Xhosa pot bread is a soft white bread with a golden crust. Xhosa pot bread also known as “Umbhako” is traditionally made in a heavy pot with a lid over an open fire but can as easily be bake it in an oven.
450 g cake flour
7g instant dry yeast
3 tsp white sugar
2 tsp salt
355 ml warm water
1Tbsp Sunflower oil
2 ears of sweet corn grilled or (1 cup frozen corn)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
2. If you are going to use grilled corn prepare this ingredient before starting. See directions below.
3. Liberally oil the sides of a medium sized loaf tin
4. Dissolve the dry yeast in a cup with 60ml of the warm water and 1 teaspoon of sugar and allow 3 – 5 minutes for the yeast to activate. (It will start to bubble)
5. Sift the rest of the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, salt) and place in a bowl
6. Add the corn and toss in the dry ingredients to coat
7. Mix together the water, yeast and oil
8. Make a hollow in the centre and pour in the warm water
9. Using a wooden spoon, mix the liquid in to the dry mix.
10. Finish of mixing with your hands until you have smooth dough that comes away clean from the sides of the bowl. (about 5-8minutes)
11. At this stage you can place the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic/dish-towel and leave to rest in a warm place and after the dough has doubled is size knock down the dough and place it in a greased bread tin OR
12. Transfer the dough immediately to the loaf tin.
13. Cover with a tea towel and put in a warm place to allow to double in size.
14. When it has doubled in size, place in the oven for 45 minute
15. After taking out of the oven brush with sugar water while it is still hot.
16. Cool the bread on a wire rack
The bread is traditionally baked on an open fire
Oil the potjie and the lid well very well on the inside. Place the dough in the potjie with the lid on. Place in a warm place and allow to double in size. Get your coals ready they must not be too hot. Then make place for the pot in the fireplace and place some coals on the lid. Surround the pot with coals about 20 cm away. Bake until the bread is done, turning the pot every 15 minutes. Keep the coals on the lid of the pot. Bake for as long as it takes for the bread to become light and sound “hollow”. Check it now and then during the baking. When the bread is finished, remove it from the pot and let it cool off.
HOW TO GRILL CORN FOR INSONKA SOMBAHKO
Choose your corn wisely. Look for the freshest, most barely-ripe corn available. Choose bright green husks, tightly attached to the ear. The stalks should be a light yellow and the ends of the silks a light brown. The kernels should be white or pale yellow, look nice and plump and be tightly packed into straight rows from one end of the cob to the other.
Fresh, young corn is full of natural sugars which will caramelize beautifully over the heat of the grill. As the corn ages, these turn into much less flavourful starches.
Shuck the corn. Starting at the top, strip all the husks and silks away from the ears of corn and discard them. If there's any dirt on the kernels, rinse it off.
Place a pot of water on the stove, add a pinch of salt and allow to come to the boil. Place the corn in the water and allow to boil for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow the moisture to steam off, then brush lightly with oil.
Place on the flat top or grill section of the range. Keep rotating the corn so that the kernels brown and blackens evenly.
Remove and allow to cool before cutting the kernels away from the core.