Ethiopian Flat bread: Making Injera at Home

Injera is a traditional Ethiopian flat bread that holds a significant place in Ethiopian cuisine and culture. It is a national staple that people of all ages enjoy eating. Injera has a centuries-long history and is deeply rooted in Ethiopian traditions.

The unique texture and flavor of injera make it stand out from other types of bread. It is made from teff flour, which is a gluten-free grain native to Ethiopia. Teff flour gives injera its distinct sour taste and spongy texture. The fermentation process also contributes to the flavor and texture of the bread.

Key Takeaways

  • Injera is a staple food in Ethiopia and is made from teff flour.
  • To make injera, you will need teff flour, water, a large bowl, a whisk, and a non-stick pan.
  • Preparing the injera batter involves mixing the teff flour and water, whisking until smooth, and letting it ferment for 1-3 days.
  • Fermenting the batter requires a warm and humid environment, and adding a pinch of baking soda can help with the fermentation process.
  • Cooking injera can be done on a non-stick pan or a traditional clay plate, and flipping the injera is key to achieving the perfect texture.


Ingredients and Equipment Needed for Making Injera

To make injera, you will need a few key ingredients and equipment. The main ingredient is teff flour, which can be found in specialty stores or online. Teff flour is high in fiber, iron, and protein, making it a nutritious choice for bread-making.

Other ingredients include water, salt, and sometimes yeast or sourdough starter. Yeast or sourdough starter helps with the fermentation process and adds depth to the flavor of the injera.

In terms of equipment, you will need a large mixing bowl, a whisk or wooden spoon for stirring, a non-stick skillet or griddle, and a lid to cover the skillet while cooking the injera.

Sefed (winnowing)

The “sefed” is a traditional Ethiopian tool used to lift Injera, a staple sourdough-risen flatbread, from the cooking surface without damaging it. Crafted from local materials, this woven basket-like utensil is essential in Ethiopian culinary practices for its ability to cool Injera efficiently while preserving its unique, spongy texture. The “sefed” not only showcases Ethiopia’s rich tradition in craft skills but also plays a vital role in the communal aspect of Ethiopian dining.


The “Mitad” is a traditional Ethiopian cooking appliance used primarily for baking Injera, the staple sourdough flatbread integral to the cuisine of these cultures. It is a large, circular, and flat griddle that provides an even and consistent heat source, essential for cooking Injera to achieve its unique, spongy texture. Beyond Injera, the Mitad is also used for preparing various other types of breads and dishes, making it a versatile tool in Ethiopian and Eritrean cooking traditions.


In Ethiopian cuisine, a flat, woven mat or tray, often made from local materials, is used for placing and cooling Injera after baking on the Mitad. This versatile item serves to prevent the Injera from becoming soggy by facilitating proper air circulation. It is essential for maintaining the Injera’s distinctive texture and is also employed for serving the Injera during communal meals, aligning with the cultural practice of sharing food from a single platter, emphasizing unity and community

Preparing the Injera Batter

To make the injera batter, start by combining teff flour, water, salt, and yeast or sourdough starter in a large mixing bowl. Use a whisk or wooden spoon to mix everything together until you have a smooth batter. The consistency should be similar to pancake batter—not too thick or too thin.

It’s important to note that the batter needs to be left to ferment for at least 24 hours, or up to 48 hours for a more pronounced sour flavor. During fermentation, the batter will develop bubbles and become slightly thicker.

To achieve the right consistency, you may need to adjust the amount of water or flour. If the batter is too thick, add a little water at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. If it’s too thin, add more teff flour.

Fermenting the Batter: Tips and Tricks for Perfect Injera

Fermentation is a crucial step in making injera. It not only adds flavor but also helps to make the bread light and airy. The length of fermentation time can vary depending on factors such as temperature and the amount of yeast or sourdough starter used.

To ensure a successful fermentation process, it’s important to keep the batter in a warm place, ideally around 80°F (27°C). This will help the yeast or sourdough starter to activate and ferment the batter properly.

If you live in a colder climate, you can place the batter near a warm oven or use a heating pad to maintain the desired temperature. It’s also important to cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap to prevent any contaminants from entering.

Cooking Injera: Different Methods and Techniques

There are different methods and techniques for cooking injera, both traditional and modern. Traditionally, injera is cooked on a large clay plate called a mitad, which is heated over an open fire. The mitad provides even heat distribution and helps to achieve the characteristic spongy texture of injera.

However, modern methods involve using a non-stick skillet or griddle. These methods are more accessible and convenient for home cooks. To cook injera using a skillet or griddle, preheat it over medium heat and lightly grease it with oil or cooking spray.

Pour a ladleful of batter onto the skillet and quickly swirl it around to spread the batter evenly. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the edges start to lift and the surface is covered with small holes.

Serving and Storing Injera: Best Practices

Injera is typically served as a base for various Ethiopian dishes. It is used as a utensil to scoop up stews, curries, and other flavorful dishes. To serve injera, place it on a large platter or individual plates and arrange the dishes on top.

Injera can also be enjoyed on its own as a snack or appetizer. It has a tangy flavor that pairs well with spicy or savory toppings. You can top it with vegetables, cheese, or even spreads like hummus or tzatziki.

Leftover injera can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. It can also be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for longer storage. To reheat injera, lightly steam it or warm it in the microwave for a few seconds.

Variations of Injera: Exploring Different Flavors and Textures

While traditional injera is made from teff flour, some variations incorporate other grains or flours. Some recipes use a combination of teff flour and wheat flour to achieve a lighter texture. Others use sorghum flour or barley flour for a different flavor profile.

You can also experiment with adding different ingredients to the batter to create flavored injera. For example, you can add spices like cumin or paprika or herbs like parsley or cilantro. These additions will give the injera a unique taste and aroma.

Troubleshooting Common Injera Problems: Solutions and Fixes

While making injera, you may encounter some common issues that can affect the final result. One common problem is a dense or heavy texture. This can be caused by using too much flour or not allowing the batter to ferment properly. To fix this, try adjusting the amount of flour or increasing the fermentation time.

Another issue is a lack of bubbles or holes on the surface of the injera. This can be due to not using enough yeast or sourdough starter or not allowing the batter to rest for a sufficient amount of time. To solve this problem, make sure to use enough yeast or sourdough starter and give the batter enough time to ferment.


What is Ethiopian flatbread made of?

Injera is a traditional Ethiopian flatbread made from teff flour. It is a staple food in Ethiopian cuisine and is typically served with stews and other dishes.

Can injera be made at home?

Yes, injera can be made at home using teff flour, water, and a few other ingredients. It requires a bit of practice to get the texture and flavor just right, but it is definitely possible to make injera at home.

What is teff flour?

Teff flour is a type of flour made from the grain of the teff plant, which is native to Ethiopia. It is a gluten-free flour that is high in protein, fiber, and other nutrients.

Where can I buy teff flour?

Teff flour can be found at specialty health food stores, Ethiopian markets, and online retailers. It may also be available at some of the of the larger grocery stores.

What other ingredients are needed to make injera?

In addition to teff flour and water, injera also requires a sourdough starter or yeast, salt, and sometimes baking soda. Some recipes may also call for other ingredients, like barley flour or cornmeal.

How is injera cooked?

Injera is traditionally cooked on a large, round griddle called a mitad. The batter is poured onto the hot griddle and cooked until the surface is covered in small bubbles and the edges start to curl up. The injera is then removed from the griddle and allowed to cool.

What are some tips for making injera at home?

Some tips for making injera at home include using a sourdough starter for a more authentic flavor, letting the batter ferment for at least 24 hours for better texture, and using a non-stick pan or griddle to prevent sticking. It may also be helpful to watch instructional videos or read detailed recipes before attempting to make injera at home.

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