Africhef for great South African Recipes and South African Cooking

Soetsuurdeeg Brood

An old South African recipe for a delicious, flavorful bread that was extremely popular in bygone times and which is making a comeback amongst those who value something better than your normal commercially sold bread

A brief explanation of why Salt-rising Bread (Soetsuurdeeg Brood) became popular among early colonists and settlers…

In the early days of European settlement in South Africa many people lived on isolated farms, or went on extended hunting trips far from any human habitation.

The Voortrekkers, boers who left the Cape after its annexing by Great Britain, were also bereft of the normal niceties of civilisation.

One of the things often unavailable was yeast needed to make the dough rise.

A number of alternative methods were used to get the bread to rise one of these, in common with the early colonists in America, was the making of Salt-rising Yeast hence the name Salt-rising Bread (Soetsuurdeeg Brood).

Although similar, the South African version has a number of differences to, and is far less complex than, the American version.

To make the salt-rising yeast a mixture of flour, salt and water is kept at an even lukewarm temperature overnight for use the next morning.


For the Salt-rising Yeast

1080ml (4½cup) water
5ml (1tsp) sugar
10ml (2tsp) salt
510g (1lb2oz) wholewheat flour

For the Salt-rising Bread

2kg750g (6lb) bread or all purpose flour
Pinch salt
30ml (2Tblsp) butter


Boil 830ml (3½cups) of the water and place in plastic or enamel bucket with a tight fitting lid.

Add the sugar and salt, stirring to dissolve

Sprinkle the wholewheat flour onto the surface of the water, do not stir.

Place the lid on the bucket and wrap it in a blanket before placing it in a warm area out of any draughts.

Leave overnight

In the morning boil the remaining 250ml (1cup) of water, remove from the heat and wait 1 minute before pouring it into the mixture in the bucket.

Cover and leave for 1 hour by which time it should be frothy and have a typical yeasty aroma.

Use immediately (This is important)


Mix sufficient yeast with the bread flour and salt to make a stiff dough, adding a little more warm water if necessary. Knead for about 10 minutes.

Melt the butter and brush it over the top of the dough, cover and leave in a warm place for ¾hour or until it doubles in volume, but not longer than the 45 minutes

Knock the dough down and shape into 2 loaves and place into greased loaf tins. Let rise for a further ¾ to 1 hour.

Place the salt-rising bread dough in a preheated oven and bake at 220oC (450oF) for +/-50 minutes until the loaves are golden brown. They should sound hollow when tapped.

Remove from the tins and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Salt Rising Bread (Soetsuurdeeg Brood) is a dense very flavorful bread and makes exceptionally good toast.

Go on…. Enjoy!

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