We’ve all heard of quinoa and its touted health benefits, but there’s another ancient gluten-free grain that’s about to make waves. It’s called teff, and it’s been a favourite in Ethiopian cooking for centuries.
Teff is the world’s smallest grain, and research shows that its fibre content is several times higher than wheat or rice. It also contains resistant starch. Its protein content is similar to wheat and it’s higher in iron than the more widely used grains. It’s also good source of calcium and other minerals. To top it off, it contains no allergens.
Riverina farmers, Fraser and Shane McNaul, started growing teff to diversify their cropping program so that it’s more sustainable and innovative. Teff’s growing season is short, from around December to March, and it fits neatly in between their usual crops of wheat, barley, corn and rice. By the time it’s harvested, teff looks like tall grass and the grain is so small it’s hard to hold it in your hand because it almost just runs through your fingers.
The McNauls started a company, Outback Harvest, and we’re collaborating with Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL) to help them develop teff-based snacks and baked goods for retail markets around Australia.
With our expertise in food science and new product development, we have developed prototype muffins, bread and dry cake mixes. We also produced extruded teff snacks in our world-class pilot-scale food innovation centre in Werribee, Victoria.
When it’s milled, the brown teff produces a darker coloured flour that has a chocolate-like flavour, ideally suited to a product like muffins. The ivory teff produces lighter coloured flour with a nutty flavour, making it perfect for pancakes!
Fraser has moved to Melbourne to concentrate on developing packaging, marketing and distributing the first retail products, which have been endorsed as gluten-free by Coeliac Australia and Coeliac New Zealand. He is considering expanding into other value-adding opportunities such as snack bars, tortillas and flat breads.
Look out for brown and ivory teff foods soon.
Food Innovation Centre
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16th June 2019 at 11:33 am
Great, I’ve got Teff flour in my cupboard as I had a go at making Injera – are you going to publish the recipe for the muffins? I’d like to try making them.