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Teff! Does Anybody Know If Teff Is Okay?

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Injera, that stretchy Ethiopian bread is made of teff. Does anybody know for sure if it is gluten free or not?

I am finding conflicting reports on the Internet.


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It's on the safe list on this site. However, the bread itself may have wheat four, much the same way most cornbreads or some buckwheat noodles are a combination of safe and unsafe flours.

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tef [Eragrostis tef] (tef grass or teff) Very small black ancient grain of the millet family. Principal grain in Ethiopian bread (Injera), which is described as a soft, porous, thin pancake.

According to the Celiac Sprue Association web site it is. I have seen it in gluten-free breads before and it is included as an ok ingredient on those gluten-free restaurant cards.

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Woo-hoo! :D

Thank you, thank you, thank you! You guys are fabulous!

I am not really interested in the bread, but in the grain (or rather the flour) itself. Ahearn classes it as dubious on her website but other places say it's safe.

It is time for another experimental leap, I think. :lol: Let's see if I can find some easily.


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Teff is delicious! I just ordered some through Amazon. Prior to that I'd purchased some at a co-op in a city I traveled through, so you may find it at a local store. This was the first brand I found - http://www.teffco.com/

Let me know if you need any recipes once you find the flour (oh, and btw, don't make the mistake of thinking you can grind the grain, if you happen to find it - I tried that - a coffee grinder, blender, and mortar & pestle ...none worked...the grain is too fine).

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I agree with the previous post. T'eff does have a nice flavor. I have both the flour and the grain, and it works well for a number of things.

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I use Teff esp in anything Chocolate. I use mostly a gluten-free flour mix - like if recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups I will use 2 Cup Mix and 1/2 cup teff. Enjoy

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All of my gluten-free books discuss Teff. I would highly recommend getting some (gluten-free books). They are great reference sources.

One in particular is The Best Gluten-Free Family Cookbook, by Donna Washburn & Heather Butt. It contains a very useful information table of thickener substitutions. It describes the properties of the starches Arrowroot, Cornstarch, Potato starch, and Tapioka starch. And the flours Amaranth flour, Bean flour, Rice flour (brown or white), Sorghum flour, and Sweet rice flour. It lists how much to use, how to use them in cooking, the cooked appearance, and extensive tips for each one. Using thickeners is a basic cooking skill that is one of our (Celiacs) main obstacles to overcome, since we can't use the most common thickener of all, regular flour.

Another good one is Living Gluten-Free For Dummies, by Donna Korn. It's packed with useful information cover to cover, presented in a unique way.

Gluten-Free books usually cost less than $15 at webstores such as amazon and usually two will get you free shipping also. :)

best regards, lm

p.s., Who is Ahearn? If she say's Teff is not a gluten-free grain, I'd suggest you get your info somewhere else. B)

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Hi Larry Mac!

I am going to show you what I found-- I am dropping it from the net. It is from Ahearn's site (she wrote the cookbook "gluten free girl".) Ahearn has recipes that use Teff. But this is in the blog section.... and it is why I was so confused. I have a bad feeling this is kind of like the distillation debate....

Also, I was incorrect to say Ahearn classes it as dubious, but Anne the food scientist certainly does on that site. See below.

Here it is...

Anne said...

the language of Ethiopia is called Amharic. You have it mispelled on your site.

Also, there is some question as to whether teff is gluten free. There are some proteins in it that definitely have characteristics of gluten (gliadins).

Also, keep in mind that old grains, "forgotten" grains do not necessarily mean "better" grains. Remember, the people who ate the ancient grains lived on the average 25-30 years, for variety of reasons.

old grains = just old grains, not necessarily anything magically healthy. I am afraid many people fall for the magic.

I am a food scientist.

Anne P.

8:52 AM

Shauna said...


Thank you for catching that typo of mine. I've fixed it, immediately.

I'm interested to hear your take on this. I have to say, though, that I don't automatically assume that old equals better. For those of us who must eat gluten-free, however, there is joy that these grains exist for us. I wouldn't want to live on teff alone, or survive the conditions in Ethiopia you are describing. I'm just glad that I have the choice.

I'd like to hear more about the gluten-free status of teff, if you'd like to email me. According to the latest studies I have read (and I'm always reading them), as well as the celiac centers at Stanford and Columbia, teff is gluten free. I know that I have never had a reaction to it, either, and I'm highly sensitized. But if you'd like to email me, I'd love to talk more about it with you.

Thanks for stopping by.

9:05 AM

Anne said...

Teff is not my area of expertise, but in my studies I read that teff does contain some amount of gliadins. This is the protein molecule found in gluten. In fact, very few grains are truly gluten-free, it is really a spectrum, some have more, some have less.

Personally I like the Ethiopian bread injera (enjera, as some spell it) but I am not sure I would like teff in any other form.

I encourage you to look into the amounts of gluten that teff contains.

Here is one link that confirms that teff contains "very little gluten":

Look under Crop Status:


Always tricky to suggest a grain because most of them (if not all) do contain some gluten. You find this out if you reach deep enough. I am referring to the molecular level. I find that there are organizations, stores, various institutions and consortia that agree to label things as "gluten-free" when they contain little of it. But hardly any grains ARE gluten-free.

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That's a lot more info about Teff than I've seen. I'd probably agree that some of the hype about ancient grains is probably marketing BS. But, who knows?

For one, we don't have a choice but to try our best to find alternatives to wheat flour, undeniably the best product the world has ever seen for baked goods. Secondly, the big money grubbing, greedy corporations have a history of preferring products that grow the easiest, store the best, transport the most efficiently (with the least waste), and are the most profitable. :unsure:

I use a diverse mix of starches and flours in my gluten-free baking. Sometimes I throw a little Teff in there along with everything but the kitchen sink. So, I can't really say anything pro or con about it.

best regards, lm

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I think the person in that discussion who said all grains have some gluten is a bit confused. It's true that all grains contain some kind of protein and grain protein is commonly called gluten (we could talk about corn gluten for example), but the important thing is that only a few grains have a protein structure that is similar enough to give a celiac person trouble. It's not the amount of gluten in a grain, it's the structure of the gluten that is different in different grains.

That said, I know some people don't tolerate teff very well, so it's a good idea to first try just a little bit.


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