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    Ethiopian Spice Bread

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    Ethiopian Spice Bread

    This recipe for ambasha, or Ethiopian spice bread, is adapted from 'Honey: a Connoisseur's Guide with Recipes' by American honey expert Gene Opton. Fenugreek is optional, but will give an authentically Ethiopian nuttiness.


    • 1 tablespoon dried yeast
    • 75ml warm water
    • 1 teaspoon honey or sugar
    • Pinch ground dried ginger
    • 1 egg
    • 100ml mild honey
    • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
    • 2 teaspoons ground fenugreek, optional
    • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
    • 220ml warm milk
    • 60g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    • 650g unbleached flour


    1. Combine the yeast, water, sugar and ginger in a small bowl and set in a warm, draught-free place until it bubbles vigorously.
    2. Combine the egg, honey, spices and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the milk and the butter. Whisk in about 100g of the flour. Add the yeast mixture and beat until all the ingredients are well blended.
    3. Add more flour in small additions, using only enough flour to make a soft dough. You may need to use your hands to mix in the last of the flour. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead the bread. The dough will be sticky. Use a dough-scraper to clean the board and turn the mass of dough. Avoid adding more flour. After about 4 minutes, the dough will become smoother and more elastic. Shape into a rough ball and place in a large bowl, covered, to rise until doubled in bulk.
    4. Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas 2. Punch down the dough and knead for a few minutes. Divide into 8 evenly sized balls (about 140g each). Using your hands, stretch and flatten each piece of dough to form a rough circle. They should be about 15cm wide. Make a few indents in the dough circles with your fingertips, and place on a greased baking tray. You may need to do this in several batches.
    5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until each one has turned a light golden brown colour. Remove and transfer to a rack to cool.

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