Himbasha Ethiopian Celebration Bread

Himbasha Ethiopian Celebration Bread

 

It’s Christmas in Ethiopia!   The day Orthodox christians celebrate the birth of Jesus.

We have an extra special little Ethiopian in our family and many wonderful Ethiopian and Eritrean friends, so we celebrate this day every year.  It’s such a nice holiday.  All the hubbub of our commercial Christmas is over. We can take more time to honour the true reason for the season.  It’s not traditional to give gifts except for maybe something small.  This year when I asked the Mini Taste Tester what he would like, he asked for the sweetest thing, his very favourite food – Himbasha/Ambasha – Ethiopian celebration bread.  A perfect request.  Done!

I’ve been experimenting for a while to make a recipe for Himbasha that is similar to what my Ethiopian and Eritrean friends make.  These ladies amaze me as they do all of their cooking out of their heads.  No cookbooks required!  Well, after a few mediocre attempts, I have a Mini Taste Tester approved recipe.  This makes my heart sing!

Merry Christmas and Melkam Genna!

Himbasha – Ethiopian Celebration Bread

**EDITED – Instructions & Photos**

(JUMP TO PRINTABLE)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup warm milk (whole milk is best)
  • 5 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4-5 cups flour

Directions

  1. Combine yeast, water and 2 teaspoons sugar in a small bowl.  Allow to proof for 5-10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together until smooth the egg, sugar, nigella seeds (optional) and salt.
  3. Add the yeast mixture, warmed milk and canola oil.  Whisk until well blended.
  4. Add flour slowly about a half cup at a time until the mixture forms a soft dough.  When the dough is still sticky, but doesn’t stick to the edge of the bowl, it’s ready to knead.
  5. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead adding flour as necessary. This takes 5-6 minutes. Your dough should feel soft and elastic, but not stick to the board or your hands when you are finished.
  6. Spray a large stainless steel or glass bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to ensure all sides are covered in oil. This will prevent the dough from drying out.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and then a tea towel and place in a warm location until it doubles in size. This takes about 90 minutes.
  8. Punch down the dough a few times to remove air bubbles.
  9. Grease a 14″ round cake pan or large pizza pan (preferably one with higher sides).  Place the dough onto the pan and press into a round.
  10. Cover with a tea towel, return to warm location and let rise for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
  11. With a butter knife, cut into sections and decorate as desired.
  12. Bake at 325°F for 35-45 minutes or until the top is crusty and light golden brown.
  13. Remove from the oven and lightly brush with butter.
  14. Cut into 2-3 inch pieces and serve.

Notes:

  • My house tends to be cool, so I turn my oven light on when I start mixing the dough. Just before the Himbasha goes into the oven to rise, I turn the oven on to 170°F for 1 minute and then shut it off immediately. The oven then retains enough heat for the rising process.
  • The Nigella seeds make this sweet bread a little bit more savoury.

Basic Dinner Buns

Mix yeast, water and sugar in a small bowl and leave to proof for 5-10 minutes.  It should bubble on top.

Himbasha

Place dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes until dough is soft and elastic.

Himbasha

Once the dough has risen, punch down a few times to remove air bubbles.

Himbasha

Press the dough into cake pan or large pizza pan and form into a round and let rise for 30-60 minutes.

Himbasha

After second rise, decorate as desired.  This is how one of my Eritrean friends decorates hers.

Himbasha

Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown and brush lightly with butter.  

I need to work on my decorating skills!  The cuts and indents should have been deeper or done after rising instead.  I’ll inquire about that and update later.  UPDATE:  Yes!  The decorating should be done ager the second rise.  

Himbasha

One beautiful, perfectly round Himbasha!  I love my new pan.  I won’t use anything else!

Himbasha

So, so good!

Himbasha

Cut and serve with coffee, tea or a meal.  

Author:  Red Dish Kitchen

Himbasha Ethiopian Celebration Bread
 
An Ethiopian/Eritrean mildly sweet, soft, celebration bread. Perfect to serve with coffee, tea or a meal.
Author:
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Ethiopian
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup warm milk (whole milk is best)
  • 5 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4-5 cups flour
Directions
  1. Combine yeast, water and 2 teaspoons sugar in a small bowl. Allow to proof for 5-10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together until smooth the egg, sugar, nigella seeds (optional) and salt.
  3. Add the yeast mixture, warmed milk and canola oil. Whisk until well blended.
  4. Add flour slowly about a half cup at a time until the mixture forms a soft dough. When the dough is still sticky, but doesn’t stick to the edge of the bowl, it’s ready to knead.
  5. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead adding flour as necessary. This takes 5-6 minutes. Your dough should feel soft and elastic, but not stick to the board or your hands when you are finished.
  6. Spray a large stainless steel or glass bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to ensure all sides are covered in oil. This will prevent the dough from drying out.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and then a tea towel and place in a warm location until it doubles in size. This takes about 90 minutes.
  8. Punch down the dough a few times to remove air bubbles.
  9. Grease a 14" round cake pan or large pizza pan (preferably one with higher sides). Place the dough onto the pan and press into a round.
  10. Cover with a tea towel, return to warm location and let rise for 30 minutes - 1 hour.
  11. With a butter knife, cut into sections and decorate as desired.
  12. Bake at 325°F for 35-45 minutes or until the top is crusty and light golden brown.
  13. Remove from the oven and lightly brush with butter.
  14. Cut into 2-3 inch pieces and serve.
Notes
My house tends to be cool, so I turn my oven light on when I start mixing the dough. Just before the Himbasha goes into the oven to rise, I turn the oven on to 170°F for 1 minute and then shut it off immediately. The oven then retains enough heat for the rising process.
The Nigella seeds make this sweet bread a little bit more savoury.

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