With a sunny weekend expected for much of the country, get out of doors, light a fire, and get this savoury pot bread going on low, low coals.
Sunny skies in our neck of the Karoo last weekend had me outdoors, so I came up with this braai bread that celebrates both onions and our beloved biltong.
You’ll need a heavy-bottomed pot, preferably flat, and a fire nearby to ensure you have enough coals underneath the pot (and a few on the lid) to allow it to cook gently for an hour. When you take the lid off, it should look just like the one in the picture. The pot I used was rather broad, hence a lower, flatter loaf than you would get if you used a narrower pot. No matter either way: the only difference is the shape.
The bread developed a wonderfully crunchy base and, sliced while still hot, is perfect for smothering in butter and eating right away.
2 Tbs olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp finely ground coriander seeds
Sauté the chopped onions and garlic in olive oil with the finely ground coriander seeds (or powder) until lightly caramelised. Set aside and leave to cool.
1 kg white bread wheat flour
10 g instant yeast
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cups lukewarm water and a little more if necessary
80 g grated biltong
2 Tbs olive oil
Switch the oven on to its lowest temperature (150℃ or less) and close the door.
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl like the ones granny used to have. Add the yeast and sugar and stir very well with a wooden spoon. Only stir in the salt after this so that it does not neutralise the yeast.
Add lukewarm water a little at a time, while kneading the dough, until it is all combined. Now add the 2 Tbs olive oil and continue kneading until it is a nice plump ball of dough and no longer sticky. Add the onion and the biltong to the dough in the bowl and knead again for a few minutes, until all the onion and biltong are evenly distributed.
Leave the ball of dough in the bowl, cover with a slightly damp tea towel, and put it in a sunny spot outside for 20 minutes, or in a warm spot inside if the weather is not playing ball. Here’s what it should look like after its first rise:
Knead the dough again for a minute or two, folding and turning, then cover again with a damp towel.
Turn the oven off, put the covered bowl of dough in the middle of a rack in the centre of the oven, close the door and leave it for 40 to 50 minutes in the warmth for its second rise. Here’s what it should look like after its second rise:
Check that you have braai coals. Butter the inside of your heavy-bottomed pot well. Carefully ease the dough into it; you may need to use a silicone spatula to scrape the edges downwards. Put the lid on the braai pot. Place in the braai and immediately place hot coals all around the base, and a few more coals on top. Keep replenishing the coals at the base and on the lid for a full hour. Remove the lid, and it should turn out perfectly, just like the one in the picture. DM/TGIFood
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