Wherever you go in Kenya, the smell of food cooking over coals will greet you. They call them “Jiko’s”, they are essentially mini barbeque stoves that cost a little over £1. You will find one of these in every Kenyan home, including the wealthy. Despite our apartments being very middle class for Kenya, more people are comfortable cooking with one of these than a gas or electric oven. As the plans for Jamii Bakery progress, we have regularly pondered how the outreach aspect of teaching nutrition and delivering cooking workshops in the community would look. If techniques are to be replicated then the means available to do it must be easily available to all. And so the experiments of Jiko bread have started.
Dorothy picked us up a Jiko, coals and a suffria (handless pan) and we lit the coals on the roof and patiently waited for them to turn grey. Before getting the coals on I prepared the dough as I would for a standard loaf and left it to rise.
Once the coals were ready in the base of the Jiko, we greased the inside of the suffria with a bit of butter (oil would do) and rolled the dough in to seven evenly sized balls to fit the base of the pan, six dough balls surrounding a single central one. Leave the dough balls to rise for 45mins in the suffria till almost double the size and you can leave an indent if you press the dough.
We then placed a big pan (big enough to hold the whole suffria) on to the coals and slid the suffia inside it. A lid is then placed on the suffria and a few hot coals placed on the lid.
We waited in great anticipation for about an hour. The finished result was beautiful soft, warm bread with a great crust and perfect for sharing! Let the Jiko bread continue!
Getting the coals going
We bring it in as the rains come
The team also make the most of the Jiko out in the field, enjoying the in season maize
As we write this we are awaiting our taxi (plus luggage) to return from the garage – the clutch went and we are still 25km from the airport, a great excuse to stop in Nairobi Artcaffe with real bread and coffee! We have the Jiko packed in our luggage, I couldn’t leave it behind.