A Simple Beer-bread to Eat with a South African Potjiekos
Making bread does not always require long-winded preparation and cooking. Make a bread easily on a fire of coals.
A simple but tasty bread can be made with simple ingredients, cooked on an open fire of hot coals.
You will need:
500 gm self-raising flour.
A 340 ml bottle or 2 of your favourite beer.
200 grams of grated cheese of your choice, strong cheddar is preferred,
Herbs of your choice (optional)
Salt to taste
A round, thick-based, flat-bottomed cast iron bread pot, approximately 3 litres in volume, with a well-sealing lid.
Long-handled tongs for handling hot coals.
Mixing bowl large enough to mix the 500 gm of flour and 350 mls of beer.
Prepare two small briquette fires. One will be your cooking fire, the other will be a “stock” fire that should be used to replenish the cooking fire if it cools too much.
Place supports for the flat bread pot on either side of the briquette fire. Ensure that the pot is no more than 2 inches above the fire.
Into the mixing bowl, add the self-raising flour, salt, herbs and cheddar cheese. Mix them together well.
To the dry ingredients, add the contents of the 340 ml bottle of beer. Mix the dough well, ensuring that there are no unmixed dry lumps. Test the consistency of the dough. It should have an elastic consistency. If it is too dry, add a little more beer and mix well.
Lightly oil the inside of the bread pot with cooking oil.
Place the pot on the supports above the fire, and when it has warmed slightly, add the bread dough into it. Level the dough in the pot. Lightly brush the surface of the dough with cooking oil
Place the lid on the pot.
Using the tongs, and being careful to not sustain burns to hands, place hot briquettes around the rim on top of the lid of the pot. Place some briquettes in the centre of the pot.
Spread the hot briquettes evenly beneath the pot so as to avoid any hot or cold spots.
Leave the bread to bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, sweep the briquettes and ash from the lid of the pot.
Lift the lid.
Remove the pot from the fire, place it on a suitable heat-proof flat surface.
Remove the bread from the pot.
Serve the bread with hot butter.
This type of bread is often served as an accompaniment to the traditional South African Potjiekos.
The bread can be cooked in a conventional rectangular bread tin, and can also be baked in a conventional oven.
Image via Wikipedia