Ghana Sugar Bread (or sweet bread) is a sweet dense and chewy textured bread commonly eaten in Ghana. Other West Africans eat similar versions of this bread as well (for instance agege bread in Nigeria), and the recipe that I am sharing is tweak-able to cater to your taste.
I enjoy eating bread! That might be a major understatement. My mini obsession with bread started very young, so much so that one of my aunts had to tell me that if I continued to eat bread the way I did, a bread tree would grow out of my belly button… Sigh! I believed this tale for a while, especially after she asked me “where do you think breadfruit comes from?”. The fear of becoming a human breadfruit dispenser ruined my love for bread, however once I later found out that trees didn’t grow from your belly button, my long-lost love re-ignited.
My mom as a baker runs a food service business. The frequent varieties of bread she brought home from her bakery had me living in a mini paradise. I grew up with the privilege of eating extra fresh, good quality, homemade bread on an almost daily basis. My mom’s bread is the best, I tell you! Some days we had fruit bread, whole wheat bread, baguettes, bread rolls, cake bread, and one of my very favorites, Ghana Sugar bread.
Striving to be half the baker my mom is, has become one of my greatest motivations. And I must confess those are some grand shoes to fill! Recently, I called up my mom and asked her for the secret to making Ghana Sugar Bread, and getting the perfect texture that for me was so illusive. The secret she shared with me, which I will be sharing with you guys is this: Use a dough conditioner! What is that you say? A dough conditioner is simply something added to bread dough to enhance the texture of the bread. For this sugar bread, my mum recommended scalded flour and ascorbic acid as dough conditioners to try. These natural dough enhancers elevate your bread from basic bread to the most luxurious textured bread rolls characteristic of Ghana sweet bread.
You prepare the scalded flour by simply cooking 1/4 cup of water with 3/4 cup of bread flour on low- medium heat until it looks like a thick custard. The color of the scalded flour mixture should turn from an opaque white to a translucent off-white color. This indicates that the starch granules have burst, and the flour is scalded.
The ascorbic acid is simply powdered vitamin c (167% worth) but be careful not to be too generous with it; a little goes a long way. Even when doubling the recipe, this is one ingredient I will not double. Sometimes in a pinch when I’ve run out of absorbic acid, I have used lemon juice as a substitute. Be careful when doing this though because it can affect both the texture and the flavor of the bread. If you use lemon juice, substitute 1/8 teaspoon of ascorbic acid with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
Ghana Sugar Bread Rolls
- 390 g 2 2/3 cups bread flour
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 3/4 cup scalded flour
- 2 1/4 tsp 1 sachet active dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ascorbic acid
- Fill a small bowl with 1 cup of warm water (between 105°F- 115°F), sprinkle one tsp of sugar in the warm water and the yeast. Whisk the mixture till dissolved and set aside for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, the yeast should be foamy and should have bubbled up; if this does not happen, then your yeast may be inactive. Dump that batch and try again with new yeast.
- In a mixing bowl, mix in the flour, sugar, salt and ascorbic acid. Add in the scalded flour and activated yeast. Knead the dough for 15 minutes. It should be smooth to touch after kneading and not sticky.
- Place the dough in a bowl that has been greased lightly with vegetable oil, cover, and allow to rise in a warm place till it doubles in size (usually about 1 hour).
- After the dough is doubled, tip it out of the bowl on a clean work surface, and knead for five minutes.
- Preheat an oven to 350°F
- Divide the dough into 6 even balls and place in a baking pan covered with plastic wrap and allow it to rise until it has doubled in size.
- Bake the bread in the pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes. Finally, cool the baked bread for at least five minutes and serve.
Ghana Sugar Bread Nutrition
Serve these bread rolls warm with butter or with Akara as Akara burgers.