Epitaxial growth of topological insulator bismuth telluride by molecular beam epitaxy onto BaF2 (111) substrates is studied using Bi2Te3 and Te as source materials. By changing the beam flux composition, different stoichiometric phases are obtained, resulting in high quality Bi2Te3 and Bi1Te1 epilayers as shown by Raman spectroscopy and high-resolution X-ray diffraction. From X-ray reciprocal space mapping, the residual strain, as well as size of coherently scattering domains are deduced. The Raman modes for the two different phases are identified and the dielectric functions derived from spectroscopic ellipsometry investigations. Angular resolved photoemission reveals topologically protected surface states of the Bi2Te3 epilayers. Thus, BaF2 is a perfectly suited substrate material for the bismuth telluride compounds.