The history of this all-purpose bread traces back for millennia. Historians date the domestication of teff as far back as 4000 BC. Due to limited rainfall in Eritrea and Ethiopia, only certain areas could grow the necessary teff used to make the bread, originally making it a luxury item. Injera reflects the lifestyle of its place of origin — the bread is vegan, thanks to many Ethiopians forgoing meat by their Orthodox Christian beliefs. Thanks to the use of teff, injera doesn’t contain gluten (via Toronto Star). With such a rich history, unique ingredients, and all-purpose function, the bread naturally has a flavor like no other.
The One-Of-A-Kind Flavor of Injera
If you eat an injera piece without any accompaniment, the bread tastes tangy, bitter, and potentially even sour (via Wild Junket). The unique flavor bouquet of the bread stems from its fermentation process. After mixing the base ingredients, the baker needs to rely on natural, airborne yeast to help ferment the batter, and at first glance, this process looks like your bread has started growing mold! Instead of getting baked in an oven, injera develops its unique texture from getting cooked on a griddle-like flat surface and steaming, resulting in a one-of-a-kind spongy texture that can soak up anything you might throw at it.
Next time you go out for Ethiopian and feel apprehensive about eating with injera, don’t hold back — taste why this bread has stood the test of time. Its unique, tangy flavor and spongy texture truly make eating a fun experience and make you wonder why more foods don’t rely on bread as a utensil and place setting. Give the bread a shot. We think there’s a good chance you won’t be disappointed!