More on injera . . .
Most of the time, I bake all teff or all barley injera, but sometimes I also like to add different kinds of whole grain fours like, whole wheat ስንዴ, zengada ዘንጋዳ (millet), mashila ማሺላ (sorghum) and corn በቆሎto the teff ጤፍ or balrey ገብስ flour, which is called mixed - ቅይጥ. I also like to include a touch of abish አብሽ (fenugreek powder) just like we do it back home.
Baking using wild yeast (አርሾ) is an art crafted in harmony with nature and little science. Using wild yeast for baking is the oldest and the most original form of leavening. Besides the tangy-distinctive flavor bliss of wild yeast baking, the fermentation process, which takes longer prep time produce the content of beneficial bacteria Lactobacillus, which is good for your health.
The art of injera baking involves a few easy steps to guarantee authenticity:
There is a persistent rumor among the Ethiopian Diaspora that some habesha ladies (የሐበሻ ሴቶች) (informal name for Ethiopian women) are not forthcoming with their injera recipe. Coming to our defense, when it comes to baking authentic injera, there is no recipe as such. Really! We’re talking about using natural yeast እርሾ here! Some days it feels like you’re at the mercy of the mighty wild yeast, which has a mind of its own. Trust me, I know these things!
Something as slight as the weather changing can affect the results. I had even heard from people [ እትየ የመንዝ ወርቅ - እንጀራ ጋጋሬ] that a slightly negative energy of people around could create an impact as well. A bit far fetched? Maybe. But let me tell you, when it comes to baking those fluffy, supple and porous kind of injera that we grew up enjoying and nailing it right all the time, you need to think along the line of creating stable temperature (Frigidaire) for those bacteria (natural yeast) to be happy and alive, who create the air bubbles in your mix – dough (ሊጥ). Temperature fluctuation affects the air bubbles to go flat to some extent resulting in flat injera, which is no fun at all.
It’s not that difficult to bake teff-only injera, here in America. What is necessary is good technique. The technique doesn’t require a skill so much as patient and time. Once you understand the basics of creating that perfect injera, you're well on your way to wowing yourself and your family or friends with delicious fresh out of the pan injera not to mention that perfect Kategna (ቃተኛ).
Some helpful tips on authentic injera. . .