The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

hi from Addis Ababa

sarah567's picture

hi from Addis Ababa

hello, I'm Sarah, I'm British and live in Ethiopia. I make most of my own bread in the UK, although I'm not an expert by any means, but I'm having issues here so I am hoping someone can help with my very specific enquiry!

No one knows what I'm talking about when I ask if there is any such thing as 'strong' flour - all flour here is called 'plain' and it makes a very cake/ biscuit-like bread - I guess it is quite soft/ low in gluten. Is there by any small chance another bread-making enthusiast on this forum who could tell me a) if it exists here and b) either how to ask for it in Amharic or where to buy it in Addis Ababa?! 

Or is there anything you can do with 'plain' flour to help make better bread? Most shop bread is pretty poor and insubstantial, but there is one type of delicious and chewy bread (called ambasha/ himbasha) - I don't know if they have a different kind of flour (people I have asked said no) or what they do to make it a better texture - any ideas?

thanks for your help!

yozzause's picture

Hi Sarah 

i found this a link that you might be able to use to contact local suppliers

and this too

But from this clip you could be up against it a bit!


Anyway good luck Sarah and welcome to TFL

kind regards Derek


pul's picture

Have you tried blue Emmer, which is famous from Ethiopia?

Andylute's picture

Hi Sarah!

The Ethiopian Jews who have come to Israel have brought their cooking with them. You can now buy teff flour in most health food stores here. Do you use teff? Do you make injera?

Good luck & welcome to the forum!

albacore's picture

Hi Sarah, if you have no joy sourcing alternative flours, I'm just wondering if you could get some vital wheat gluten shipped in and add it to the local flour?

A little should go a long way as it is 75% protein, so it wouldn't take much to boost protein by 3-4%.

I've never tried it myself - maybe another TFLer with knowledge of its use can comment on this option.

Good luck with your baking!


Danni3ll3's picture

to help you add that vital Wheat gluten:

sarah567's picture

thanks everyone for your replies - very helpful!

the article about shortages is sobering, but you can still buy flour readily enough - I think it is the cheaper bakeries where people rely on that bread as part of their staple diet where people are suffering from the increased prices. I am privileged enough to worry about quality over supply, which puts me in the minority.

I buy rather than make injera, as i don't have the equipment (mitad) to make it, plus it's so easy and cheap to buy. I've used teff flour before for pancakes and banana bread, it has a lovely flavour but no gluten as far as i know. Some shops here sell teff bread (mixed with wheat), which has been dry and disappointing whenever I've tried it - again, I think the problem is with the wheat flour.

great idea to order some vital gluten and add it. There is something called 'bread improver' i have seen for sale here - do you think that could be gluten? It wasn't clear from the packaging (I think it was in Arabic).

I've never heard of blue emmer, but will try to ask around - I've not been a very experimental baker so far, I will have to delve into this forum and also keep asking around locally to see if I can find the solution to making a better loaf.

I'll post again if I have any success -- and anyone reading who does know what or where to look specifically in Addis, please post here!

thanks again everyone

albacore's picture

Bread improvers are mixtures of additives, generally considered to be on the edge of "naturalness".

They are mainly used commercially, with the aim of reducing process time, increasing loft, reducing staling,

Some may contain wheat gluten as well, but I don't think that is the norm.