What’s the difference between brown and white teff?

November 15, 2018 6:22 am Published by 4 Comments

At Naturally Good Food we sell whole teff grain (brown), along with teff flour from Pure in both brown and white varieties, and wholegrain teff flour from Infinity, again in both brown and white. But what’s the difference between the two colours?

Answer: nothing. Or at least, nothing much!

There are actually three colours of teff: brown, white and red. The colour depends on the strain you use to grow the grain – and that depends on where you live. White teff is only grown in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia. Brown teff and red teff have a wider reach (red teff isn’t very popular and we can’t currently source it).

Nutritionally, there is no difference between the brown and the white. However, there is a slight flavour difference, according to people with particularly developed Teff palates. They reckon that white teff tastes more like chestnuts, while brown teff has an earthy flavour, reminiscent of hazelnuts. Both are mild and slightly sweet to the taste.

Brown or white, it simply doesn’t matter – but it’s well worth including this grain (and its flour) in your diet. Here’s why!

Teff: small but mighty

Teff is an annual grass with extremely small seeds. It’s one of the smallest grains in the world: about the size of the full stop at the end of this sentence. Its name means ‘lost’ in the Amharic language, because that’s what it will be if you drop it on the ground!

A mass of miniscule teff grains

It’s been around for ever. Teff seeds were found in the ruins of pyramids built around 4,000 BC.

As in any grain, the nutrients in teff are concentrated in the germ and bran (ounce for ounce, it has more bran and germ than any other grain). With teff simply too small to hull, its nutrients remain intact through the grinding processes. It’s a great source of amino acids (especially lysine) and of fibre, and is a good supplier of calcium. You’ll also find iron, potassium, phosphorus and thiamin there. It’s naturally gluten-free, too.

Teff is an important food grain in Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it’s used to make injera (a spongy flat bread) and eaten with various stews. It’s growing in popularity worldwide as well, with those who are avoiding gluten. It’s usually eaten fermented (mixed with water overnight), which many find also aids the digestion.

Making injera in Ethiopia with teff      Image: Shaik fayaz shannu; wikimedia commons images

Teff flour is popular with athletes too, as its steady breakdown of starch produces a long-lasting energy boost and promotes stability in blood sugar levels.

How should I use teff?

Teff makes an ideal substitute for wheat flour in things like bread, pasta and pancakes (here’s a Teff Bread recipe for use in a breadmaker). It’s also a useful thickener for gravy and soup.

At Naturally Good Food we’ve amassed a variety of recipes using teff. You can also experiment, of course – we think it’s especially good in chocolate brownie recipes, where its flavour and texture when cooked add a sort of fudginess!

Why not try:

Click here to see all our teff.

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This post was written by Yzanne

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