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Nothing makes a person miss home than memories of good meals and delicious treats shared. Remember sinking your teeth into fresh, hot potbrood while sipping on a cup of coffee? Yup, that was probably before you packed up and moved abroad. Don’t worry though, just because you have emigrated it doesn’t mean that you’ll never get to enjoy traditional South African potbrood again. You can actually make your own instant pot bread quite easily, right where you are. You might have already guessed… we have a great recipe for you to try!

The History of Potbrood (Pot Bread)

Before we get onto the recipe, let’s give a bit of thought to where the potbrood idea actually comes from. As it turns out, we have the original Boer settlers to thank for the potbrood we grew up with. It’s an undeniable fact that their recipe is theirs. As the Boer settlers made their way across South Africa, they spent a considerable amount of time outdoors and on the move. Potbrood was a quick and convenient way to make bread while traveling. Instant pot bread was traditionally baked in a cast-iron pot inside a hole dug into the ground and lined with fire-hot coals. While potbrood is ever-so-popular nowadays, it is commonly made on the braai by packing either wood or charcoal around the bread pot. While things have changed in terms of how the bread is made, the taste and overall enjoyment is still the same today as it was then.

Instant Pot Bread Recipe: How to Make Your Own Potbrood

If you’ve never fancied yourself much of a baker, don’t worry; this one is easy. Unlike baking regular or artisan loaves of bread, our potbrood recipe is actually quite simple and easy to follow. That’s because we make use of ready-made bread dough. If you want to make your own dough, you can look up a basic bread recipe. This does make things admittedly more complicated.  Today, we’re going to take a look at making sweet and melt-in-your-mouth creamy potbrood with ready-made bread dough which you should be able to get at your local grocery store. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get stuck right in.

What you need to make pot bread:

  • 1kg of store bought bread dough (alternatively, you can make your own dough from scratch).
  • 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • 1 cup of brown sugar.
  • 1 cup of cream.
  • Cast iron bread pot.

Pot bread cooking instructions:

  • Make sure that you grease the bread pot generously with butter. Make sure that you get it all greasy everywhere so that your potbrood can be easily removed after cooking. A poorly greased bread pot will result in bread that sticks to the inside of the pot.
  • Knock your bread dough down by gently punching it.
  • Break the bread dough into sections and form balls (golf ball size). Place each ball onto the base of the pot, leaving a 3cm space between each dough ball. The balls will rise and push against each other when cooking, which is exactly what you want.
  • Pop the lid back onto the pot and allow it to stand on the counter for around 30 to 40 minutes. This will give the dough balls time to rise slightly again. Once they are risen, it’s time to cook them.
  • In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. It’s best not to use a thermo-fan oven for this method. If you are cooking the potbrood on the braai, get your coals fired up. When the heat is medium hot, it will be time to cook the bread.
  • Mix the sugar and the cream together until the sugar has fully dissolved.
  • Check on the dough balls. If they have risen, you can pour the cream and sugar mixture over the top of the balls. This is what gives the potbrood that creamy sweet flavour.
  • Place the lid back on the pot and commit yourself to leaving it closed for the next 45 to 50 minutes. Do not lift the lid during cooking. Set a timer and then place the pot on the braai or in the oven. If you are using the braai to cook the bread, place hot coals on the lid of the pot too. This will help the baking process.
  • After 45 to 50 minutes has passed, you can check if the bread is cooked through. To do this, stick a thin skewer or a sharp knife into the bread and check if there’s any residue on the knife or skewer when you pull it out. If it comes out dry and without any wet or sticky dough attached, your bread is cooked through and ready to serve. If it shows wet or sticky dough still inside, you will need to keep cooking the bread a while longer. Check again in 10 minutes with your skewer/knife.

The potbrood is the most delicious when it is still warm, but it should be good to eat for at least 2 days after baking on the braai/in the oven – if there’s anything left that is! Serve it as it is with a braai, as an after meal treat, or with coffee and jam. It’s the ‘anytime is a good time’ South African treat!

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