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Fermented Mahangu Bread

Traditionally, fermented mahangu grains are not used for making bread. This indigenous crop, like most of Africa’s other indigenous crops are low in gluten. They do not make good bread. Historically they have been consumed as porridge either with a sauce or a protein on the side. One possible exception is Ethiopia where teff is used to make injera, a fermented sponge-like flatbread cooked on a clay plate, called a mitad.

This sponge bread is made in the injera style but uses Omahangu (pearl millet) in combination with wheat flour to get the right texture. These were mixed with some active sourdough that were left over from another bread baking experiment. As with all flat breads, these could be used as plates and eating utensils and they are a great accompaniment to saucy dishes such as marathon chicken.

Fermented Mahangu Bread

Recipe by christiekeulderCourse: Sides, BreadCuisine: Namibian, EthiopianDifficulty: Moderate


Prep time


Cooking time



Fermented Mahangu Bread is made in the style of Ethiopia’s famous injera bread. A sourdough starter is required to kickstart the fermentation process. Mahangu is one of Namibia’s staple cereals and eaten by many Namibians especially in the rural areas.


  • 1 cup bubbly sourdough

  • 2 ½ cups luke warm water

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

  • 1 cup mahangu flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • vegetable oil, enough to coat a pan


  • Add the sourdough, water and flour to a large bowl and mix very well. The mixture should have the consistency of pancake batter. Cover with a cloth and leave outside to ferment for 12 to 24 hours depending on how sour you want the bread to be. Stir often.
  • Add the salt and baking soda just before you make the bread. Stir very well. Transfer the mixture to a measuring jug or some other container with a spout. It make it easier to pour the batter.
  • Heat a heavy-bottomed pot or cast iron pan over medium heat and brush with a little vegetable oil. Pour a thin layer of batter into the pan with a circular motion. Start on the outside and work your way toward the centre until the bottom of the pan is covered. Cover the pan with a lid and let cook until the top of the bread is dry. This would take only 3 to 4 minutes depending on how thick you poured the batter. The bread is cooked on one side only, so there is no need to turn them.
  • Once a bread is cooked, remove it from the pan and place on a kitchen towel to cool. Repeat the process until all batter is used. The bread should have tiny holes on top and not too brown on the bottom. After cooking the bread could be stacked and covered with a towel to stay moist.
Mahangu Bread
Fermented mahangu sponge bread

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