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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

BAKING IN KENYA SERIES: Raising Agents used in Baking in Kenya

This is the second post on our Baking In Kenya Series focusing on ingredients used in baking and are available in Kenya.

Yeast is used to help breads rise


Today's post is on different raising agents used while baking.

  1. Baking Powder
    This is a chemical raising agent that is a blend of acid and an alkali (baking soda). Baking powder works by creating carbon dioxide gas when you add liquid and heat. The gas is what makes the rising possible. Baking powder is used for baking cakes, cupcakes and cookies.
    Baking powder

  2. Baking Soda
    This is also a chemical raising agent, it's an alkali. Baking soda is used when there is an acidic ingredient present e.g. applesauce, buttermilk (maziwa mala), chocolate, cocoa powder, honey, lemon juice, molasses etc. Products rise through creation of carbon dioxide due to liquid and heat as well. Baking soda is used when stated in a recipe for cakes, cupcakes and cookies.
    Baking Soda

  3. Yeast
    This is a natural leavener. It is used for breads and bread products such as buns, croissants, pastries etc. Click on this link for more information on how yeast works.
    Active dry yeast

  4. Eggs
    Eggs are also natural raising agents. When egg whites are whisked or beaten with sugar, this creates a rise and helps in the rising of cakes while baking. You can use egg yolks and sugar in the same way. Many sponge recipes use eggs as a raising agent.


If you have any more suggestions on any other raising agents, please comment below.

Happy Baking ^_^!

Sign up for our baking classes to learn how raising agents work while baking. Visit our webpage for more info, e-mail us: info@amaribakery.com or CallText/WhatsApp: 0701796688

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

3 Tips on dealing with differences between Electric or Gas ovens and Charcoal Ovens

In this post on our Baking with A Charcoal Oven Series, we want to give you a few tips on getting past the differences between charcoal ovens and gas or electric ovens.
Charcoal Oven

We hope this helps you in getting used to baking with your charcoal oven.

  1. Lighting your oven
    While lighting a gas or electric oven, it's as easy as flipping a switch, turning a knob or pressing a button. A charcoal oven requires lighting a jiko then lighting the oven burners with the coals from the jiko. Click on this link for more details on lighting your charcoal oven. This is a bit more time-consuming but once you get used to the small routine, it's a matter of organizing yourself and it will be very easy for you. It's worth it since a charcoal oven is more economical.
    Lighting a charcoal oven is not so hard ^_^
  2. Temperature Control
    The other difference on the ovens is temperature control. Gas or electric ovens have an in-built temperature gauge that makes it easy to set the temperature. The charcoal oven takes a bit of getting used to when it comes to temperature control. To get a high temperature, you just add a bit more coal to get more heat on the burners. For low heat, you put less heat (coals) in the burners for a lower temperature. You can get used to the kind of heat you prefer to use with regular practice. However, a sure way to have a perfect temperature every time is to purchase a high temperature thermometer and place it in your oven while preheating to get the correct temperature for the oven.
    You can use a high temp thermometer for temperature control
      If you would like to get practice on getting used to it, you can sign up for one of our classes to learn how to bake with a charcoal oven.
  3. Safety
    While baking you should make sure you use oven mitts while handling the oven and baking pans at all times.
    Use Oven Mitts for kitchen safety (courtesy:huset-shop.com)
    While baking with a charcoal oven, it is important to make sure you have them since a charcoal oven can get very hot (hotter than a gas or electric oven gets) and even the doors can burn your skin with very little contact. Just make sure you avoid touching any part of the charcoal oven with your bare hands, or without oven mitts, and always wear a long sleeved top or chef coat while baking to avoid burns.
We hope those few tips will help you get used to your charcoal oven.

If you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to comment below. Thank you ^_^!

Sign up for our Baking Classes and learn how to bake with a charcoal oven. Visit our webpage for more info, email us: info@amaribakery.com or Call/Text/WhatsApp: 0701796688

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

This week's recipe is a pastry recipe. Our favorite – Cinnamon Rolls ^_^!

Delicious Cinnamon Rolls!

You can also add raisins in this recipe to make it truly delicious and if you would like, add some royal icing on it. Hope you have fun baking these as much as we did!

  • Sugar - ¼ cup
  • Yeast - ¾ t
  • Salt - 1/8 t
  • Egg - 1 pce (beaten)
  • Margarine - ¼ cup
  • Milk (lukewarm) - 1/8 cup
  • Water (lukewarm) - 1 cup
  • Sugar - ¼ cup
  • Cinnamon - 1 T
  • Margarine - 1 T
  • (Opt.) Raisins – ¼ cup

    1. In a medium bowl, measure you yeast and add a pinch of sugar to help activate the yeast. Then pour in small amount of lukewarm water (appx. 1 T) and let stand for at least 3 minutes.
      Activate yeast in a small bowl
    2. In a large bowl, measure the flour, salt and sugar and mix together. 
    3. Put in the margarine into the flour mixture and mix it with your hands, you can also use a pastry cutter to cut the fat into the flour. Then make a small hole in the middle of your flour mixture in the bowl.
      Add wet ingredients in a small hole in flour mixture
    4. In the small hole, pour the egg, yeast mixture and the milk and start combining all the ingredients to form a dough. Gradually add the lukewarm water until your dough is firm and has a preferred texture; then form it into a ball.
      Mix your dough with clean hands and form a ball
    5. Proof your dough for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
      Proof dough until doubled in size
    6. Grease and flour a baking sheet pan and set aside. Then flour your working surface and put your dough on the prepared surface.
      Prepare your work surface
      Knead the dough for up to 10 minutes. If you are adding raisins to the dough, do so now by just pouring the raisins on the dough and kneading the dough together with them. Then using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a rectangular shape.
      Shape your dough into a rectangle using a rolling pin
    7. For the filling: put the sugar and cinnamon in  small bowl and mix thoroughly.
      Cinnamon and sugar mixture
      Then spread the tablespoon of margarine on your rectangular-shaped dough. Pour the cinnamon sugar mixture and cover the entire surface area of the dough. 
    8. Starting from the edge closest to you, roll up the dough until the end. Straighten the roulade and then cut about 1 inch pieces, you should have around 7 - 8 pieces.
      Cut the roulade into 8 pieces
    9. Place the individual rolls on a grease and floured baking sheet and allow space in between the rolls for rising.
      Leave space between the rolls to allow for rising
    10. Proof & let the rolls rise for about 40 minutes or until they are double in size. Preheat your oven to  180 oF or if using a charcoal oven, to medium heat; 15 minutes before baking.
    11.  Bake the rolls for about 30 - 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Then remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes.
      Allow them to cool for about 5 minutes on baking sheet
    12. Using a spatula , remove the rolls and place onto a cooling rack or a tray and let them cool completely. If you would like, you can also serve them warm, they are very delicious with tea or coffee.
      Enjoy ^_^!
    Enjoy your delicious cinnamon rolls - Bon Appetit!

    For any other suggestions or feedback from your home-baking of this recipe. Please comment below ^_^!
If you would like to learn how to bake Bread and other yeast products such as Cinnamon Rolls with a charcoal oven; sign up for our Bread & Pastries Class. Check details on our website. Email us on: info@amaribakery.com or Call/Text/WhatsApp: 0701796688

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

6 Types of Flours used in Baking in Kenya

Welcome to a new series: Baking in Kenya

This series will focus on the ingredients that are used in baking and are available in Kenya.

We hope this will help you in your wonderful journey to be the best baker you can be ^_^.

This post will focus on the types of flours used while baking.

1. All-Purpose Flour

All-purpose flour is a kind of wheat flour that can be used for multiple uses, hence the name all-purpose. It's the most common, easily available and economical wheat flour found in most shops, supermarkets and wholesale shops. All-purpose flour can be used to bake cakes, cookies, scones, doughnuts etc. A packet of 2Kg ranges from Kshs. 125-140 depending on the brand.

2. Self-Rising Flour

This is a wheat flour that has a chemical rising agent added to an all-purpose flour. It's used for cakes where recipes have little or no rising agent required, cookies, sponges and biscuits. A packet of 2Kg costs from Kshs. 125 - 140 depending on the brand.

3. Bakers' Flour

Bakers flour is a wheat flour that has a high gluten content. Gluten is the protein found in wheat flour that makes it sticky. This flour is used for breads, buns & other bread products. It is particularly good for those products since the dough is able to proof properly without collapsing and to it's full capacity. Bakers' flour sold in Kenya is available in 50 Kg bags, they range from about Kshs. 3,000 to 5,000; depending on the brand.
Bakers'Flour (courtesy: www.21food.com)

4. Whole Wheat Flour

 Whole wheat flour is a whole meal flour that is very healthy and nutritious. It's when the wheat is milled together with the skin for a whole meal wheat flour. This wheat flour is not easy to bake with on its own since the gluten content is very low. Therefore, you have to add a small amount of all purpose flour or bakers' flour, depending on the product you are baking. A 2Kg packet of this flour is about Kshs. 130-150; depending on the brand.

5. Atta Flour

Atta flour is another form of whole meal wheat flour, it's made from durum wheat from India and is mainly used for chapatis but can also be used while baking whole wheat breads. It can be one of the wheat flours you combine with a whole wheat flour and bakers flour. It is also a highly nutritional flour. You can also use it to make mandazis and doughnuts. A 2 Kg packet of this flour ranges from Kshs. 135-150 depending on the brand.

6. Cake Flour

Cake flour is a highly refined flour with a lower gluten content that is used for making perfet cakes, it is preferred by pastry chef because the cake products baked have a very soft & fine texture. However, this is not easily available in Kenya and it sometimes has to be imported.
Cake Flour (Courtesy: finecooking.com)

There is a simple way of making your own cake flour; measure 1 cup of all-purpose flour, then remove 1 Tablespoon of it and replace it with 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch which can be bought in cake supplies shops such as Topserve Ltd. This will also give you a kind of cake flour and your cakes will be wonderful, light and soft.

We hope this was helpful to you. If you have any questions or additional suggestions, please feel free to comment below.

Thank you and happy baking ^_^

To get more practice baking with some of these types of flours, sign up for our Baking Classes and learn how to bake with a charcoal oven. Visit our webpage for more info, email us: amaribreads@gmail.com or Call/Text/WhatsApp: 0701796688

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Marble Mini-Loaf Cake Recipe

The recipe we're sharing today is a delicious Marble Mini-Loaf Cake Recipe.

We decided not to frost ours, but as always, you can choose to frost yours if you would like.

Hope you enjoy trying it out at home ^_^

  • All-Purpose Flour - 1 cup
  • Baking Powder     - 1 tspn
  • Cocoa Powder      - 1T
  • Vanilla Essence    - 1/2 t
  • Eggs                     - 1 pce
  • Caster Sugar        - 1/2 cup
  • Margarine            - 1/2 cup
  • Milk                      - 1/3 cup 


  1.   Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius or a charcoal oven to medium heat.
  2. Grease and flour a small loaf pan and set aside.
    Greased & floured mini loaf pan
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.
    Sifting the dry ingredients
  4. In a large mixing bowl, cream the caster sugar and margarine for at least 5 minutes until mixture is almost white.
  5. Then add the eggs one at a time, mixing until well incorporated, then add the vanilla.
  6. Alternately add the dry ingredients with the milk until the batter is a perfect texture.
  7. In another bowl, divide the batter in half and set one bowl aside. In the bowl, sift the cocoa powder and fold it into the batter until thoroughly mixed.
    Sifting Cocoa powder into half the batter
  8. Pour the batters alternately into the loaf pan, and then with a clean bread
    Mixed batters in pan
    knife, make some horizontal marks in the batter to make the marble effect.
    Making a marble effect on batter
  9. Place the pan into the oven, middle rack. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until skewer or clean bread knife inserted comes out clean.
  10. Remove the pan from the oven and cool the cake for about 20 - 30 minutes. Then remove the cake gently from the pan and place on a cooling rack or tray until the cake is completely cool. Serve or frost and serve.
 Enjoy ^_^

Friday, 7 March 2014

BAKING WITH A CHARCOAL OVEN: 6 Fuels you can use in your Charcoal Oven

For our second post on our Baking With a Charcoal Oven Series, we want to share different fuel options you can use in your charcoal oven.

The kind of fuels you use will obviously depend on the nature of your usage e.g. commercial purposes or home use. So here are six options you can use, they range from mass productions purposes to energy-saving purposes. Hopefully they are helpful to you.

1. Charcoal

This is the most used fuel for charcoal ovens, especially for commercial use for small to medium bakeries or hotels. It's easily available and economical.
Charcoal lighting in oven

However, due to the nature of how the charcoal is made (by cutting trees). I would advise for anyone using it to also participate in activities that promote the planting of more trees. A great company that's a perfect example is Cookswell Jikos, they sell charcoal ovens as well as tree seedlings so as to promote the planting of more trees in our environment. This ensures that the use of charcoal does not spoil our environment.
A bag of charcoal currently goes from Kshs. 1500 to 2400 in Nairobi or for smaller containers around Kshs. 50 to 70. 

2. Maize Cobs

Maize cobs are also great fuel that can be used in the charcoal oven, especially if you have a kiln to make them into charcoal. Another great product that Cookswell Jikos sell is a barrel kiln that helps you make charcoal out of different products such as maize cobs. The Kilns range from Kshs. 4500 - 14,500.
Cookswell Barrel Kiln (www.cookswell.co.ke)

 This is very economical especially if you are in an area or situation in which you have maize cobs easily available to you (maybe if you are a farmer that grows maize and dries it, etc). It saves you the cost of actually buying charcoal, since you get to make your own ^_^!

3. Dry Coconut Shells

This is another end product that you can use to make charcoal in the kiln. This is especially if you are in the coastal area, or if you have access to coconut shells. You can click on this link to see the Cookswell blog showing how to use the shells as charcoal used for baking.
Coconut husks - turned to charcoal (Courtesy: kenyacharcoal.blogspot.com)

4. Tree Branches and Twigs

 Instead of cutting down a whole tree; twigs and branches are a good way of making charcoal without the loss of a tree. Just put the twigs and branches in the kiln to make charcoal you can use at home to bake or roast.

5. Charcoal Brickets

 There are some vendors who make charcoal brickets and they consist of a small percentage of charcoal and then, organic materials (e.g. grass, soil, twigs, sawdust etc). They are more economical as well and don't use as much charcoal. You can opt to use the brickets as well. You can find some vendors in your local market.
Charcoal brickets (courtesy: alibaba.com)

6. Rosakind Bio-Ethanol Gel
Baking with Rosakind Bio-Ethanol Gel(courtesy: Cookswell)

Rosakind East Africa's bio-ethanol gel made from waste molasses for fast cooking, toasting or baking. Click on this link to get more information on the Cookswell Blog.

Well, hope these few options have helped you in making your choice of fuels to use with your Charcoal oven at home or in your business. If you know of any other fuels that can be used, please feel free to share below, thank you.

Happy Charcoal Oven Baking ^_^!

To learn how to bake with a charcoal oven, sign up for our Baking Classes and start learning right away.
Visit our Classes site for scheduled classes available.
You can also e-mail us: amaribreads@gmail.com or Call/Text/WhatsApp: 0701796688