Basic bread dough

One bread dough to rule them all! Turn this handy recipe into vetkoek, steamed bread or butter buns.

 More than 1 hour

Serves 4+


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  • 3 cups (450g) cake flour
  • 1 tsp (5ml) salt
  • 1 Tbsp (15ml) white sugar
  • 1 sachet (10g) yeast 
  • 2¼ cups (560ml) warm water



  1. Combine ingredients in a large bowl, adding enough water to make a sticky (not wet) dough.
  2. Knead for 6-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
  3. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  4. Knock back dough by kneading it again. 
  5. Continue with one of the below recipe options.



  1. Divide dough into 6 portions. 
  2. Shape each one into a smooth ball, cover with a cloth and set aside to rise for 15 more minutes. 
  3. Heat enough oil in a large pot for deep-frying. 
  4. Fry vetkoek in batches for 6-8 minutes, until cooked through and golden. 
  5. Drain on kitchen paper, and serve while still hot with butter or your favourite filling (like chicken or mince curry). 


Steamed herb bread

  1. Knead 3 Tbsp (45ml) of chopped fresh herbs like parsley, coriander or thyme in to knocked back dough.
  2. Cover with a cloth and set aside to rise again for 15 minutes. 
  3. Divide dough in two and shape each half into a ball. 
  4. Place one dough ball into a medium-size greased metal bowl, and place this bowl into a large pot of simmering water (the water should not come more than halfway up the side of the bowl). 
  5. Cover pot with a lid and steam bread gently for 1 hour, or until cooked through. 
  6. Repeat process with remaining dough, or steam two breads in separate pots at the same time.
  7. Serve freshly steamed bread with butter. 


Butter buns:

  1. Divide dough into 12 portions. 
  2. Shape each portion into a ball.
  3. Cover balls with a cloth and set aside to rise for 15 more minutes. 
  4. Place dough balls on a baking tray and brush generously with melted butter. 
  5. Bake at 180°C for about 10 minutes 
  6. Remove from oven, brush again with melted butter and bake for 8-10 minutes more or until cooked through.  Bread should be golden on top and feel light when picked up.
  7. Remove from oven and brush immediately with more melted butter. 
  8. Set aside to cool, then serve with a spicy atchar.


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