Why the term Agege style, well it truly is Agege style, because calling it Agege bread will open me up to too much tongue wagging, or people typing faster than their reasoning can process, so I will take the safer route and use the term “style” which purports that, though not the same or claiming to be the same, it is similar and people, this is very similar. The story behind this is quite funny, and oh so typical of my experience with baking. After successfully making Homemade Baguette (recipe HERE), which my senior colleague loved so much, she was on her way to buy a sandwich and she came back saying, I would rather have more of Dunni’s bread. Yaaaaay for me. I thought to take on another bread making challenge, this time Dinner rolls, as I was taking slow cooker made goat meat peppersoup to a friend’s house, to spend half term with her and the children. Dinner rolls and peppersoup is just gorgeous. If you have always eaten peppersoup with rice, plantain or yam, you need to try eating it with dinner rolls. Anyways, I went back to the same site. The recipe makes 36 dinner rolls, and I thought nah, I would halve it and make 18 instead.
Armed with my ingredients and confident in my bread making skills, I started on the dinner rolls. Again people, I misread the recipe and went over the stated measurements. The yeast should have been 3g, I added 4g. The recipe called for butter, I forgot to buy so I used margarine. The full recipe stated 2 and a half cups of flour, Lord knows, I don’t know how I saw 3 cups, which I translated to 1 and a half cups of flour, since I was halving the recipe. Three strikes against Dunni. Even at that, the dough was way too sticky, and I kept sprinkling in more flour to make it hold, also being mindful of the recipe stating, the dough should feel elastic and silky but not dry. The beauty of this is that, I did not even measure how much extra flour I was sprinkling. I was just sprinkling blindly until the dough held its shape without sticking to my fingers. Strike 4.
Of course, after the stipulated time, the dough had not risen as it should. It had more flour than the yeast could probably handle. I was pissed. Deciding not to give up, I took the entire container to Kemi’s house hoping it would continue rising. Arriving at her house, I said sorry, no posh Lunch for us today, we will have just peppersoup and she laughed, replying, trust me Dunni, the peppersoup is more than enough, you shouldn’t have bothered. We had Lunch, had a good ol’ chat, talked shop for hours, till it got dark. Shortly before I was to set off back home, I suddenly remembered my dough, which I had kept on her kitchen worktop. The poor abandoned dough had been rising for waaaaaaaaay longer than the recipe stipulated, but it had risen well enough, all the same. Oh well, lets form it into the dinner rolls shape, and leave it to rise again as per the recipe. At this point,Kemi laughed and said Dunni, which recipe, recipe you have thrown out of the window since. This dough has been left for hours, I don’t think it has any more rise left in it. Noooo, lets see, you never know. People, it behaved as it should. It rose again, and we baked at 180 for 20minutes. What came out of the oven was shocking to say the least. You know that gluey, stretchy nature of Agege bread. Eeeeeeexactly, that stretchy, pull apart texture, yeeeeees, that one. Whoop, whoop, I got it. I repeated the process, this time making sure I measured to an extent at least. Here’s how
You will need
6 tsp warm water
2 levelled cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
2 levelled tbs margarine
1/2 levelled tsp salt
1 egg and a dash of milk for egg wash
Measure, measure, measure
1. Measure your yeast and mix with the measured warm water.
Leave the yeast to activate for roughly 10minutes till it becomes thick and frothy/foamy
2. While you are waiting for the yeast to froth, measure the milk and margarine. On very low heat, melt the margarine in the milk. You don’t want the solution to get hot, just warm enough to melt the margarine. If the solution gets hot, it will kill the yeast.
3. Add the frothy yeast and honey to the food processor bowl, with the dough blade attached. You should also be able to do this manually without a mixer or food processor. Just pour the yeast mixture in a big bowl.
4. Add the warmed up milk with the melted margarine, the salt and 1 cup of the flour
5. Turn the dial to minimum until the ingredients combine. If you were doing this without a machine, use a spatula to gently combine the ingredients. The mixture will have the look and feel of thick batter.
6. Then add half a cup of flour, and turn the machine back on for a few minutes, till the flour combines.
The dough will still feel too wet and sticky. This was the point I got angry and confused with the original recipe. I kept saying yo myself, are you kidding me? 1 and a half cups later, what kind of dough is this, and of course, all reason flew out of the window, and i started sprinkling in flour, and more sprinkling of flour till the dough formed. Lol
7. Then add the final half cup. Mind you, add this last half cup in bits with the machine still on. You may find that you may need the entire half cup, or you will need slightly more or slightly less. If you need more, use your fingers to sprinkle in more and leave the machine to knead for a few more minutes, till the dough forms and begins to pull away cleanly or almost cleanly, from the side of the bowl. This is what your dough should look like.
Looks are not even as important here, as what the dough should feel like. It should feel very soft, elastic and silky.
Silky enough to slide off your fingers easily without sticking to your finger or palm
this is vital. It must NOT be so soft and wet that it sticks to your fingers. If it does, just sprinkle a little flour, and I mean a little and knead. Form the dough into a ball, and as I wrote above, the dough should still feel quite soft, elastic and silky. It shouldn’t feel dry or floury.
most of all, your palms should be clean after forming the dough into a ball
8. Put the dough ball into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil to coat the dough and the sides of the bowl. Leave to rise in a turned off oven for 5 hours. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: i was only repeating my first experience of the duration of forgetting errrr, more like abandoning the dough on Kemi’s kitchen work top. Lol
9. 5 hours later, this is what the dough looked like. Well risen, but still looks and feels elastic.
When I made this the first time, as we 4 adults in the kitchen were waiting for the second rise, Kemi’s friend Tayo pulled up a Youtube video of an exposé about the conditions Agege bread is made in. While the video was showing the deplorable conditions of the bakery, Kemi mentioned something which caught my attention. The dough which was being shown in the video had the same consistency as mine. She said Dunni, look at that, your dough looks like that, very elastic and soft. Hmmmmmn, I said. At that time, to me, the recipe had gone all wrong, and I didn’t have much faith in my dough. Doubting Thomas me. Lol.
10. Pour the dough out onto a plastic sheet. See, the dough should still feel, soft and elastic and not sticky. It still has enough olive oil on it, so it should feel smooth to touch, again not sticky. While it is on the plastic sheet, knock the air out of the dough.
11. Flatten it form it into a rectangular, log shape, and then tuck in around the edges and form into a loaf shape that can fit into your bread pan.
12. Leave to rise a second time for 1 and a half hours. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: the original recipe I used said the second rise should be for about 20 – 25 minutes, but I wanted to be extra lucky, and I left it to rise for 1hour 30minutes. You can leave to rise until it doubles in size. It could take less time for that to happen.
13. Break an egg, whisk with a little dash of milk.
use a pastry brush, to give the dough a good egg wash. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: carefully apply the egg wash. Don’t put pressure at all, so as not to deflate the dough. Carefully and gently apply the egg wash.
14. Bake at 170 degree centigrade for 25minutes, or till the dough is brown on the outside and cooked on the outside.
Ta daaaaaa. Sure does look Agege ish, doesn’t it.
Even the under side of the bread, has that look and texture. The extra brown lines, are from the egg wash seeping down.
I just had to take lots of pictures from afferent angles
to showcase my Agege style bread
In the clear light of day, you can see how elastic the bread is
In daylight, tearing into it, I broke out into a big smile and victory dance. The gluey, stretchy, texture we love about Agege bread is right there. No cake texture at all
Even the taste and aroma was quite close. The other adults agreed. Of course, it will taste slightly richer because of the milk, but not way off that it tastes like ‘foreign bread’, for want of a better phrase to use. It will still smell and taste quite familiar. More like a refined version of Agege bread.
Who would have thought, that a disaster baking bread attempt could finally crack the Agege bread code. Most, if not all the other bread we buy or bake has a cake like texture, with lots of fine grainy holes in it. This clearly doesn’t. You can see the stretchiness.
One thing we all know with agege bread is that chemcials are involved in its production. If you did not know, sorry to be the one to tell you, but it does and lots of it too. These chemicals have been banned, but it doesn’t stop them from using it, neither does it stop us from eating it. My post is not about bashing Agege bread, far be it for me to do so. I would only like to point out that you can replicate the taste and effect food additives provide using natural ingredients. Of course you may not get it 100% but when you think of what you are saving yourself from, and if you live abroad and you have missed the taste and texture of agege bread, then this is for you. The honey could also have contributed to the silky and elastic dough, who knows. I made a mistake and came away with a genius recipe. I sure aint complaining. Hehehehehe. Enjoy
Stay tuned for the herby version of this bread, using Efinrin (scent leaf) and Basil for aromatic dinner rolls. The dinner rolls that sarted this whole journey. They are sure to wow with Peppersoup.