Give us this day, our daily bread!

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” ~ James Beard

#WorldBreadDay, initiated by the International Union of Bakers and Confectioners (UIBC), is an international observance celebrated on October 16 every year and dedicated to a staple food that has been of importance around the world since the dawn of agriculture.

Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods and research shows that people used starch extract from the roots of plants to cook a primitive form of flatbread as early as 30 000 years ago. Grains became the mainstay of making bread with the dawn of Neolithic age and the ancient Egyptians are believed to have been the first to use yeast to leaven the dough.It is a staple food in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe whereas rice is the staple in East Asia. Bread is usually made from wheat, but can be also made from other cereals, including rye, barley, oats, maize, rice, millet and sorghum and in many cuisines, there are traditional bread recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Here are a few bread recipes with a local twist from the chefs at Capsicum Culinary Studio, South Africa’s biggest culinary school with six campuses across the country:

STEAMED BREAD

Ingredients

3 cups of flour

2 tsp salt1 tsp yeas

t3 tsp sugar

1 cup warm water

Method

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the warm water and bring together, kneading until the dough combines and does not stick to your hands. Grease a clean bowl with butter, add the dough, cover with a dish towel and place in a warm place for an hour. Fill a large pot halfway with boiling water and place over medium heat. Grease a bowl with butter and add the dough. Place the bowl with the dough inside the pot (making sure no water gets in), cover with lid, and allow to steam for an hour or until cooked. Remove bread and cool before slicing and serving.

MEALIE BREAD

Ingredients

330g sweetcorn (thawed if frozen)

120ml milk2 eggs, beaten lightly

30g salted butter, melted

180g all-purpose flour

2 tbsp cornmeal

2 tbsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

½ tsp paprika

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Butter a 21cm x 11cm x 6 cm loaf tin. Place half the sweetcorn and the milk into a blender and blend until the corn is pureed. Add the remaining corn and blend quickly leaving kernels coarsely chopped. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and add the beaten eggs and melted butter. In a separate bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and paprika and mix until well combined. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix until all the ingredients are incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. Take a skewer and stick in the centre of your bread, when you pull out the skewer there should be no wet dough. Cool the bread in the loaf tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to continue cooling. Serve warm with butter!

BREAKFAST BREAD

Ingredients

275g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

8 spring onions, chopped

350g Cheddar cheese, grated

125g back bacon, diced

4 eggs

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tbs vegetable oil

60ml buttermilk

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Grease a large loaf tin. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined. You don’t need to pre-cook the bacon, as it cooks in the bread and provides moisture and flavour. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the bread. Let it cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely. A perfect loaf to slice and pack for padkos and picnics.

BEER BREAD

Ingredients

330g all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2-3 teaspoons salt

340ml lager beer

110g cold butter

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Rub butter all over tin loaf pan. In a bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk together. Pour in the beer and stir all ingredients until just combined and there are no dry parts. The batter will be thick. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth out. Cut the butter into slices (roughly a tablespoon size) and place on top of the raw batter evenly. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the bread is golden brown on top. Take a skewer and stick in the centre of your bread, when you pull out the skewer there should be no wet dough. This is how you know the bread is done.

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