Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture

If you like honey, fear not the bees. -African Proverb

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Chapati Flatbread to Eesh Baladi Baking is Art in Africa

Baking is an art, the skill of bread baking throughout the African continent is a traditional talent filled with pride. From Kenyan Chapati flatbread to Egyptian Eesh Baladi the most delicious breads begin with proper ingredients and mixing. The method of mixing is important when several ingredients are combined when making dough for African breads and fritters. Mixing is a universal term that includes stirring, beating, blending, sifting, creaming, cutting in and folding.




Each mixing method gives a different consistency. The method of combining the ingredients is determined to some extent by the ingredients themselves. The tools used, such as whisks and spoons also make a difference. The tools you use for the job have a great impact on what happens during mixing.

Mixing by hand
 Examples of the type of mixing are:


· Sifting, or putting materials through a fine mesh, is used to lighten flour that has been packed down, to remove coarse portions, or to mix thoroughly several dry ingredients.

·Stirring is done with a spoon, and is a round and round motion, used for mixing a liquid and a dry ingredient.

·Rubbing is used for combining a dry ingredient with a semi-solid substance like butter. Creaming is a term used for the rubbing of butter until it becomes soft and creamy. A spoon should be used, not the hand.

·“Cutting in” with a knife is used for combining butter with flour in biscuit and pastry where the butter should not be softened.

·Beating with a spoon, or beater of the spoon type, is a free over and over motion, the spoon being lifted from the mixture for the backward stroke. This is used for increasing the smoothness of the mixture after the first stirring, and for beating in air. It needs a strong free motion of the forearm. Beating is also accomplished by the rotary motion of a mechanical beater.

Pounding grain in Benin

·Cutting and folding is the delicate process of mixing lightly beaten egg with a liquid or semi-liquid without losing out the air. The spoon is cut in, sidewise, a rotary motion carries it down and up again, and it folds in the beaten egg as it goes.

·Kneading is a motion used with dough, and is a combination of a rocking and pressing motion, accomplished by the hands. A good result can be obtained by some bread machines, and this is the cleaner method.

·Rolling out is just what the term denotes, a rolling of a thick piece of dough by means of a cylindrical wooden “pin” to the thickness proper for cookies and crusts. Dry bread is also rolled to break it into fine crumbs.

 

Simple Eesh Baladi Egyptian Bread Recipe


Ingredients
2 cups whole wheat flour or all purpose
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
Eesh Baladi Egyptian Bread
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°F. Stir warm water, honey, and yeast in a large bowl let stand about 5 minutes. Add flour and salt dough sound is slightly sticky when you are done mixing. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand. You can also use a mixer with a hook attachment. Roll dough into small balls then flatten. Cover with a cloth let rise in a warm place about 2 hours. Place dough on a light colored lightly greased baking pan and bake until golden about 20 minutes. Serve with Tangy Fig and Honey Syrup.
Delicious everyday Eesh Baladi Egyptian Bread will look like pita bread when done. Eesh Baladi is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner.





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The eye never forgets what the heart has seen - African Proverb

A tree without roots cannot survive the wind

A tree without roots cannot survive the wind
African Proverb