Berbere Bread


Here’s something of a cheat bread recipe, because it is a regular bread recipe with just two added ingredients, and I am OBSESSED!

I found this article about a curry and raisin loaf, and I thought “Ooh, that sounds interesting!”, but the recipe was for a huge amount  – enough for over 30 loaves – and used a levain, and overnight rising, and multiple provings at specific temperatures and…


So I decided to ignore all of that and just use a regular dough, with a regular method, and just add in the flavourings.

So I’m all fired up to try this flavour combination, and I get in the kitchen to find I didn’t have any Madras curry powder.

And regular listeners may recall that I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: this cook doesn’t go shopping for a single ingredient.

More broadly speaking, it’s demoralising when you find an exciting recipe, and make a special trip to get all the special ingredients, and come back and make it and it’s awful, or isn’t a success, after all that effort. Much better to have a ‘dry run’ as it were, with regular ingredients, and if it shows potential, make more of an effort with the second batch. This, however, worked so well with the substitutions/simplification, that I’m not going to ‘gild the lily’ at all.


What I did have, though, was a jar of berbere (Ethiopian spice), so in the best traditions of “That’ll Do” cooking, I decided to use that instead.

Well, my dears, to quote the legendary Peter Kay – It’s a taste sensation!

It’s a savoury spice bread, without the (traditionally British) sugar. The raisins give little pockets of sweetness, which is delicious when set against the warmth of the spices. It is amazing on it’s own and also with butter, but add in some tasty cheddar and it is sublime!

A gif of Emma stone saying Yum.

The berbere mix I used had tumeric in it, so the loaves came out a beautiful golden yellow, which just adds another dimension to this recipe: different mixes will make for different colours.

So, fickle foodie that I am, everything else is now DEAD TO ME, because THIS is now my NEW FAVOURITE bread!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Berbere Bread

Obviously, you’re free to sub in your favourite spice mix, or indeed the original madras mix.

500g strong white flour
1 sachet fast-action yeast
1tsp salt
2tsp berbere spice mix
400ml warm water
120g raisins

  • Put the water into the bowl of a mixer. This will help mixing and prevent any clumps of flour being left unincorporated.
  • Put all of the dry ingredients except the raisins into the bowl of the mixer.
  • Knead the dough on slow or by hand for 10 minutes.
  • Knead on fast for two minutes.
  • Sprinkle in the raisins and mix to combine.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
  • Tip out the risen dough and gently pat into a rectangle.
  • Divide the dough into 2 or 3 small loaves or shape as you please.
  • Transfer to a lined baking sheet and sprinkle with flour. This not only looks nice but will hep prevent the cling film from sticking to the risen dough.
  • Cover lightly with cling film and allow to prove for another 30 minutes.
  • Heat the oven to 200°C, 180°C Fan.
  • Just before they go in the oven, cut a slash on the top of each loaf, the length of the loaf, to control the effects of oven spring.
  • Bake loaves for 25-35 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack. If you want the crusts to be soft, cover the hot bread with a clean towel and leave to cool.