They say happiness is the smell of freshly baked bread. In that case, The Little Kitchen was a bubble of pure joy a few weeks ago when I pulled the loaves of amasi bread from the oven! Thanks to our friends at Fair Cape Dairies, I’ve been experimenting with amasi recipes, and this is the second recipe in my three-part series. If you can’t resist a good loaf of bread (like me!), sit back and read on….
I explained the concept of amasi in my first recipe blog, which you can read HERE. But in short, amasi (so called in Zulu and Xhosa, and “maas” in Afrikaans) is the common word for fermented milk that tastes like cottage cheese or plain yogurt.
Our friends over at Fair Cape Dairies sent me a few bottles of amasi, and me being the food adventurer I am, immediately set off on a journey of exploration of the creamy goodness of amasi. My first recipe was for spiced amasi chicken wings, and let me tell you, it was indulgent! You can read the blog here:
For my second recipe, I decided to go back to basics with a good quality loaf (or two!) of amasi bread.
After scouring the internet for hours, I settled on the base of a recipe published by OK Foods, which can be viewed here.
You should, if you’re comfortable with baking bread, by all means feel free to experiment with ingredients as this is a basic bread recipe. Having said that, it’s gorgeous just as is, too! The amasi adds a whole new layer of flavour and texture to what would’ve been an average bread. It makes the crust of the bread really crispy and the inside is fluffy and deliciously dense, whilst tasting airy and cloudy at the same time. Let’s just say, a whole loaf disappeared into the black hole that is my mouth even before it cooled properly!
There’s a free downloadable recipe card at the bottom of this post! Grab it now whilst it’s hot!
2 cups lukewarm water
1 1/3 cups Fair Cape Dairies amasi
1 tbsp instant yeast
1 tbsp coarse salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (I used demerara sugar)
6 cups bread flour
Combine the water, amasi, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl.
Add the bread flour and mix thoroughly using a wooden spoon, until you have a lump-free dough.
Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave it in a warm spot to double in size – this should take about two hours.
Cut off the desired amount of dough. You can make three loaves of bread with this recipe.
Dust a portion of the dough with flour and then very lightly knead it and shape it into something resembling an elongated ball. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect; it might feel sticky to start with, but believe me, just persevere and it will all come together at the end!
Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and leave the dough to rest for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C and put the rack in the centre of the oven.
Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the dough onto the paper and lightly brush the top of the dough with melted butter.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the bread is golden brown.
Leave to cool before slicing. Or not.
I know you should hypothetically wait for the bread to cool down before slicing it ,but I simply couldn’t wait. It was beautifully brown and crispy, with swirls of steam escaping through the cracks in the crust. I took out my sharpest bread knife and it glided through the bread without squishing or damaging it.
I didn’t want to go fancy with these breads. I had no desire to overload the bread’s naturally creamy, tangy taste. I opted for thick slices of mature cheddar and marinated red peppers. Just that. Gorgeously simple but so more-ish!
You can serve this bread with anything, really. Add thick slices to your cheese platter, or break chunks with a homemade soup. I can imagine a rustic grilled cheese sandwich would be heaven made with this amasi bread, or simply serve it with a hearty stew to lap up all the sauce.
This recipe takes a bit of planning in terms of the time it needs to rise and rest, but if you time it properly, it’s ridiculously easy to make and only takes a few minutes to prepare, with minimal effort and readily available ingredients.
The amasi added a lovely piquant flavour to the bread, pushing it carefully into the savoury category of breads, rather than sweet, which is perfect for me. This recipe makes three medium sized loaves, which can be stored in an airtight container, or frozen. If it lasts that long. Mine lasted exactly one and a half days. All three. I kid you not!
Stay tuned for the third and final part of the amasi recipe collection – next up is a decadent naartjie and thyme curd amasi cake! Thank you Fair Cape Dairies for indulging me with quality products that I can creatively play with in The Little Kitchen!
Second photographer and photo credit: Timothy P. Gibson
Disclaimer: I was sent these products in my capacity as photographer/writer as part of a media outreach. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.