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International A-Z: Hembesha (Eritrean Bread)

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / a_to_z /
11/Nov/2017

My latest attempt in my international breads comes from Eritrea. There appear to be both sweet and spicy versions of this bread, but I decided to try the sweet version.

The freshly baked Hembesha

Ingredients

  • 250g Flour (I used a mixture of white and wholemeal bread flour)
  • 125g milk
  • 1 egg
  • 50g butter or margarine (melted)
  • 25g sugar
  • 50g sultanas (soaked in water)
  • yeast
  • ½tsp salt
  • ½tsp cumin

I simply put everything in the bowl and used our electric mixer. The mixture was a bit soft but I left it to rise for an hour or so before knocking it back and re-kneading it. After the second kneading, the mixture was a bit firmer and easier to handle.

I shaped the dough into a disk, cut some 'spokes' and left it to rise again. Instead of baking in an oven, this bread is cooked in a covered frying pan.

A close up of the inside

I don't recall having cumin in a sweet recipe before and it works well, probably because there isn't much and the flavour isn't too strong. The bread is a bit like a hot cross bun. If mixed spice mixed fruit/mixed peel was used, it would be difficult to tell the difference between them.