I'm a little torn about this recipe. On the one hand, I am incredibly proud that I was able to recreate THE agege bread - down to the taste, texture, everything... On the other hand, making it from scratch has made me realise just how nutritionally void it is. Sure, you can replace the usual white flour with brown, but there's no escaping the copious amount of salt and sugar that goes into it.
Enough of the sad talk.
If you'd like to tear into Nigeria's scrumptious and signature take on bread, then keep reading.
For the uninitiated, agege bread is named after a suburb in Lagos State. It is loved for its dense texture and 'moreishly' sweet taste. You'd be hard-pressed to find a Lagosian who isn't fond of it and who hasn't used it to mop up some peppery stew or steeped it in a mug of hot tea.
Now you get to enjoy it any time you want, made in the intimate and hygienic (hopefully!) space of your own kitchen. It's also stupidly easy to make - so much so that I kept wondering if it would actually turn out like soft agege bread as I waited for it to bake in the oven.
- 4 cups bread flour
- 2 tbsp dried yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp sugar
- warm water
Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Start to add the warm water a little at a time, mixing with your hand as you go along. You want to form a soft and stretchy dough that isn't too sticky. I used roughly a third to half a glass of water.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until smooth then place back in the bowl and cover with a damp napkin. Leave to rise for about an hour.
Knead the dough lightly and place in a loaf tin (lined with greaseproof paper, if possible).
Bake in a pre-heated oven, gas mark 4, for 40-45 minutes.
When done, leave to cool on a wire rack. Or tear at it immediately if you really can't wait (to which I must add: I take no responsibility for burnt fingers).