Teff Times

The Whole Grains Council has listed teff as one of the grains for November. As today is the last day of the month, I would like to highlight this grain.

Teff is nutritious. It contains minerals (calcium, iron), fibre and a full complement of amino acids (especially lysine, often low in plant-based proteins). It is also gluten-free and helps manage blood sugar. Teff is a tiny grain so is always available in its whole form rather than a refined version. The grains can be cooked like other grains or ground into a flour for use in baked goods.

Tip: Replace one-third of the flour in any cookie/cake/muffin/bread recipe with teff flour.

To cook, use a 3:1 ratio of liquid (water, stock, dairy/non-dairy milk) to teff grains. For a happening oatmeal dish, add some teff grains to steel-cut and whole grain oats and cook as you normally would prepare porridge. Whether grain or flour, teff can be used in sweet and savoury dishes.

Teff originated in Ethiopia thousands of years ago and is also eaten in Eritrea, a neighbouring country. It has a nutty taste and the cereal grain is actually the seed of a grass called lovegrass (eragrostis). Teff is a staple food in Ethiopia, much like wheat in Canada or rice in certain parts of Asia. The most popular food using teff is injera, a spongy sourdough pancake found in Ethiopian cuisine.

How I use teff…in breakfast oatmeal, in baked goods, pilaf, in sauces and veggie burgers

For a more detailed description and some recipes, see the following link from the Whole Grains Council:



Around the World in 80 Bites – Bite 25

Bite 25 – Bread

Man cannot live on bread alone but Kimberley can. I love bread! No matter where I go in the world nor what type of cuisine I encounter there is always some sort of bread. It’s the one thing that every culture has in culinary common.

quick, yeasted, un/leavened, flat, loaf, buns, rustic, sourdough, enriched, artisan, plain 

And the bread beat goes on…

Bread is the one food I have been eating my whole life and have never tired of it. I have now earned my artisan bread baking certificate and continue to put it to good and regular use. Occasionally I am without my daily bread but too long without and all is not right in my world. Bread is the staff of my life.

Using whole grain well

I’m down with brown and white’s not alright – the truth about whole wheat versus whole grain

There are three parts to grain kernels: germ, bran and endosperm. Whole wheat usually only contains the latter two while whole grain contains all three. Whole wheat flour is sometimes just white flour with the bran added back in. The texture is quite granular. Other brands of whole wheat flour are mildly refined (only the germ is removed) and the texture is smooth. Some breads advertise “made with 100% whole wheat” but check the ingredient list. Often these breads are made with a combination of refined, or white flour, and 100% whole wheat flour. This is an example of marketing trickery. Breads made solely with whole wheat and/or whole grain flour usually add extra gluten to help with dough structure.

If going for whole grain buy stone ground flour and store in fridge if not using right away. If using whole wheat flour, add wheat germ to the mix and store along with the wheat germ in the fridge. Wheat germ and wheat bran are readily available in most grocery stores.

In commercial flour production the germ and bran are removed resulting in protein and nutrient loss. The essential oils contained within the germ degrade with the heat from the milling of industrial machines. This along with expedient bulk production, long storage capacity and transportation requirements make the removal of the good stuff necessary.

Whole grain is a thirsty flour. Adjust liquids accordingly or add applesauce, banana or other puréed fruit (dates, raisins) to the mix to retain moisture. Whole grains also produce a denser dough. Use a small percentage of a lighter flour (eg brown rice flour, whole wheat pastry flour) to balance the heaviness. Handle the dough gently, don’t over knead and throw in some wheat gluten to help with the conditioning of the dough. The addition of a sourdough starter and some nuts/seeds also greatly enhances the flavour of whole grain loaves.