Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The ridiculous and the sublime

I found something in the River Cottage Bread book that I didn't like. Vetkoek (pronounced 'fet cook' meaning fat cake in Afrikaans) are basically deep fried bread rolls. Nothing fancy about the dough, just fried not baked.

I hate deep frying - it makes your house, clothes and hair smell like a chippy - but I was willing to try in the name of the Big Bread Bakeathon.

Fresh out of the pan they were almost acceptable - crispy on the outside, soft bread within.

Vetkoek. Hot, crispy, glistening with vet.

Two minutes later, once they were cool enough to eat, they had the taste and consistency of a squash ball. I cooked seven and we all tried one each (with three spare for the hens). I used the rest of the dough to make some very nice white rolls. Never again. The vetkoek were odd, like a tasteless doughnut, and as chewy as a car tyre. There are doughnuts and churros later in the book and for them I will have to contrive some method of cooking that does not require hot oil.

Next in the book was Flatbread, a Turkish bread a little like pitta made with yoghurt in the dough and cooked in a dry pan and then under the grill.

They were divine. We tried the first hot from the pan sprinkled with cheddar cheese and the rest (seen here) we ate with a Moroccan-inspired veggie stew the following day having kept the dough overnight in the fridge (which, if anything, made it taste even better). These were soft pillowy breads with a useful pocket like a pitta but fluffy like a naan. They are really intended to be eaten with taramsalata and hummus and I can see me making more of these in the future.

Next should be pizza, which I make most Saturdays (so that one is done) and then barbecue breads. I thought about barbecuing in November and postponed that one to next summer. Instead it's full speed into the Bread Made with Wild yeast chapter and sourdough.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Not sure I'll be making vetkoek, but will def have a go at the flat breads. I did make roti which were ridiculously easy and quick, tasty too.
    (ps apols for above comment, my laptop was logged in as my work identity when I went to comment!)

  3. dont like the idea of deep fried bread dough, to close to deep fried mars bars for my liking!

    The flat bread on the other hand looks delicious - I quite often make a lunch of warmed pitas, houmous, taramasalata and some tzatziki and a green salad + some sliced toms. YUM and all very doable at home.


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