Friday, January 30, 2009

A recipe for Zulu bread.

Hey guys!

I did get a few photos taken this week of when I learnt how to make Zulu bread or Jeqe, as they call it here (make sure you click your tongue when you say the Q!). Here are the pics and I've also included the recipe if you're interested:

12 cups flour
half a package bread yeast
half a cup of sugar (or add more alongwith raisins to make sweet bread)
a large water pitcher (slightly smaller than a juice pitcher that you might use for a family supper) filled with half boiling water, half cool water so that the water is warm to touch.
I know the ingredients don't seem very exact but its so easy they don't really need to be. If you know how to make bread like we do at home, you'll know what to do with this bread as well.

1.Get a big ol bowl and mix together all of the dry ingredients inside. Make sure that they are good and mixed which means you'll have to get your hands dirty... but don't worry... its fun.

2. Get the pitcher of water and pour in about a quarter cup. It looks like not enough but mix, mix, mix... even when you think you need to pour more water in, DON'T! As you continue to take the time to mix it, you'll see that it really is mixing without the extra water. Its hard work but man, you'll feel like you've accomplished something in the end.

3. Pour a little more water in. Mix. I should have warned you... the three pics above are of me mixing... just mixing. Be prepared for lots of mixing and working of the dough.

4. Pour a little more water in. Mix

5. Pour the last of the water in. Mix. Mix like crazy. By now there will be dough sticking to your fingers. Dough sticking to your t-shirt. Dough everywhere. What I was told is that you know you are done mixing when the dough is no longer stuck on your fingers but is altogether in the bowl. There is a special Zulu technique to help in mixing the dough. At the point you can really start pounding the dough with your fist. Haha, I haven't figured out yet if this is to get your frustrations out because it takes forever to mix the dough or, if its really helping but the chef who taught me really believed in how much it helps. Make sure you roll the dough, flatten it with your hands (by pounding it) and then try to roll in up in a roll and over and over again. That way it will be nice and mixed.

6. Then put the dough in a very warm place for 45 min to an hour for it to rise. We made the bread on a rainy so it was hard to find a warm place here. A heater or anything will work there at home but here, what we did is put the dough in a plastic bowl and then put that bowl inside of a larger bowl. We then heated up the kettle and poured hot water down along the middle of the two bowls, careful not to get any water inside the bowl with the dough. Then we covered both bowls with towels so the heat wouldn't escape and just waited. If you're wondering what the dough should look like at this point, what we did was just molded into a big, flat ball. We actually cooked it like this too. My roomate, Precious, suggested actually letting the dough rise three times and in between times pushing the dough back. I tried her Zulu bread and it was extra moist and lovely so definetly try this out.

7. While you're waiting, nows the perfect time to practice your Zulu dancing.
Click on to see some hot moves.

8. When the dough has risen, take the dough, and put it inside of a metal pot. Then put the pot inside of a bigger metal pot. The idea is to create a double boiler. What you're going to do is put boiling water in the bigger pot but not into the pot with the dough. Then put this on the stove and continue to keep on heat for 3 hours. The steam from the water is what cooks the dough and creates the bread. Make sure that you cover the pots so that the steam doesn't get out. The steam is what cooks the bread.

9. Wait

10. Wait some more.

11. Practice some more Zulu dancing

12. Start to anticipate what you're going to eat on your lovely steamed bread. I've heard different amounts of how long to cook the bread - some say 3 hours... some say 1 hour... and for the same amount of flour as well! But such is the case sometimes in Africa. Everyone has their own way of doing things and time is an altogether different concept than it is at home. What I suggest is to steam the bread for about an hour and then check what the bread is like. It should have the consistency of sourdough.

13. Then look into the pot and discover the warmth and smell of fresh Jeqe. Cut yourself off a huge slice. Eat to your hearts content. Yum. Yum. Zulus eat Jeqe with beans or meat or whatever they're eating for supper but you can try it with anything. Its just plain delicous.

Let me know what you think ;).


Yvonne said...

Hello, Haven't tried the bread yet, looks like it would fed alot of people.
Praying for you daily.

catherine said...

Hi. I grew up on iJeqe and at the moment I'm going through a phase of trying a whole lot of bread recipes. The mixing the dough process so many times is kneading and it is important to do so that you stretch the gluten. This is what makes any bread soft in the end. Knead it, leave it to prove (rise), three or so times. One thing I remember clearly about iJeqe is that the steamed outside is protected from going hard, but once sliced it goes dry within a few hours, but just on that slice. Best to keep it covered with a damp cloth. It's delicious eaten warm with butter and a sprinkle of salt!