Difo Ethiopian Sour Bread Recipe

Difo Ethiopian Sour Bread Recipe

Are you sour bread lover like me? oh my! this one is going to make your test buds so happy that you can’t stop eating, I have to hide it, so I don’t finish the whole thing in just one day or I share it with my neighbor. Now this recipe is how they make it back home in Ethiopian but made easier in American Kitchen.

Jump to Recipe

let’s talk about the ingredients


On this particular recipe I used 2:2 cups white hard wheat from Azure which I Ground myself at home and unbleached flour I got from Trader’s joe. this mixture is the best so far from all my experiments. but if you rather use store bought whole wheat instead of grinding yourself that is ok as well.

Grinding your own wheat flour offers numerous benefits, both nutritionally and culinarily:

  1. Nutritional Value: Freshly ground wheat flour retains more nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins (especially B vitamins), minerals (like iron and magnesium), and antioxidants. Commercial flour often loses these nutrients due to processing and oxidation.
  2. Flavor and Freshness: Freshly ground flour has a richer, more robust flavor compared to store-bought flour, which can taste bland. This freshness enhances the taste and aroma of baked goods.
  3. Control Over Texture and Variety: Grinding your own flour lets you control its fineness or coarseness, suiting different baking needs. You can experiment with various types of wheat, like hard red wheat for bread or soft white wheat for pastries.
  4. Absence of Additives and Preservatives: Commercial flour often contains additives and preservatives. Grinding your own ensures a pure, additive-free product, beneficial for those with allergies or sensitivities.
  5. Cost-Effective and Sustainable: Buying whole grains in bulk is often cheaper than processed flour and reduces packaging waste, contributing to sustainability.
  6. Enhanced Baking Results: Fresh flour hydrates better, improving the texture and rise of bread and other baked goods.

Grinding your own wheat flour enhances nutritional value, flavor, and control in baking, making it a healthier, tastier, and more economical choice.


I used my 16+ year old sourdough starter for this recipe. Many of you have asked for the starter recipe on Facebook and Instagram, so here it is. I use a teff starter along with dry yeast for my Difo. Click here for the teff starter recipe.

To plan ahead, start the day before. Mix 1/2 cup of teff starter with 1/2 cup of wheat flour and 1/2 cup of filtered water (distilled or alkaline water works best). Cover and let it sit at room temperature, about 8 to 10 hours at 70°F (21°C) or even less if you live in a warm environment. The next day, make your dough by adding flour, dry yeast, honey or sugar, and other ingredients. Follow the recipe instructions below.

If your home temperature is too cold, warm your oven for a minute and let your dough rise inside.


This is my first time using Tosign, and I am in love with it! I usually use blackseed, but Tosign, which is Ethiopian thyme, is a bit different from the regular thyme we see here in the US. You can find Tosign in my Amazon store under the title “Tea Herbs” because I use it for tea, niter kibbeh, and now bread. Tosign is great for colds and flu as it supports the immune system, reduces inflammation, and improves digestion. I’ve also seen people use black cardamom and ajwain seeds. I encourage you to experiment and see what you like best!

Honey or Sugar?

Now, since we are using a tablespoon of honey or a teaspoon of sugar, you can decide which is best for you. I use honey because it aids in fermentation. You can skip the sugar or honey, but the bread won’t be the same—the bacteria love sweetness!

If you’re looking for amazing raw organic honey, I’ve got you covered. Click here for a discounted price: currently, it’s $34.50 for 12 pounds (5.44 kg) of honey. Yes, you heard it right—raw organic honey for $2.80 a pound is amazing! I’ve been using this honey for two years and have finished about six 12-pound containers. I don’t use sugar unless I’m making a cake; I use honey for everything.

Enset Koba/False banana leaf

We have covered the sweets, so let’s talk about the next step: using false banana leaves for baking. I use banana leaves, and honestly, I can’t tell the difference between Koba and banana leaves. Baking your bread with banana leaves imparts a distinct earthy taste, which is essential for Difo bread. Otherwise, you might as well just make sourdough bread.

Ensete ventricosum, known as enset or Ethiopian banana, is a flowering plant in the banana family, Musaceae. It is domesticated and cultivated exclusively in Ethiopia, providing a staple food for about 20 million people. Native to the eastern edge of the Great African Plateau, enset grows from South Africa to Ethiopia and west to the Congo, thriving in high-rainfall mountain forests and forested ravines.

Enset resembles a banana plant, featuring a large non-woody structure that can reach up to 20 feet tall, sometimes even 42 feet. It has a stout pseudostem formed by overlapping leaf bases, with large leaves up to 16 feet long and 3 feet wide, highlighted by a salmon-pink midrib. A mature enset plant can weigh around 550 pounds.

The plant flowers only once, producing inedible fruits with hard seeds. However, its starchy stems and roots can be fermented to make porridge and bread. The enset leaf, known as Koba, is specifically used for Difo bread, giving it its distinctive taste, while the fermented starchy stems and roots turn into Bula and Kocho.

The consistency of your dough affects how you bake it. If the dough is thinner, after the first fermentation, simply place it in your baking pot on top of the Koba, let it rise for about an hour or until it doubles in size, and then bake it. If you prefer to maintain the shape of a regular sourdough and want to create a beautiful design, make your dough thicker. After the first fermentation, place it in a bread proofing basket wait until double in size, then carefully transfer it to your baking pot from the proofing basket and score using a blade for decoration. If you have never used proofing basket comment below, so I can make a post.

Visit my Amazon store for bread proofing baskets and blades.

thinner dough difo dabo
Thinner Dough made with freshly ground wheat
Thicker dough fresh ground with unbleached flour
Thinner Dough made with freshly ground wheat
Thicker dough fresh ground with unbleached flour
Thinner Dough made with freshly ground wheat
Thicker dough fresh ground with unbleached flour

The following recipe is for a proofing basket with thicker dough, but you can add water if you prefer the shorter and easier version. There’s no difference in cooking time between the thin and thick dough versions. Cover the dough and bake for 35 minutes at 400°F, then uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes at 375°F. Since ovens vary, make sure to check your bread so it doesn’t burn. I prefer baking on the second to the bottom shelf of the oven to prevent the top from burning when uncovered, but experiment to see what works best in your oven.

Enjoy your Difo with avocado or make a sandwich of your choice. I love it with warm milk and honey—it’s my favorite way to eat Difo.

Feel free to comment if you have any questions.

Stay organic Fam!

God Bless!


Ethiopian Sour bread made with false banana leaves
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 days
Course bread
Cuisine Ethiopian
Servings 8


  • 1 cup Teff starter yeast (mixed a day or 8-10 hrs. ahead see notes above
  • 1 tsp Active dry yeast this is optional but it makes the bread lighter and fluffier
  • 1 cup Water room temperature
  • 4 cups Flour I use 2 cups freshly ground flour and 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour. See notes above
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp honey or 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large Banana leaf


Making the dough

  • In a large bowl, whisk the starter and water together using a fork or spatula. Add the flour, salt, dry yeast, honey, and oil. You can use a stand mixer to knead the dough, or do it by hand for about 5-7 minutes. Using a stand mixer saves time and eliminates the need for multiple stretches.

Rest and proof

  • Cover and let it rise for 8 to 10 hours or until doubles in size
  • Coax the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Grab a corner of the dough and pull it up into the center. Repeat this process until the dough is gently shaped into a round. To do this, fold the top down to the center, turn the dough, and repeat the fold until you’ve come full circle. If you have a bench scraper, use it to push and pull the dough to create tension.
  • Second fermentation: Let the dough rest seam side up for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line an 8-inch (20 cm) bowl or proofing basket with a towel (flour sack towels are ideal) and dust it with flour. Place the dough round into the lined bowl, seam side up. Cover with a warm towel and let it rise until it doubles in size, approximately 1-2 hours, depending on the temperature in your home.
  • If you choose to proof the dough in the fridge for an extended period of time, you may want to tuck it into a loosely tied bag — produce bags from the grocery store are great for this purpose — to ensure the dough does not dry out.

Score and Bake

  • Preheat your oven to 450°F. Cut a piece of banana leaf to fit the size of your baking pot. palce a couple layers. I use a stainless-steel pot with an oven-proof cover, which works perfectly. You can also use a Dutch oven; if you do, place the Dutch oven in the oven while it preheats since it is thicker.
  • Place a banana leaf over the dough and invert the bowl to release it. Using the tip of a small knife or a razor blade, score the dough as desired—a simple "X" works well. Use the parchment paper to carefully transfer the dough into baking pot.
  • Lower the oven temperature to 400ºF. Carefully cover the pot and bake the dough for 35 minutes. Then, remove the lid, lower the temperature to 350ºF, and continue baking for an additional 20-25 minutes. If necessary, cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before slicing.
  • Difo will stay fresh for up to 3 days when stored at room temperature in an airtight plastic bag or container. It also freezes beautifully.
Keyword sourbread, organicbread

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating