Recipe for Ethiopian flatbread remains a treasured secret

Yodit Seyoum

The bakers of some of Seattle’s best injera keep the secrets to making the famed Ethiopian flatbread close to the vest.

Bakers are good at keeping secrets. And Yodit Seyoum is no exception.

“Only me and my husband make the dough,” she told me over the phone when I asked her if I could tag along on a batch of what some call the best injera in Seattle.

Injera is a soft, sour flatbread made with an Ethiopian grain called teff and is eaten throughout East Africa as well as in Ethiopian, Eritrean and Somali restaurants and homes in the Pacific Northwest.

I first encountered injera as a teenager when I hung out with my Garfield High School buds at the cluster of Ethiopian restaurants on Cherry Street. These restaurants offered inexpensive platters of spicy stews piled on huge disks of bread — which served as both a platter and a utensil.

But I didn’t really get to know injera until I was on reporting trip to Ethiopia a few years back. There it was served as a staple at every meal and inspired a deep pride in the Ethiopians I met, many who peppered me with facts about its origins and nutritional merits. read more