Teff – healthy, gluten-free and trendy
Teff is one of the stars of the so-called superfoods and is also becoming increasingly popular as a food in Europe. It is a type of cereal that has been grown and eaten in its native Ethiopia for thousands of years. At Schär, we have already produced the Schär Twin Bar, the Schär Brown Crispbread and the Pizza Veggie ai Cereali using teff, which we source from controlled crop fields in Turkey. That’s because only the finest raw ingredients are used to make our Schär products.
The smallest cereal in the world
Teff, also known as Williams’ lovegrass, grows relatively quickly and doesn’t need much water. It is harvested around three months after sowing and is the smallest cereal in the world – around 150 of its grains are equivalent to the size of one single grain of wheat. However, the mini cereal is one hundred per cent gluten free and contains outstanding nutrients. Teff is essentially suitable for anyone, but especially for people with wheat or gluten intolerance (coeliac disease), endurance athletes, vegetarians, vegans and diabetics.
What’s in teff
Teff has a higher nutrient content than other types of cereal, such as wheat, corn and barley. It is rich in essential fatty acids, has a high mineral content (iron, potassium, zinc and magnesium) and a high protein and vitamin content. It contains all essential amino acids and is also high in fibre, combined with a low GI value (for maintaining a steady blood glucose level). The high lysine and calcium content is good for muscles and bones.
Teff thus not only contains valuable minerals, but also staves off hunger. Its high roughage content slows down the rise of the blood glucose level. For this reason, the gluten free cereal is not just an integral part of the nutrition plan of many top athletes. Calorie-conscious celebrities such as Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow and ‘Posh Spice’, aka Victoria Beckham, swear by the little wonder cereal.
How teff is used in the kitchen
Teff is available in three varieties: white, brown and red. The nutty, slightly sweet-tasting teff flour is obtained from the gluten free seed. Since the grains are very hard, they are ground together with the husk to produce wholemeal flour. It can be used in the same way as wheat: whole teff grains can be used to make porridge, soufflé, soups and patties, for example, or mixed with muesli. Furthermore, unlike many other gluten free flour varieties, teff flour is ideal for baking bread, cakes and biscuits, making pancakes and pizza dough and even thickening sauces.