The traditional home baked bread ሓበሻ ድፎ ዳቦ is moist, tender and hearty, only if it's done right.
Meaning - No Rush!
Because of the low gluten content of barley grains, barley flour baking demands a bit more
attention than wheat flour baking,
Since this comfort food extraordinaire was steam baked wrapped in enset leaves (false banana
plant) for hours at a very low heat; its distinct flavor was enhanced by the infused aroma of the enset leaves as well as by the mild sour nuance of the wild yeast (irsho - እርሾ).
Back in the days, ingredients for the traditional
bread were just whole grain wheat and barley flour, salt, water and (እርሾ - irsho) (wild yeast). I remember dembelal (tiny aromatic
seeds), and tikur azmood (Ethiopian black cumin) were also added to the dough. Although sugar and oil were not added the habesha dabo was still
The heavenly aroma of this freshly
baked right out of the oven bread on display, always takes me on a priceless and sweet journey down memory lane.
Back in the days, the traditional bread was baked only on special occasions. It was huge with a diameter of about 2 to 3 feet. Yeah, you can feed an army with
Baking the traditional bread was a labor of
love. It was
also time-consuming, but it was worth it.
Have you ever wondered, back then in the good old
days, why the traditional bread took almost 24 hours, sometimes even more to make?
Here are some pointers:
Knowing the balance of fire fuel to dough amount is what sets apart the “untried” girls from the “real”
women. There was no way of knowing, if the habesha dabo was ready except by the
smell of fresh baked bread wrapped in the now crisp Enset leaves.
The fires were usually set around 4pm and when the evening would come, the heavenly smell of the habesha
dabo baked over an open fire, would announce that it was done.