Gluten-Free Flours: Teff Flour

Welcome to your guide to Teff flour, the nutrient packed sweet malty gluten-free flour. This is our eighth venture into the fascinating world of gluten-free flours.

overhead view of teff flour on a wooden board with spoons

What is teff?

Teff is an ancient grain which is inextricably linked to Ethiopia, it is the most important crop grown on native soil and forms the bulk of the country’s diet and nutrition. The teff grain is cooked up into porridge and used in savoury dishes, however the flour is mostly used for injera. This is a sour fermented flatbread widely used in place of cutlery to scoop up and hold food.

Teff is so incredibly important to Ethiopia that export of the grain itself is prohibited. Only teff products and finely milled flours are allowed to leave the country. As such teff is expensive to buy over here, as even though it’s now grown in other countries it is still a niche product. Teff is naturally gluten-free but be wary of ordering injera in your local Ethiopian restaurant as it has more than likely been cut with wheat to be made more economically.

What are the nutritional benefits of teff flour?

Teff is gluten-free which is great news for coeliacs and the gluten-intolerant but it is also high in vitamins and minerals and is somewhat of a ‘superfood’. It has excellent amino acid composition, it is high in fibre and calcium – a cup of teff contains as much as half a cup of spinach. Teff is rich in iron, high in protein (in fact it provides Ethiopians with two-thirds of their dietary protein) and boosts Vitamin C (rare for a grain). It is also full of the resistant starch which helps to regulate blood sugars.

overhead view of brown teff flour on a wooden board with a spoon

What is the difference between ivory teff flour and brown teff flour?

There are several varieties of teff including red teff but the most common flours we see are ivory and brown. They both have a similar texture but brown teff flour tastes slightly more earthy, white teff flour is milder and sweeter.

overhead view of ivory teff flour on a wooden board with spoon

How can you use teff flour?

Teff flour bakes up superbly but it can have a slightly grainy consistency. I use it more prolifically in chocolate recipes where the chocolate smoothes out the graininess somewhat. And if you use it alongside ground nuts the graininess also gets lost.

Teff flour is not a gelatinous flour so cannot mimic the qualities of gluten. It is possible to use it as the sole flour in recipes as long as you are pairing it with chocolate or ground nuts. Otherwise you are best to blend it in your bake with a more ‘sticky’ flour like sweet rice flour or tapioca.

The main reason for using teff flour though is its wonderful malty molasses-like taste. It is such a fine tasting, flour and like many alternative flours, if used in the right cake, will support and enhance the flavours rather than providing a neutral background.

What flavours pair well with teff flour?

Deep and rich flavours pair very well with earthy teff flour. Try it in a coffee cake or spice cake. Teff also gets on especially well with banana, caramel, oats, nuts, honey but especially chocolate, like in these Mini Chocolate Peppermint Bundts.

Mini Chocolate Peppermint Bundts

Teff flour is also the perfect flour to use in your Christmas Pudding as it goes so well with the richly spiced flavours.

Chocolate Chip Clementine Christmas Pudding with Cointreau Sauce

Where can you buy teff flour?

There are plenty of brands to choose from where teff is concerned and Amazon will always be my go-to choice for my flours due to the choice and the subscribe and save option. Bob’s Red Mill is the most widely available brand and produces brown teff flour. You should be able to find it in health or organic shops, but it’s also stocked by Ocado.

Tobia Teff produces both brown and ivory teff flour and is a British company which are also stocked quite readily at health food and organic shops.


Yourhealthstore also supplies brown teff flour and is another good brand.

This post is not sponsored but the links above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these links to make your purchases then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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overhead view of teff flour on a wooden board with spoons behind text saying guide to gluten free flours. Teff flour. the culture of teff, how can you use it, all the info you need.

MORE RECIPES WHICH MAKE THE MOST OF TEFF FLOUR

Sticky Toffee Baileys Pudding

The Baileys in this Sticky Toffee Baileys Pudding is the best way to reinvent the British pub dessert classic. Baileys is baked into the sponge and poured liberally into the toffee sauce for heavenly reasons. This gluten-free version also goes one step further by using teff flour instead of wheat flour adding a further complexity of flavour.

Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies

Gluten-free Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies are packed with honeyed black sesame, swirled generously with peanut butter layered through the brownie and topped with salted peanuts and black sesame.

Sticky Ginger and Whisky Cake with Lime Drizzle

Sticky Ginger and Whisky Cake with Lime Drizzle {gluten-free}

Choc Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

Choc Chip Cookie Dough Brownies {gluten-free}

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Image of banana bread with text overlay Xanthan Gum

Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies {gluten-free}

Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies are a richly decadent fudgy treat. Packed with honeyed black sesame, swirled generously with peanut butter layered through the brownie and topped with salted peanuts and black sesame.

Gluten-free Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies are packed with honeyed black sesame, swirled generously with peanut butter layered through the brownie and topped with salted peanuts and black sesame.

It’s important to have a particularly good brownie in your back pocket and this is mine.

Well it was anyway. For years, happily attending cake stalls with me, being brought to hen weekends, or baked up in a big old batch when only the dark intense comfort of chocolate can satisfy.

The thing was, that as it stood, my brownie recipe was created with plain old wheat flour. As I transitioned to a 100% gluten-free way to life last year I just couldn’t abandon my tried and true Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies on the wayside. So I set forth on a quest to make them gluten-free without losing any of their taste or texture.

Gluten-free Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies are packed with honeyed black sesame, swirled generously with peanut butter layered through the brownie and topped with salted peanuts and black sesame.

If you’re interested in reading about how you might change a brownie recipe made with wheat flour to a gluten-free version which is just as wickedly delicious then do read on.

I can’t lie this brownie is not the same beast as it was back in its old wheat incarnation. No, when I made the switch I opted to inject more flavour into this already wonderful brownie and the flours used intensified its fudgy interior. Instead this gluten-free Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownie is better than it ever was before.

How do you make a brownie recipe gluten-free?

In a lot of brownie recipes flour is almost an afterthought which is why they are so easy to make gluten-free. If a brownie recipe uses less than 100g of plain flour then try just swapping in a generic gluten-free flour blend. You will barely notice the difference. Though if you rely on these blends for recipes which require a lot more flour then you will become aware of the slightly gritty, more crumbly qualities that bad gluten-free baking is famous for.

You might even decide if there is only a scant amount of flour involved that you would like to substitute ground almonds which would be an excellent decision. You will certainly notice a difference in taste and texture if you go this route but it will be a delicious one, more squidgy and flavourful and of course packed with protein – practically a healthy snack.

Gluten-free Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies are packed with honeyed black sesame, swirled generously with peanut butter layered through the brownie and topped with salted peanuts and black sesame.

These changes wouldn’t work with the Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownie though as not only would almonds compete with the layers of flavour this brownie is already boasting but it also required 175g of plain flour which is a fair amount for a brownie and too much for a straight swap of a gluten-free flour blend.

When I initially created this recipe I wanted the brownie to be bigger, bolder and better than other brownies I had tried so with the 300g of melted dark chocolate and 4 eggs in the mix that large amount of flour was needed to hold the brownie together.

Gluten-free baking is a challenge but also really good fun as the playing field is wide in terms of which flours you choose to use for which cake. It gives the baker an extra element of control and is so satisfying when you get the exact right blend of flours right. Here I had a lot of flour to play with and I didn’t want to lose the integrity of the original brownie so I had to choose wisely.

Gluten-free Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies are packed with honeyed black sesame, swirled generously with peanut butter layered through the brownie and topped with salted peanuts and black sesame.

I plumped for teff flour as the lead flour for flavour. Teff is an ancient Ethiopian flour with a slightly malty cocoa aroma and so it is not an unusual choice for a brownie. The teff flour adds an extra element to the brownie batter, providing a subtle landscape for the black sesame and peanut butter flavours.

However, I didn’t just want to swap in 175g of teff flour as the taste would be a little overwhelming plus the brownie would probably cave in on itself due to the fine nature of teff flour. Somehow I needed to replicate the job the gluten makes to hold it all together.

Gluten-free Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies are packed with honeyed black sesame, swirled generously with peanut butter layered through the brownie and topped with salted peanuts and black sesame.

This is where the tapioca flour comes in. Before gluten-free baking my tapioca flour would only ever emerge when I made a fruit pie recipe, as it’s often used to thicken up the juices so to avoid soggy bottoms and create a silky fruit sauce.

Now tapioca flour has become a firm friend of mine. A couple of tablespoons here and there help enormously to bind flours, warding away the threat of crumbly dry cakes. 25g is all that is needed in this brownie, you don’t want too much lest the cake gets gummy.

Gluten-free Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies are packed with honeyed black sesame, swirled generously with peanut butter layered through the brownie and topped with salted peanuts and black sesame.

However I still needed a little extra flour as I was lacking in bulk, I chose to split the difference between white rice flour and potato starch, both great neutral flours. I used 25g of each but you can use 50g of either for simplicity if you like.

The new improved Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownie is finally ready to share with the world. It’s still my absolute favourite brownie recipe, now even more so with the added benefits of teff flour. The effect of intoxicating black sesame seeds, gathered into a paste with honey and married with the peanut butter swirls is glorious. The crunch of salted peanuts and black sesame seeds scattered across the top takes it to another level.

Gluten-free Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies are packed with honeyed black sesame, swirled generously with peanut butter layered through the brownie and topped with salted peanuts and black sesame.

These photographs were taken in collaboration with the brilliant Tara Sura from Fork and Dram who I had the pleasure of working with recently. She did a beautiful job styling these brownies and most of the above images were taken by her.

Print Recipe
Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies {gluten-free}
Fudgy gluten-free Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies are packed with honeyed black sesame, swirled generously with peanut butter layered through the brownie and topped with salted peanuts and black sesame.
Gluten-free Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies are packed with honeyed black sesame, swirled generously with peanut butter layered through the brownie and topped with salted peanuts and black sesame.
Keyword brownies
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
12 brownies
Ingredients
  • 130 g black sesame seeds + 2 teaspoons for scattering
  • 90 g light honey
  • 100 g smooth peanut butter
  • 300 g dark chocolate
  • 150 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 120 g light brown soft sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 100 g teff flour
  • 25 g white rice flour
  • 25 g potato starch
  • 25 g tapioca flour
  • 25 g cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 30 g salted peanuts roughly chopped
Keyword brownies
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
12 brownies
Ingredients
  • 130 g black sesame seeds + 2 teaspoons for scattering
  • 90 g light honey
  • 100 g smooth peanut butter
  • 300 g dark chocolate
  • 150 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 120 g light brown soft sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 100 g teff flour
  • 25 g white rice flour
  • 25 g potato starch
  • 25 g tapioca flour
  • 25 g cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 30 g salted peanuts roughly chopped
Gluten-free Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies are packed with honeyed black sesame, swirled generously with peanut butter layered through the brownie and topped with salted peanuts and black sesame.
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C and line and grease a 20cm square cake tin.
  2. Pour the sesame seeds into a food processor and whizz for 5-10 minutes until the seeds are broken down and are beginning to release their oils. Then add the honey and continue to process until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Heat the peanut butter until melted and pour into a piping bag. Set to one side.
  4. Melt the chocolate slowly in a bain marie then also set aside.
  5. Meanwhile beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in well. Then add the vanilla extract.
  7. Pour in the melted chocolate and the black sesame paste and mix well.
  8. In a separate bowl sift together the flours and cocoa powder then fold into the rest of the batter.
  9. Pour half of the brownie batter into the cake tin.
  10. Then pipe the molten peanut butter in zig zag lines on top of the batter. Using a wooden skewer, draw continual circles through the peanut butter lines to create a swirl pattern.
  11. Pour the rest of the brownie batter over, smooth the surface, then pipe and swirl the rest of the molten peanut butter in the same way.
  12. Scatter the salted peanuts and remaining black sesame seeds over the top.
  13. Bake for 25 minutes in the centre of the oven.
  14. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
  15. Once cool cut into 12 squares.

 

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Choc Chip Cookie Dough Brownies {gluten-free}

Choc Chip Cookie Dough Brownies {gluten-free}