Injera is the staple bread in the horn of Africa especially in countries like Eritrea and Ethiopia, Somali, and also in Yemen. Injera is a name given by Tigrigna and Amharic speakers written as እንጀራ. It is also named differently by different people and in different locations. For example; Oromo, Budenaa; Somali: Canjeero, Djibouti, lahooh; Yemen, lahoh. Over 60 million people consume injera on a daily basis and it is a major element of diet formulation. It is utilized in almost all-traditional cuisines. The bread is unique in appearance and texture. It is one of the most delicate food items to automate due to its characteristics that includes; “bubbly eye”, circular flat geometry, very elastic, smooth back surface and a fluffy texture. Preparation requires a long time process of between two to six days depending on type of grain used, use of starters, and weather condition.
Injera can be produced from almost any staple grain, such as sorghum, pearl millet, wheat, barley, maize and teff. Grains selected affect injera indifferent ways such as the grain property such as grain rheology, nutritional content and biological properties. The method of injera preparation varies from household to household and from area to area. However, in general, injera prparation involves mixing, fermentation and baking. The ingredients used are one or two mixtures of grains, water, salt and a starter, which is usually left from the the previous dough and is added to intitiate the fermentation process.
Traditionally, injera is baked by pouring a fermented dough on a hot clay griddle and is covered when cooked. The dough is partially cooked to gelatinize the starch. The carbondioxide produced during the fermentation process is trapped and leavens the injera on baking. After baking, it is exposed without being covered to loss its heat content. Then, it is fully covered to avoid further removal of water inorder to avoid dehydration. A freshly baked injera can last for a maximum of seven days depending on the weather condition, coverage used and type of grain.
Injera making is still keeping its traditional mode of production techlonogy. But, the science is not yet well dealt and people are not fully awared on this. In addition, because of high consumers and continous urbanization of the region, people need an in-depth knowledge of making injera. There is also high market potential if the means of production is keeping the traditional sensory qualities and produced with more energy efficient, with effective time, extended shelf life and market availabilty.