chinese or Indian food cravings. If you’re going to an Ethiopian restaurant, keeping in mind that you’ll share a common plate and eat with your hands, it’s good to know a few things about dining etiquette:

  • Use your right hand for eating, because it is assumed that the left hand is used for less savory personal activities.
  • Keep your fingers from getting in contact with the sauces and your mouth. You’ll never find an Ethiopian restaurant with a slogan of “Finger Lickin’ Good.”
  • If someone offers to feed you a morsel, open up and say ahh. I’m sure you can think of many worse things that someone can pop in your mouth.

recipe adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads
Bread Baking Babes: Ethiopian Injera
Yeastspotting at Wild Yeast Blog

Injera (100% Teff)
Ethiopian Sourdough Flatbread

makes about 4 to 6 injera

Injera Ethiopian Sourdough Flatbread Flour

IngredientsVolumeOuncesGrams
teff starter from the previous batch1/4 cup257
water, at room temperature1 3/4 cups14397
teff flour1 3/4 cups8227
salt1/4 tsp0.072

Notes:

Injera Directions:

Mix. Place the starter in a bowl. Pour the water over the starter and stir to dissolve. Add the teff flour and mix until the batter is smooth. It will have the consistency of thin pancake batter.

Ferment. Cover and let stand for 5 to 6 hours at room temperature. Reserve 1/4 cup of the starter for the next batch.

Add the salt and stir to dissolve.

Heat a 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium heat (you’ll also need a tight-fitting lid). Using a paper towel, wipe the skillet with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Pour about 1/2 cup (for a 10-inch skillet) or 3/4 cup (for a 12-inch skillet) of batter in the center of the skillet. Tilt and swirl the skillet immediately to coat evenly. Let the bread cook for about 1 minute, just until holes start to form on the surface.

Cover the skillet with the lid to steam the injera. Cook for about 3 minutes, just until the edges pull away from the sides and the top is set.

Injera Ethiopian Sourdough Flatbread Skillet

Storage. Transfer the injera to a wire rack and cool completely. Wrap tightly with plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Injera Ethiopian Sourdough Flatbread Holes
Can you see the Virgin Mary? Me neither.

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72 Responses to “Injera – Ethiopian Sourdough Flatbread”

  1. Amy I. says:

    Oh how I’ve missed Ethiopian food since we moved from a big city to a small town. It’s been years since I’ve had it now, but maybe I’ll try to recreate it at home sometime. I’ve always been curious about how injera was made…yours looks delicious!

  2. snooky doodle says:

    Realy interesting. Although I m not that keen on eating in a common plate with your hands its really interesting to know these dining ethiquette :) Interesting recipe.

  3. Rosa says:

    A wonderful flat bread! I’d love to make injera, but I don’t know where to get that flour here, in Switzerland…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  4. Baking Soda says:

    Yum, they look great! Much more whole-grainy than mine!

  5. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    This is one of those breads that it’s fascinating to watch it transform.
    Gorgeous injera!
    Thanks so much for baking it with us!!

  6. Natashya says:

    Beautiful! I love the deep, dark colouring on yours. What did you have with it?

  7. Julia says:

    I love Ethiopian food, but the offerings in Boston aren’t great. I have to satiate my cravings in DC where the restaurants are awesome! I tried making this once but it was a disaster… maybe it’s time to try again.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Very cool concoction Jude! What did you eat them with??

  9. Caitlin says:

    What are you talking about? I can totally see the Virgin Mary! I made mine yesterday, and they looked like the surface of the moon :) Lucky you, to have Ethiopian nearby – I’m lucky to have one Thai restaurant within 20 miles of me.

  10. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella says:

    Fantastic Jude! I haven’t had a lot of Ethiopian food but what I’ve had I like! These look wonderful and coincidentally I had African food tonight and their flatbreads looked similar but a touch more golden and crepe like.

  11. pigpigscorner says:

    Interesting…they look quite pretty actually.

  12. Leela says:

    I learned to make Injera bread as part of our studies on ancient Nubia a few years ago. That recipe has been my go-to recipe since then. Can’t wait to try this one.

    Got a chuckle out of the reference to the right hand. :)

  13. noble pig says:

    I love the look of it. I had never heard of teff.

  14. lisaiscooking says:

    Your injera looks great! I’ve never cooked Ethiopian, but I’d like to learn more so I could give it a try.

  15. Kalyn says:

    Great post! At one time I was on the board of the National Education Association so I went to D.C. 5 times a year and I loved to get Ethiopian food there.

  16. Sean says:

    I’ve never seen/had this before but it looks great! It’s always enlightening to learn about dining etiquettes of other cultures so thanks for bringing that into light!

  17. Nicole says:

    I have been dying to try making my own Injera! I bought some teff flour once, and made the cookie recipe on the back of the package, but never got around to trying injera. But lately I find myself craving Ethiopian food more and more, and as much fun as it is to go out, I’d also like to try some things at home. Thanks for the instructions and gorgeous photos!!

  18. Tangled Noodle says:

    We tried Ethiopian for the first time just this year and it was love at first bite! So far, I’ve only made lentils, vegetables and lamb using berbere but I’ve served it with rice. Thanks for sharing your recipe for injera!

  19. We Are Never Full says:

    very good – we did a short-cut injera when we made ethiopian on our blog and, althought it was good and hit the spot, it was not the real deal. i wonder what the difference really is in doing your 6 hour rest vs. the traditional “few days” of resting. great job as always, jude!

  20. maris says:

    I’ve never had Ethiopian food but I’m eager to try it. This bread might be a good start!

  21. Madam Chow says:

    OK, you are tooo funny!

  22. mary says:

    I’ve always wanted to make injera. This post is especially helpful to a daunting venture.

    Thanks!

  23. Natashya, Elizabeth, I had simply cooked spicy lentils with it, which wasn’t really Ethiopian but good nonetheless. Hoping to try out Doro Wat sometime soon.

    Caitlin, at least there’s lots of cheese and sausage options, right?

    Nicole, Mine had teff muffin recipes in the back. Hmm :)

    Amy, this recipe uses an active sourdough starter so it only needs about 6 hours of fermentation. It might get too sour if left to ferment longer than that. The several days of rest in other recipes is probably for starters made from scratch.

  24. katiek @kitchensidecar says:

    lookin tasty. injera is one of those tastes that shock you a bit when you first taste it.

    i have always wondered how they got that sour. Teff flour intrigues me…impressive.

  25. Manggy says:

    That is a beautiful bread. Thanks for sharing this.
    I have to say, though, when can one start to assume that the customer *does* keep both hands clean? Har har. :)

  26. grace says:

    good tips–it’s comforting to know which hand to use in such a situation…
    i personally think eschewing silverware and simply using bread and hands is an awesome method and i think we should all try it at least once. :)

  27. kat says:

    Oh, I love this bread. It brings back good memories of the $10 dinner for two with my best friend at an Ethiopian restaurant on Haight Street in San Francisco.

  28. Teanna says:

    I LOVE injera! Amazing job, I love the pattern in the bread, it almost seems deliberate in its perfection! Gorgeous job!

  29. Jaime says:

    how cool! i love ethiopian food and this is the first i’ve seen of this flatbread being made at home :)

  30. Mary says:

    Wow–look at you. I love Ethiopian food and injera but never ever considered making it. YOu make it look so easy…I’m definitely motivated! Looks fabulous!

  31. breadchick says:

    Jude, They look fantastic and good to know I’m not the only one who um…shares an addiction for Ethiopian.

    Thanks for baking with the Babes this month.

  32. Lan says:

    oh i adore ethiopian food. living there for 2 years does that to a person! i’ve been hounding the local african grocery store for injera, i have the bestest spicy lentil recipe i’d like to make with it… sigh. as always, your pictures are gorgeous!

  33. Hannah says:

    I’ve wanted to make injera for the longest time but figured it would be an involved and difficult process… It actually looks pretty easy! I’ll have to work up the courage to try it now.

  34. Soma says:

    That has a beautiful pattern, & u have captured it well. On the first look, it reminded me of a dosa of darker shade.. if u know what i mean.

  35. Elle says:

    The Bread Baking Babes made this recipe, too, but your photos are the absolute best…makes me hungry looking at them!

  36. Dimah says:

    How interesting! I have never heard of this before.
    Thanks for sharing!

  37. Rosa says:

    The fella I’m seeing has recently been to Ethiopa and had authentic Injera for breakfast, lunch and dinner for two weeks solid or so… He certainly wasn’t singing its praises when he returned. However yours looks lovely and I’m sure a treat once in a while is a wonderful thing to have. Yum! Maybe I could surprise him with it in a bit when he’s healed…

  38. Carolyn Jung says:

    That is very impressive that you made your own injera. Even some of the Ethiopian restaurants around here end up buying it instead from a bakery.

  39. Y says:

    How fantastic! I’ve always wanted to try this bread. All I need to do now is find that teff flour..

  40. Girl Japan says:

    I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog, as I learn so much about foods I’ve never even tried, and I thought I was worldly..

  41. Jacque says:

    How interesting! I learned something today :)

    The bread looks like a perfect scoop to aid in the hands-on eating.

  42. Margie says:

    beautiful photo…and I’ll bet the bread was (is) fantastic. I’m going to be trying my hand at this bread.

  43. Susan/Wild Yeast says:

    Ethiopian food is one of my favorites and I just got some teff flour. Injera here I come. I’m really hoping I will get the Virgin Mary on mine.

  44. YeastSpotting May 15, 2009 | Wild Yeast says:

    [...] Injera – Ethiopian Sourdough Flatbread [...]

  45. Maya says:

    My friend Sam used to make injera on a weekly basis….I never did learn how to make it as it would have come in handy now that I have moved.

  46. Cheryl says:

    great recipe! I have to try it.

  47. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    Beautiful pattern on the bread! It almost looks like those wrought iron patterns, only spongy and no doubt tastier.

  48. Cynthia says:

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I have been trying recipe after recipe trying to get my injera right, and it’s never worked. I suspect it’s because the recipes inadvertently leave out some really important things (some of them didn’t even say how high the heat should be, or only gave vague references to how long to cook the injera). This recipe looks much more complete. I’m trying it tonight! I think this might be the one! :D

  49. Judith says:

    I just found this post, and am eager to try it. However, the people with whom I want to share it are Celiac sufferers, and therefore cannot tolerate gluten in any amount. I notice that the starter recipe you recommend does contain all-purpose flour, which contains a good bit of gluten. Can you recommend another starter recipe that doesn’t contain glutenous flour(s), or should I just do teff for the entire amount instead of mixing it with AP flour in the original starter batch?

  50. David K says:

    Just finished my first batch of Injera. I started with using “Mary’s” starter from scratch formula using the 7 day time period, then used the method using self rising flour as described in the starter recipe. I then used the cooking method described above. I intend to make a 100% teff next time. The flavor and characteristics of this batch (50% wheat flour) was nice and sour with good spongy texture. Well worth the time and effort. Will report back on the 100% teff variation soon. Thanks for providing the above information!

  51. Patty says:

    I was so excited to find this recipe – thank you so much for sharing. I tried making some years ago based loosely on the only recipe I could find online and in English… nothing as lovely as what you made. :)

    Looking forward to making some good authentic injera the next time I get my hands on some teff – now if only I could find it here in Mexico!

  52. she keeps bees « minor diversions says:

    [...] we rented bikes and rode to the farmer’s market, ate lunch (lentil-stuffed injera, probably the most satisfying version of a crepe i have ever experienced) at the river, and i [...]

  53. Ethiopian says:

    Dear lady
    i dont know what the heck you make and what you podted on this site is.but that IS NOT our traditional food injera.im very happy and proud that you like it but find a beter piccture that resembles it.

  54. Isreal Minyard says:

    Thank you so much, I love to read about other vegetarians as it gives me the strength to continue. I have about a thousand vegetarian feeds in my google reader, but I’m sure another can’t hurt!! I did manage to find a good lentil recipes here, but I’ll be sure to try yours too. Thanks!

  55. Dora Wat, Iab and Injera says:

    [...] – yields 4-6 whole injera (adapted from Apple Pie, Patis, Pate) 1/4 cup teff starter from the previous batch, or if making for the first time check out a starter [...]

  56. Fun Fact Friday…Food! « Let's Plant a Library says:
  57. Ryan says:

    I’ve been through the quest of trying to make injera at home, and I have a tip for you. Unless you live somewhere like Ethiopia, with the same altitude/humidity/temperature profile, you will not get 100% teff injera to act the way you want. The reason injera at the restaurant is porous on top but yours is mostly flat is because they add other flours to compensate for different climate

    Add some wheat in. It feels like cheating, but there are extenuating circumstances.

  58. Traveler says:

    The bread is just the start. It’s the culture that’s awesome. Yes, friends do feed each other, and it’s surprising how friendly people get after they see you trying to absorb the culture!
    Joe
    http://www.wildplanettours.com/

  59. Lan Center says:

    Wow, interesting post. I adore stuff like this.

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    Nicely, which is great, however think about extra options we have the following? Could you mind publishing yet another article relating to them? Thank you!

  63. Kathy Kriegel says:

    great website. Keep doing

  64. Wes Bromberg says:

    lollll

  65. Gastronomical repair « Zactopia says:

    [...] love me some injera deliciousness—but in a country where food is not always aplenty, I guess it helps to have another [...]

  66. Meaghan says:

    Where and how to you store the remaining starter?

  67. Pat says:

    Can some one tell me what a `cup` measures? Imperial or metric please. Thanks.

  68. Charolette Bowdle says:

    Just want to say your article is as astounding. The clearness in your post is simply cool and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the rewarding work.

  69. Mixed Vegetable and Farro Salad with Goat Cheese « Cate's World Kitchen says:

    [...] made injera, collard greens, red lentils, and mushrooms. <– (none of the recipes are [...]

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  71. Africa, Land of Differences | Change is Good……Right??? says:

    [...] courtesy for the starter from bread chick and the making of the bread from apple pie, patis and pate [...]

  72. Eric says:

    Tried this for the first time this week. The starter recipe is clear, but the actually bread recipe needs some fine tuning. I cannot tell from the recipe if I am supposed to take 1/4 cup of starter and continue or add the ingredients and reserve 1/4 cup of starter before adding salt. I added the flour and water, and waited 4 hours. I added the 1/4 t salt to about half of the starter approximately 2 cups, and reserved the remainder. I got about 8 pieces of bread which is more than enough for 2 people. I still have about 2 cups of starter to continue forward with. I plan to use it in a traditional starter manner by adding and cooking, but will not bother with the recipe which is too contradictory

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