Teff Flour is a staple of Ethiopian cuisine. This ground-up ancient grain is used to make injera, the soft flatbread that accompanies almost every Ethiopian meal.
Although teff is most prevalent in Ethiopia and neighboring countries, its high calcium and resistant starch content inspired many people to dub it the new superfood. It is also gluten-free, so more and more people with gluten sensitivities are using this versatile grain in their cooking and baking.
While teff flour is growing in popularity, it can still be challenging to find in most ordinary grocery stores. Luckily, there are a few other flours that work as a substitute.
1. Quinoa Flour
Quinoa flour is a staple food in South America, particularly the Andes highlands. Although they come from different parts of the world, quinoa flour and teff flour are very similar. Both are gluten-free and high in nutrients. Quinoa flour is even better for people with severe grain sensitivities because the quinoa plant is a seed, not a grain.
You can use quinoa flour in bread, pizza doughs, and other baking projects. However, quinoa flour is denser and more bitter than teff. Therefore, you may need to lower the quantities to prevent it from overwhelming your dish.
2. Tapioca Flour
Tapioca flour is not technically flour but starch. It is made from ground-up cassava roots. Although it originates in South America, its high nutrient content and versatility are helping it grow in popularity elsewhere in the world. Tapioca flour is also gluten-free and paleo-friendly.
Tapioca flour is an excellent thickener for sauces, stews, and puddings. You can also bake with it. However, your baked goods will come out fluffier and airier, thanks to the lighter texture of tapioca flour. You may need to adjust your recipes because too much tapioca flour makes baked goods too sticky.
3. Sorghum Flour
Like teff, sorghum flour is flour that comes from an ancient grain. It also has a rich nutritious profile and is naturally gluten-free (although some manufacturers mix it with other flours, so be careful when shopping).
Sorghum flour has a light, airy texture, just like teff, so it works well as a replacement in baking. However, sorghum is much sweeter than teff flour, so you should use it only in dessert recipes to avoid accidentally making sweet bread.
4. Rice Flour
Rice flour is one of the most common gluten-free flours available to modern bakers.
Initially developed in Asia, rice flour comes in white and brown varieties. It is light and airy, the same as teff, and yields soft baked goods that won’t make you miss gluten at all. You can also use rice flour to make porridge, which is another common usage for teff flour.
However, rice flour lacks teff’s distinctive fermented taste. When substituting rice flour, add extra salt or seasoning so that your dish doesn’t turn out bland.
5. Oat Flour
Finally, oat flour is an excellent substitute for teff flour. Both flours are gluten-free and packed with nutrients. Both are versatile, and you can use them in baked goods, as thickeners in sauces, and to make porridge. They even have a similarly rich, nutty taste.
Oat flour is more accessible than teff flour. You can find it in most regular grocery stores and almost every health food store. You can even make it home by grinding up oats in the food processor.
However, oat flour is denser than teff flour so adjust quantities when making baked goods.
While teff flour is a beautiful, versatile ingredient, it still has a way to go before being widely available. However, the other gluten-free flours on this list can act as a substitute when you need them.