In days gone by, most bread was baked in an outside oven or Dutch oven made of mud or bricks. On Trek, unless a convenient anthill could be excavated and transformed into a makeshift oven, bread was baked in a heavy cast-iron three-legged pot, an essential piece of camp equipment. This was later replaced by a heavy flat-bottomed pot with straight sides, because it was easier to turn out the bread.
Today potbrood is enjoying a popular revival and is excellent served at a braai or with potjiekos. If you cannot dig a hole to bury the pot in coals, it can be placed on a special cast-iron tripod or a few bricks. Make sure the pot has a flat bottom and straight sides and that the inside surface of the pot is smooth. The cast-iron pot for potbrood should be treated prior to baking.
Potbrood dough is the same as that for other yeast breads. After mixing, the dough is kneaded for about 10 minutes or until the dough leaves the sides of the mixing bowl. Leave the dough in a warm place to rise until double in size. Knock back and shape dough into a ball. Place in a greased, flat-bottomed cast-iron pot and flatten with the hands, making sure the dough fills only 1/3 of the pot. Cover with lid and leave in a warm place until double in bulk. Brush dough with melted butter, replace lid and position pot in a hole on top of a few coals. Place more coals on top of the lid and leave to bake for 45 minutes to l hour until crisply baked.
Note: The dough can be prepared in advance and frozen. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or thaw at room temperature. Once thawed, knock back and leave to rise a second time.
Category: South African Cuisine
Sub Category: Traditional