Spar’s Magic Bread

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.

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42 Comments

  • Reply Gail Scott McDonnell Wilson July 18, 2012 at 8:58 pm

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

    • Reply 2summers July 18, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      Yes, next time for sure!

  • Reply Grace July 18, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    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 July 18, 2012 at 9:29 pm

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

      • Reply Grace July 18, 2012 at 9:37 pm

        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 Anne July 18, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    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 July 19, 2012 at 7:34 am

      Thanks for the tip!

    • Reply 2summers July 19, 2012 at 7:34 am

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

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough July 18, 2012 at 11:25 pm

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

    • Reply 2summers July 19, 2012 at 7:34 am

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

  • Reply buckwheatsrisk July 19, 2012 at 2:13 am

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

    • Reply 2summers July 19, 2012 at 7:33 am

      Glad you appreciate the steam too.

  • Reply thirdeyemom July 19, 2012 at 3:25 am

    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 July 19, 2012 at 7:33 am

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

      • Reply thirdeyemom July 20, 2012 at 4:14 am

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

  • Reply Howlin' Mad Heather July 19, 2012 at 3:57 am

    That looks sooooo good!

  • Reply tomorrowslices July 19, 2012 at 4:11 am

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

    • Reply 2summers July 19, 2012 at 7:32 am

      Yes, I did practice my form during the punching.

  • Reply shirley fodor July 19, 2012 at 6:07 am

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

    • Reply 2summers July 19, 2012 at 7:32 am

      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 Elvira Nel July 19, 2012 at 6:43 am

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

  • Reply mzansigirl July 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    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 July 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm

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

  • Reply Coach Sue July 20, 2012 at 1:21 am

    Yum!

    Sue Bock
    http://couragetoadventurecoaching.wordpress.com

  • Reply Noelene July 20, 2012 at 9:43 am

    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 July 20, 2012 at 9:53 am

      That sounds delicious! Will try.

  • Reply Lilly Loompa July 20, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    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 July 21, 2012 at 5:16 am

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

  • Reply Wayne July 21, 2012 at 7:02 pm

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

    • Reply 2summers July 21, 2012 at 7:06 pm

      Awesome, happy to help.

  • Reply Eugenia A Parrish July 21, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    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 Francis July 22, 2012 at 7:37 am

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

    • Reply 2summers July 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm

      Thanks Francis, it did!

  • Reply Hein July 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    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 July 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm

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

  • Reply bridgetw August 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm

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

    • Reply 2summers August 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm

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

  • Reply lisa December 24, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    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 December 24, 2015 at 3:55 pm

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

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