Yesterday, I went grocery shopping with Bee, the mother of my godson. And she said she had to buy Nigerian bread. So, even though we had nothing to buy at the African food store, two adult women and an almost two-year-old toddler drove to there. After so much effort, the bread was out of stock. Maybe we should have spent the time making Hokkaido milk bread instead.
Of course, the missing bread wasn’t from Nigeria. But, that tiny bit of detail does not matter. What matters is that the bread can function like a Nigerian bread. Does it have that dense texture that barely collapses when squashed? Can this bread soak up the right about of fried stew without becoming a soggy mess? Can you fold a slice of this bread around a juicy stick of beef suya meet and find yourself in heaven?
If there is one thing I miss about Lagos, it is agbalumo. Bread makes it on the list after that. I recently have gotten into making enriched bread because I find the textures closer to Nigerian bread than any other kind. I have loved eating and making all sorts of Challah bread, including the Grapefruit and Dark Chocolate filled one I tried. For the longest time, I could not go to H Mart, an Asian food store, without picking up a selection of bread. The first kind of Asian centric bread I made was the Milk Bread recipe from Woks of Life. I loved that recipe so much that I converted it into a coconut bread recipe. I should probably document my version on this blog.
The tangzhong in this recipe roped me into making the Hokkaido Japanese Bread. The idea that adding a portion of cooked dough could change the texture of the bread intrigued me. It gave it a stringy texture that had that dense feel that I love in Nigerian bread.
When I try a new recipe, and it reminds of living in Lagos, I am emotional. The best bit of cooking and baking for me lies in being able to create moments of joy. The pursuit of joy has made me make this bread recipe from Food52 a few times already. I read through a few recipes before I finally decided on the Food52 version.
This bread has now become a favorite of Bee and the baby. There is just something about dense breads that makes Nigerian keep reaching for a slice.