Isonka samanzi (steamed bread)

Isonka samanzi (steamed bread)

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  • 6
  • Easy
  • 15 minutes
  • 1 hour

Steamed bread is by far one of the things that disappears the fastest in my home. There’s something about the crustlessness of steamed bread that makes it such a winner for mopping up soups and stews. Best eaten warm slathered with too much butter and a lick of apricot jam.


  • 1 kg cake flour, plus extra for dusting 
  • 10 g instant dry yeast 
  • 2 1/2 T vegetable oil 
  • 2 T salt 
  • 2 1/2 T brown sugar 
  • 3 1/2 cups lukewarm water 

Cooking Instructions

1. Place all dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and gradually add the water, working it into the mixture until a dough begins to form. Add the water slowly so the dough isn’t too wet.
2. Knead in the bowl for 5–10 minutes until the dough is no longer sticky and is workable. Roll into a ball and return to the bowl. Cover with clingwrap, place somewhere warm and allow the dough to prove until doubled in size.
3. Once the dough has risen, knock down and reshape into a ball. Line a metal or enamel bowl with greaseproof paper and place the dough inside. Pour 6 cups of water into a large saucepan. Place the bowl with the dough in it inside the saucepan of water and cover with tin foil, sealing the edges tightly.
4. Turn on the stove and bring the water to the boil to steam the bread. Steam for 35–40 minutes, ensuring the water does not completely evaporate. Once the bread is ready, carefully uncover the saucepan and, using oven mitts or a dry tea towel, remove the bowl of steamed bread. Allow to cool slightly and remove the bread from the bowl. Slice and serve warm.

Find more South African recipes here.

Photograph: Toby Murphy 

Khanya Mzongwana Recipe by: Khanya Mzongwana
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If you're anything like our deputy food editor Khanya Mzongwana, you're obsessed with uniqueness and food with feeling. Cook her family-tested favourites, midweek winners and her mouth-wateringly fresh takes on plant-based eating.

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