100% Teff Sourdough Bread Recipe (2024)

100% Teff Sourdough Bread Recipe (1)

Teff Basics

The first thing you need to know about teff is that it's a wild card, but only in the best possible way. Unlike other gluten-free grains, teff is the most flexible GF grain for baking, and it's also the most variable grain I've ever worked with for flavor. Nutty, earthy, sour, sweet, spicy, and mild are all flavors that I've gotten from teff bread. I'm still not always sure how to control the flavor, I'm just along for the ride.

Teff is one of the world's tiniest grains and has been used in sourdough bread for as long as 40,000 years. (See this recipe for traditional injera flatbread.) It comes in two main varieities in the USA, brown and ivory, though many other varieties exist. It comes originally from Africa. However, Idaho seems to have a climate conducive to growing it, so that is where much of the teff is grown here in the USA. Bob's Red Mill, Maskal and Judee's are the three brands I buy. (I've included affiliate links to these products on Amazon but you might be able to find better prices direct from the mills.) There are several others, but these are the brands I've found that are certified gluten free and seem to have good manufacturing practices to keep them separate from gluten.

100% Teff Sourdough Bread Recipe (2)
100% Brown teff bread at a medium hydration, 100% Ivory teff bread at a lower hydration.

Last week I wrote about making single flour bread with yeast and introduced the tortilla test for creating your own recipe. This week, I want to give you a 100% teff sourdough bread recipe.

What's really the most amazing thing about teff is its performance in gluten-free baking. In my last post I talked about the tortilla test and how it's used to determine the correct hydration of a dough. This is really important in GF baking because most gluten-free flours have such a narrow window for a good hydration.

100% Teff Sourdough Bread Recipe (3)
Tortilla test: slightly too dry

100% Teff Sourdough Bread Recipe (4)
Torilla test: perfect

This is where teff differs from other flours the most: it has an enormously wide window for hydration, possibly more than wheat flour does. This gives any teff recipe a lot of leeway in how much water can be used, depending on the results you want to get out of the flour. It can also be used at very high hydrations up to 120% which lends it a lot of extensibility, much more than most flours. I've done the tortilla test on teff many times and also baked numerous 100% teff loaves. I've determined the hydration range for teff in my climate is around 70-120%. (For comparison, an AP white wheat flour might have a hydration range of 50-75%, and millet has a range of 60-70%).

100% Teff Sourdough Bread Recipe (5)

Here's a quick reference for teff facts:

  • VARIETIES. Brown and ivory teff flour are interchangeable in any recipe. The color is different, the flavor is slightly different, but the performance is the same.
  • MILLING. Teff is one of the smallest grains in the world but it can still be milled at home with a good grain mill.
  • WHOLE GRAIN. Teff is a whole grain - ivory teff is just a different color of varietal, it's not de-germed. It's high in fiber and protein.
  • HYDRATION RANGE. Teff has a huge hydration range at which it still works, which I've measured at 70-120% hydration.
  • FLAVOR. The flavor of teff can vary wildly based on other ingredients in the dough, as well as fermentation time, temperature, and hydration.
  • FLAVOR ENHANCEMENTS. Bringing out different flavors: milk or whey products make teff bread taste nuttier, somewhat like hazelnut. Molasses makes it taste a little spicy like cinnamon and cloves.
  • FERMENTATION. Teff ferments very well and quickly. It's one of the grains that's considered the best gluten-free substitute for rye flour. This recipe doesn't include any sugar because it doesn't need it to rise, however, it can be added for a quicker rise or more flavor.
100% Teff Sourdough Bread Recipe (6)
100% Ivory Teff

100% Teff Sourdough Bread Recipe

Gluten free, dairy free, vegan, egg free, sugar free

Making the sourdough culture: 3 days, or

Teff specific sourdough starter method: 5 days

Mixing ingredients: 10 minutes

rest time: 2 hours

Rise time: 4-6 hours

Bake time 30-40 minutes

This recipe yields a small loaf, what I call a half loaf. I have not tried doubling it yet but feel free to experiment. This recipe can easily be mixed by hand but you can also make it in a stand mixer.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl or stand mixer:

200g brown or ivory teff flour

10g powdered or ground psyllium husk

4g salt

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients

50g teff sourdough starter (click hereor here to find the method for creating it)

240g spring water (use less for a firmer loaf, or more for a more flexible loaf.)

When the ingredients are fully mixed, let the dough rest for two hours to allow the psyllium to hydrate.

After resting, remix or knead the dough until smooth. Shape the dough into a boule and place in a banneton or towel-lined bowl seam-side up.

100% Teff Sourdough Bread Recipe (7)
Shaped boule placed seam-side up

100% Teff Sourdough Bread Recipe (8)
Boule fully proofed (~5 hours)

Leave the dough to rise for 4-6 hours. You'll know it's ready to bake when it's increased in size about 50% and it's noticeably springier to the touch. Preheat the oven to 450°f/230°c with a baking vessel inside or set it up for steaming the bread for the first part of the bake.

Invert the bread so it's seam-side down on a piece of parchment paper. Place in the baking vessel and score. Bake at 450°f/230°c for 15 minutes covered or with steam. Uncover the bread (or remove the steam) and bake another 15 minutes uncovered/without steam. If needed, bake another 5 minutes directly on the rack or until the bread makes a hollow sound when tapped with your knuckles.

Let the bread cool on a rack.


100% Teff Sourdough Bread Recipe (9)

100% Teff Sourdough Bread Recipe (2024)


Can you make sourdough with teff? ›

This gluten-free sourdough loaf is made with a mix of teff and chestnut flour, warming spices like cardamom and cinnamon, and a handful of dry, unsweetened berries. It's so easy to make, and it has a rich, earthy and nutty flavor.

What can sourdough fermentation process do to teff flour? ›

Fermentation increases the fraction of soluble fiber in teff flour. Fermentation of teff flour decreases the content in accessible protein thiols. Addition of fermented teff flour (25%) improves the texture properties of gluten free bread.

Is teff flour good for baking bread? ›

Teff flour is typically used in injera, a traditional Ethiopian flatbread, but can also be used to make quick breads, muffins, pancakes, and cookies. It works particularly well in combination with other gluten free flours like buckwheat flour and almond flour.

What is the healthiest sourdough bread? ›

“The whole-grain sourdoughs have more fiber, protein and micronutrients, making them more filling and healthier for you overall,” says Natalie Rizzo, registered dietitian and nutrition editor at TODAY.com. When choosing a sourdough loaf, look for ones that have whole wheat, spelt or rye, Rizzo adds.

What are the disadvantages of teff? ›

Side-Effects & Allergies of Teff Grain
  • Teff is high in fibre and excessive consumption fibre might cause the problem of bloating and gas.
  • The level of thiamine in teff is typically lower than other cereal grains. ...
  • Teff contains a high amount of phytate which inhibits mineral absorption.
Sep 3, 2020

Why did Ethiopians use teff instead of wheat? ›

Teff contains more lysine than barley, millet, and wheat and slightly less than rice or oats. Teff is also an excellent source of fiber and iron, and has many times the amount of calcium, potassium and other essential minerals found in an equal amount of other grains.

Does teff have to be fermented? ›

Fermenting teff is an essential step in making injera. The fermentation process not only enhances the flavor of the teff but also makes it easier to digest. Additionally, fermenting teff helps to break down antinutrients, making the grain's nutrients more bioavailable.

What happens if you ferment sourdough too long? ›

The loaf is also inclined to over spring resulting in a crumb with big, random, holes or channels running through the loaf. If you over-ferment the dough you run the risk of the gluten structure degrading and the loaf turning into a puddle of goo before your eyes, never to be retrieved and destined for the bin.

What is the difference between fermented injera and teff flour? ›

While teff is very nutritious, it contains practically no gluten. This makes teff ill-suited for making raised bread, however injera still takes advantage of the special properties of yeast. A short period of fermentation gives it an airy, bubbly texture, and also a slightly sour taste.

Does teff flour spike insulin? ›

Teff has a low glycaemic index. This is thanks to its high-quality protein and fibre content, which ensures energy is released into the bloodstream slowly, preventing spikes in glucose. That helps maintain steady blood sugar levels, and as such teff is good for controlling and preventing type 2 diabetes.

Is teff flour high in lectins? ›

There are three ancient grains that are lectin-free and gluten free: Sorghum, Millet, and Teff.

Can you substitute teff flour for all purpose flour? ›

Substitute Teff Flour for about a fourth of the all-purpose flour called for in your favorite baked goods recipe to add an appealing taste and added nutrition. Naturally gluten free, teff is a wonderful way to add something a bit exotic to your diet.

Is it OK to eat sourdough bread everyday? ›

Is it healthy to eat sourdough everyday? You could eat sourdough every day, but it isn't necessarily healthy to do so. A healthy diet is characterized by balance and moderation. Whether or not it is healthy for you to consume sourdough every day depends on the rest of your diet.

Is Panera sourdough bread real sourdough? ›

Much like Panera's lackluster rewards program, Panera's sourdough is similarly disappointing -- it isn't real sourdough. Sourdough is the oldest enduring type of bread.

Is Aldi sourdough bread real sourdough? ›

ALDI has “real” sourdough bread (no yeast). Being somewhat gluten intolerant, I have found “real” sourdough works for me, no bloating etc.

Can teff be substituted for flour? ›

Substitute Teff Flour for about a fourth of the all-purpose flour called for in your favorite baked goods recipe to add an appealing taste and added nutrition. Naturally gluten free, teff is a wonderful way to add something a bit exotic to your diet.

What ingredients should not be in sourdough bread? ›

The inside of the bread should be bubbly and chewy and the bread should have a slightly tangy taste. Real sourdough bread does not contain additives like oil, milk, corn, and dough conditioners. It is made with whole grains and is generally more expensive than regular bread.

Can you replace regular flour with teff flour? ›

A general rule of thumb when working with teff flour is to substitute ¼ of the flour called for in any baking recipe (gluten-free or not). It will add a significant amount of nutritional value to all your delicious creations!

What grain is best for sourdough? ›

Any flour containing starch is suitable for a sourdough starter, since it is the sugar that the microbes feed on. Glutenous flours, such as spelt, einkorn, rye, and wheat, tend to work best.


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