'Tea bread' in Ghana, is similar to the taste of a classic white loaf. Traditionally, Tea breads, are oblong shaped like mini baguettes,have a floured surface, pale in colour, soft and fluffy in texture.
Most Ghanaians will only purchase fresh and soft bread (no day old or stale bread is appreciated). One will test the freshness and softness of the bread by touching (much to the annoyance of the hawker). You're guaranteed freshly baked bread early in the morning, hence waking up at dawn, to grab the attention of a hawker passing by is a must (unless you have a bakery close by or a shop that stocks fresh bread).
Bread is relatively cheap to buy in Ghana, hence baking bread at home is not promoted. The varieties of bread in Ghana were limited to Baguettes, Brown bread, Tea bread, Butter bread, Sugar bread, Sweet buns , flat breads, flats breads with Zaatar (Inspired by the Lebanese residents in Ghana), during my childhood and teenage years.
However in recent times, the eating habits of Ghanaians are moving towards a healthier spectrum , hence there's an influx of healthy, whole meal , multi seeded breads etc (which are available in specialist bakeries) sprouting across the country.
When I first arrived in the UK, I purchased a loaf of bread from a supermarket and I didn't like the taste. It didn't taste natural and fresh to me (flavours I was accustomed to), hence I stopped buying bread, till I discovered my local bakery.
Even though my local bakery serves me well, I can't help but miss my Ghanaian fresh bread and bake my own.
This week I'm paying homage to the typical Ghanaian (myself) who will only eat freshly baked bread, with either an omelette, Avocados, butter or jam.
Relive that nostalgic feeling by baking your own Tea bread. An unsweetened light and fluffy bread.
330g of strong bread flour
175ml of lukewarm water
Half a teaspoon of salt
10g of dry action yeast
1 teaspoon of butter
Half a teaspoon of sugar
20g of flour for dusting
Add the salt , then flour, sugar, butter and yeast to a mixing bowl.
Using the dough hook of your mixer, add the lukewarm water and start from a medium setting (to avoid flour spilling everywhere) . Once the mixture is combined into a dough, increase the speed and whisk for 7-10 minutes or until you have a shiny soft dough (as shown below).
In the mixing bowl, add some flour and roll the dough into a round shape above.
Cover the dough with a kitchen napkin, soaked in warm water and leave the dough in a warm area.
The dough should rise (double in size), within an hour.
Some recipes shape the bread at this stage, leave it to rise and then bake.
However, I prefer to proof the dough , before baking.
Flour a clean surface and place the dough in the middle.
Knock the wind out of the dough and roll into a round shape.
Using a knife, divide the dough in two, shape it into an oblong shape (look of a mini baguette).
Line a baking tray with a baking sheet. Sprinkle the baking sheet with flour or coarse corn flour.
Transfer the oblong shaped dough to the baking tray.
Cover with a warm wet napkin or oiled cling film.
Place the dough in a warm place for about an hour for proofing.
The dough will double up in size at this stage and might fuse into each other. (To avoid the dough touching , use a bigger baking tray).
Personally, I like it touching, as I enjoy tearing the warm bread apart.
Preheat your oven to 160*c
Place the bread in the middle of the oven.
In another baking tray, add half a cup of water and place in the bottom of the oven.
Bake the bread for 20-25 minutes. The water will provide steam in the oven, which helps the dough to cook within, delay the browning process and give the bread a light crust .
Keep an eye on the bread to ensure you get the pale beige colour.
Tap the bread and if you hear a hollow sound, it's cooked.
Remove the bread from the oven, cover with a clean napkin and leave it to rest for about 5 minutes.
Pour 3 tablespoonfuls of olive oil into a bowl and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.