International Day of Bread – Bon appetit

Today we celebrate the international day of bread. Many of you may think: the Germans again! They love their bread. What clearly sounds like a cliché is quite often true in reality. But bread is not just bread, it’s a craft. While some of us don’t want to miss their muesli in the morning, others prefer to make jam bread. In the evening you get a hearty sandwich with cheese and sausage. What Germans who live abroad miss: real German bread. As a result, this popular commodity can quickly be traded between different households. But as much as the craving for bread may be present in some of us, bread is an integral part of almost every culture around the world. Two of our Junior Fellow share their recipes today. Joh Sarre loves homemade whole grain bread, but also ‘Gurusa din’, a Nubian specialty.

“Just recently a friend asked me what I miss most about Germany when I’m in a non-European country. After a short thought, my answer was actually: bread – probably the most clichéd answer among German expats. My absolute favorite bread is my home-baked whole grain bread – thanks to a simple recipe for success it even takes less time to prepare than cycling to the bakery. My favorite food on field research was actually bread-like: The Nubian specialty ‘Gurusa din’, a kind of fluffy pancake, is the only pastry I know that is made with yeast AND baking powder. It is cooked in a pan with the lid closed and tastes good with sweetened tea or with hearty sauces, for example meat or okra”.

Our Junior Fellows shares the recipe, which is especially suitable for PhD students and other people with little time and high energy requirements

  • 500 gr wholemeal spelt flour
    150 gr seeds (sunflowers, linseed, pumpkin, chia, chopped nuts…mixed to taste)
    1/2 l water
    2 tsp dry yeast
    2 tsp salt
    2 tablespoons fruit vinegar (e.g. apple vinegar)

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, mix the liquid ingredients in the measuring cup, then tilt together and knead into a viscous dough using dough hooks. Pour into a box form (30x15cm), place in a cold (!) oven, set to 200°C top/bottom heat. 1h later the bread should be ready, i.e. it should sound hollow when you tap on the bottom. Unfortunately only works really well in an electric oven, gas ovens get too hot too quickly.

Veronica Buchumi, who already baked her delicious chapati for the BIGSAS Get-Together in February, shares her recipe with us. For those who have not yet made their own chapati, the process can appear to be endless. But with a little practice you will soon become a master baker yourself.

A plate full of good food. Chapati made by Veronica Buchumi.

First of all, Veronica follows the recipe from BigOven. She then adds her own flair: 

  • The salt, sugar and oil can be mixed directly into the flour before adding water. I prefer using milk in most cases as it adds a different flavour – water is best if you are cooking for a person with allergy to milk/lactose. You can add a bit of butter too (Water/Milk has to be warm).

In most cases I use 1kg of flour to make chapati and for that I use rough 600ml of water/milk, a full teaspoon of sugar and salt (one spoon for each), and two tablespoons of vegetable oil and two tablespoon of melted butter (if you want though) – vegetable oil is totally fine. The dough has to be quite soft as in not too hard and not too soft. Thus, I would recommend adding water slowly to avoid putting too much water and be forced to add more flour to make it nice. Usually, you know it is good if the dough is non-stick and kind of elastic if you pull it.

  • You also don’t have to wait for 40 mins, unless you have time. Sometimes I wait, sometimes I just cook straight away.
  • Check the rolling process and the cooking here (and learn some Swahili too, yay!)

Veronica concludes: The bottom line is that the most important ingredients for chapati are: wheat flour, salt, sugar, cooking oil. The rest is luxury and just to add flavour.

So not all bread is the same. Bread is eaten in all latitudes and longitudes of our planet. There are sweet and savory variations. Some types are eaten plain, others are served with a drink or a main course.

What are your favorite breads? Share them in the comments!


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