Friday, 23 August 2013

AGEGE BREAD



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.

Bread is such a hands-on thing to make and so my top tip as you embark on this recipe is to really rely on your instincts in terms of the dough texture. You want it soft and stretchy, but not sticky; most certainly not hard as a rock.

Ingredients
- 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).

26 comments:

  1. Ooooooooooh. I LOVE the idea of homemade bread!

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    1. Home-made is the best! Even just for the way the smell fills the whole house.

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    2. Hi I heard you mention that the salt and sugar was over top and this is what was unhealthy. I'm going to give this a go and use sea salt and fructose sugar what you think?

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  2. Would Love to try this. I Love Agege bread...

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  3. Now this has taken me immediately back to my happy Naija days. I remember when my family and I would have road-trips to the village and stop every two hours to buy hot agege bread. Chai! I will put this one in my recipe book sharp sharp. Thanks Vegan.

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    1. You're welcome!
      Haha, every two hours? Chai indeed! Just goes to show how awesome agege bread is :)

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  4. Oh it was a very serious situation for us o, we don't play with bread lol

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  5. Oh somebory who understands my dilemna with this bread. I would complain about its cake like consistency and no one would get it. If fact I had to find my way to those Egyptian shops in Abuja in search of brown breat ( i think you call it wheat bread) and i have to tell you, your brown bread is the best I have had for a long time. in fact from when i was young and they didn't suck all the goodness out of food in South Africa as they do now.

    By the way i found you as I was googling a recipe for this bread which my Nigerian interviewee mentioned he loves and so I will be referring to your blog by linking to this recipe. I'm really looking forward to reading more. there are so many nigerian dishes i'd like to know how to cook but especially my favourite: Isi Ewu.
    Thanks
    Wendy @ Faulosityreads.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh dear. I just noted you are vegan. so much for my isi ewu hope LOL

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    2. LOL, yes, I'm afraid it'll be a challenge and then some to try and create a vegan version of isi ewu seeing as THE main ingredient is goat head.
      You're right - brown bread is the way to go, at least then you're guaranteed some good nutrients.
      I'm glad you stumbled on the site, thanks for visiting :)

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  6. You know I think if u came up with something that tastes like the source in the isi ewu I'd bite. For me that's the interesting bit.

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    1. Hmm, I will definitely look into that then :)

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  7. 2 Tbsp of salt is waaaayyy too much. I tried it and it was so salty that I couldn't even swallow it. I had to throw it away. I'm making another one today with less salt

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    1. Really? I found that the salt-sugar ratio was quite balanced when I tried it (not heaped tablespoons). Then again, 2 tbsp might actually be a typo and I meant 2tsp. Sorry about that - hope the next attempt turns out better!

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  8. There's no second rise? Your recipe says one rise for 1 hour. I bake my own bread and always rise twice but only because I learnt with oyibo recipes so this felt strange proofing the dough just once so I'm doing my usual 2 rises. I'll give feedback on the outcome though.
    Another thing, please edit your recipe and change the salt quantity. If I hadn't read the comments through to the end (I usually don't but this time I did for some reason and thank God I did) I wont have seen that 2 tbs was an error.
    Ok time to put my dough I the oven.

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    1. Hi Amy N,
      Nope, no second rise. This was pretty much a trial and error recipe off the top of my head so I didn't follow conventional bread-making rules. Let me know how it goes with the two rises, might give it a shot myself.
      I've just edited the recipe; thanks for pointing that out!

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    2. The bread turned out ok. Not like Agege but twas still good. I'm just realising that the reason why your recipe doesn't have eggs and milk is cos you're vegan. Sooooo I'm gonna keep searching for a proper Agege bread recipe.
      More grease (animal fat free) to ur elbows

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  9. I doubt if those big Nigerian bakeries put eggs and milk though.

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  10. To me it is like making an average loaf of bread I do a lot of baking I added wheat flour to all purpose unbleached flour and turbidano sugar

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  11. Hello, thank you for inspiring us with African recipes. I tried this recipe but used rice flour and it was a complete fail. Have you tried a gluten free alternative to wheat bread?

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  12. nice..this is a great article

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. So match the bread you eat with a little spread or a little olive oil to diminish the glycemic affect. On the off chance that they don't give you any, inquire! bread machine manual

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  15. You'll need a floured surface to work on still, of course If you have a pasta press, even better. You'll be able to yield fine gourmet pastas with it's help.bread machines

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