If you’ve never made dough in your life, there’s no shame in asking someone who has done it before to show you what it means to ‘knead it into one pliable piece’.Baking bread is an ancient skill, and a fulfilling one, so you need to master it. The tricky part is making the dough. If you’ve never made dough in your life, the recipe below will probably look quite daunting the frst time you read it. Take a deep breath, drink a beer, and read it again. Like riding a bicycle it’s surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it. Makes 12 decent-sized roosterkoeke.
- 1 kg cake four (as the ‘koek’ part of the Afrikaans name implies, use cake four – but white bread four is also fine if that is what’s on hand)
- 10 g instant yeast(it comes in 10 g packets)
- 1 tot sugar
- ½ tot salt
- lukewarm water in a jug(you’ll need roughly just more than 2 cups of water)
- 2 tots olive oil
- Sift the four into a bowl that is at least 3 times as big as 1 kg of four, and preferably even bigger. If you’re in the middle of the bush and don’t have a sieve on hand, then skip the sifting part and just chuck the four into a big enough bowl. If you only have a 1 kg bag of four and no more, save a little for step 9.
- Add the yeast and sugar to the four and mix thoroughly with your clean hand. Now it’s time to add the salt and toss the mixture around some more.
- Pour in the lukewarm water bit by bit and keep kneading the dough. As soon as there is no dry four left, you’ve added enough water. Take care not to add too much water, as this will lead to the dough being runny and falling through the grid. Roosterkoek falling through the grid is just no good. For 1 kg of four you’ll probably use just a tiny bit more than 2 cups of water.
- If you think you have enough water in there, add the 2 tots of olive oil.
- Knead the dough well for about 10 minutes until none of it sticks to your fngers anymore and it forms one big pliable piece.
- Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and put in a warm area for 10 minutes.
- Take ofthe kitchen towel and knead the dough again for 1 or 2 minutes.
- Replace the kitchen towel and let it rise for at least 30 minutes.
- Use your recently washed hands to fatten the dough onto a table or plank that is covered in four and also lightly sprinkle four on top of the dough. Your aim is to create a rectangular or square piece of dough.
- Use a sharp knife and cut the dough into squares, and let them rise for a few minutes one final time.
- Bake over very gentle coals for about 15–20 minutes, turning often. A roosterkoek is ready when it sounds hollow when you tap on it. Alternatively, insert the blade of your pocketknife or multi-tool into them as a test. If the blade comes out clean the roosterkoek is ready.
- Serve the roosterkoek with hot and warm soup
Some supermarkets sell fresh dough. If you’ve bought some of that, start making your roosterkoek from step 9.
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