Spar’s Magic Bread

by | Jul 18, 2012 | Food and Drink, Johannesburg, Melville and Surrounds | 44 comments

Two days ago I went to Spar, the grocery store in Melville, with my friend Anita. Anita noticed something in the refrigerated section near the bakery.

“Look at that!” Anita shouted.

There was a row of plastic bags, each containing a ball of dough. The bags weren’t sealed or anything — just sitting there, open, with dough inside.  Each bag cost R10 (about $1.20).

“You can make bread with this,” Anita told me.

“Really?” I was skeptical. I’m not the bread-baking type.

“Really.”

I picked up a dough ball and inspected it. It felt pleasantly springy in my hands. I dropped it into my basket.

The rest is history.

This:

Dough ball from Spar. Would this happen in an American Safeway? I think not.

Became this:

Spar’s Magic Bread.

It was so easy. I went home, typed “baking bread” into Google, and clicked on the first link that came up. I tore the dough ball in half, put one half in the fridge and the other one on my cutting board. I kneaded the dough for a minute or so, put it in a ceramic bowl, covered the bowl with a plate, and left it overnight.

The next morning I punched down the dough. (That’s right. I punched it!) Then I kneaded it again, shaped it (badly), put it on a cookie sheet and let it sit for 20 minutes under a towel. Then I baked it for 30 minutes at 375°F.

If you look really carefully you can see some steam coming off the bread where it was cut.

It was delicious. I got so excited that I baked the other half of the dough the very next day. This time I photographed the process.

Raw dough, before kneading.

Ready to rise.

Same dough, different day. I let the dough sit overnight but it only needs an hour or so.

Punching the dough down. Sorry for the bad photo, it’s hard to punch and shoot at the same time.

Ready to bake. My bread-sculpting skills need work.

Done.

Two fresh-baked loaves of bread for R10. What a deal — one loaf of the crappy pre-sliced stuff costs R8.

I baked bread. This would only happen in South Africa.

44 Comments

  1. Gail Scott McDonnell Wilson

    Looks really good especially the piece with the melting butter, now you got to try making pizza’s with that there dough!

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Yes, next time for sure!

      Reply
  2. Grace

    Hmmm….I wonder if I can find them here too. We have Interspar here instead of spar. Could it be the same company? Oh well, I better go and check it out.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      What country do you live in? I’m guessing Interspar is a different company. Good luck though 🙂

      Reply
      • Grace

        I’m in the Czech Republic. It got me thinking because the way “spar” is written closely resembles “interspar”….but yeah, it may be a different company. Either way, I’m going to check their chilled/frozen dough section.

        Reply
  3. Anne

    Sometimes you have to ask for the dough at the bakery section, they don’t always have it prepacked and ready to go. I never realised this was a south african specific thing…

    Reply
    • Grace

      Thanks for the tip!

      Reply
    • 2summers

      I don’t know about other countries, but I’ve definitely never seen this before in the US.

      Reply
  4. Kathryn McCullough

    Good God, that looks good! There’s nothing I have a greater weekness for than bread!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Me too, Kathy. I’ve eaten way too much of it the past two days.

      Reply
  5. buckwheatsrisk

    i saw the steam! and now i am hungry for homemade bread!!

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Glad you appreciate the steam too.

      Reply
  6. thirdeyemom

    Love it! I like to make pumpkin bread and others but haven’t made homemade bread in years. I am a huge bread lover so I dearly wished we could buy freshly made dough here! On another note, I am off to your old hometown on Friday to do some advocacy work with a group called Results whose conference coincides with the big international AIDS one. I will be learning about all kinds of cool stuff and meeting with my members of congress on Tueday to advocate. Should be fascinating!

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Cool! I have tons of friends who will be at the IAS conference. Enjoy.

      Reply
      • thirdeyemom

        Thanks! I thought so as I remember you used to work with an AIDS group. I am really excited!

        Reply
  7. tomorrowslices

    Well done you! Good punching practice for your boxing too! 🙂

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Yes, I did practice my form during the punching.

      Reply
  8. shirley fodor

    would you like an actual recipe for bread – so you can save even more?

    Reply
    • 2summers

      I suppose I’ve come this far, I guess I should just go the extra mile and make it from scratch. I’m not sure though, might be one step to far for a non-baking girl like myself 🙂

      Reply
  9. Elvira Nel

    Lovely story left me smiling and hungry for home made bread!

    Reply
  10. mzansigirl

    Spar bread dough is great, but bread really isn’t that hard to make. Just buy a packet of instant yeast and follow the instructions on the packet. Love kneading dough and punching it in! I find it much easier than baking a cake 🙂

    Reply
    • 2summers

      You’re right, it does seem easier. No worrying about the cake cracking and sticking to the edges of the pan.

      Reply
  11. Noelene

    Also try the following. Break the dough into tennis sizedballs. In a baking tray pour 250ml cream and 250ml brown sugar, place balls of dough on top of cream and sugar, pour 250ml cream and 250ml brown sugar over the balls of dough and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 1 hour.
    Lovely sweet treat. Alternatively pour soup powder over instead of brown sugar for a savoury treat.
    This makes enough for 10 people.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      That sounds delicious! Will try.

      Reply
  12. Lilly Loompa

    I know that dough too well. It has a way of making you look good when all you’ve done was just pop it in the oven! You find it at most Spar’s also where I’m from in Paarl. You’ve tickled my taste-buds…think I’ll try baking the real thing tomorrow!

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Yep, it’s so easy, even I can do it 🙂 Glad I inspired you to bake.

      Reply
  13. Wayne

    Thanks for the tip! We had pizza tonight and tomorrow will have dinner rolls.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Awesome, happy to help.

      Reply
  14. Eugenia A Parrish

    They say women got into baking bread because punching the dough and slapping it around was less risky than doing it to your husband, no matter how much he deserved it!

    Reply
  15. Francis

    Look really good and must have smelled marvelous during and after the cooking. 🙂

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Thanks Francis, it did!

      Reply
  16. Hein

    Tip – Use the exact same dough, but break off smaller pieces and roll on to small balls (golf ball size).
    Once you have the a few balls, press them flat and drop in to a saucepan of very hot oil (There should be enough oil for the balls to puff up and float in – oh, any use normal cooking oil). Cook until golden brown / cooked through. This is a traditional South African treat, called Vetkoek (directly translated = Fat Cake, lol).

    It’s delicious. Serve with butter and jam, or South African style – with Minced Meat…

    Reply
    • 2summers

      I love Vetkoek! I’m going to do this. Thanks.

      Reply
  17. bridgetw

    That looks really delicious. Home-made bread is definitely better than bought bread.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      No doubt. I need to get some more of that dough.

      Reply
  18. lisa

    2Summers, you can also add pieces of fried bacon and 1 Cup grated cheddar cheese then stack them as if making rusks (balls next to one another) and bake at 180c for about 30-45 min and there you have lovely bacon and cheese rolls good for a barbeque or a lekka braai as we say in SA

    Reply
    • 2summers

      That sounds AMAZING. I’m leaving for Spar right now 🙂

      Reply
  19. Stephanie

    Bought some and going to break off chunks, flatter and Sprinkle with grated cheese and garlic and roll up into loaves. Can’t wait to see what I end up with.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      That sounds amazing!

      Reply

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