Ethiopian Wheaten Flatbread

Yesinde injera

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes about

    10

Appears in

Making Bread at Home

Making Bread at Home

By Tom Jaine

Published 2005

  • About

Conventional baked breads in Ethiopia are called dabbo, but the injera, which is a soured pancake made from various grains, is the oldest and most traditional form. The staple grain of Ethiopia is a grass unique to the country called t’ef (Eragrostis Abyssinica). The nearest approximation we can achieve with grains available in Europe is millet. Different forms of millet, such as sorghum, are important staples for poorer countries in tropical Africa and Asia, although the breads made with such flour are not capable of normal leavening.

The recipe I have given here uses wheat, as being more acceptable to home bakers. Barley, millet, rice flour or cornmeal could equally well be tried. Many recipes now use baking powder or yeast to give a start to fermentation or aeration. I suggest using a piece of leaven to give a sour taste, as well as a piece of fermented yeast dough from any bread made the previous day, to aid fermenation.

Pour approximately 175 ml/6 fl oz of the batter into the heated pan in a spiral pattern, starting at the edge and working clockwise until you reach the centre.

Injera have to be made in a large frying pan when baking at home. Ethiopian cooks, however, will make them on a flat griddle laid over flames - much larger than anything we normally have in the kitchen cupboard. The injera is laid flat on a dish and fragrant stew (wot or we’t) is piled in the centre for the eater to sample by means of tearing pieces of injera from the edge and using them as scoops.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon leaven
  • 2 tablespoons of the previous day’s dough
  • 1.35 litres/48 fl oz still spring water or boiled water
  • 700 g/ lb stoneground brown (85% extraction) flour

Method

  1. Mix the leaven, fermented dough and water together in a bowl. Add the flour to make a batter. Leave to stand at room temperature at least overnight, or for up to 24 hours, until it has risen and tastes sour.
  2. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Pour about 175 ml/6 fl oz batter into the pan in a spiral pattern, starting at the edge and working clockwise until you reach the centre, then tip the pan so that the batter covers the bottom, like a pancake. Cook for 3-4 minutes. The edge will lift from the pan when it is ready. Take it out of the pan and cool on a clean tea towel while cooking the remainder.