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Could you make bread out of cassava flour? Bread from wheat has become popular in the developing world as more and more people move to the cities.
But wheat often has to be imported and that's costly. In fact, for many years the FAO has tried to persuade countries to save foreign exchange by substituting wheat for something homegrown. The time was ripe for someone to come up with a good recipe for cassava bread. IITA did just that and produced a nine-page booklet with simple drawings, complete with a cassava plant on the cover next to a sliced loaf.
You take some cassava flour and mix it with soy flour to give it more nutrients. If you don't have any soy flour, the recipe says with commendable and necessary flexibility, then just increase the amount of cassava flour. Mix in some dried yeast) salt, sugar, and margarine (´'no substitute for margarine should be used- only margarine can ensure the right result," the recipe says firmly). Then add water and a whisked egg white to produce a batter that "drops slowly from the spoon." This is poured into a greased baking pan, covered with a moist cloth and allowed to stand for an hour to let it ferment until it rises to twice its original volume. Thirty minutes in an oven at 200 degrees centigrade and it's done. But what does it taste like?
"It's a bit cakey," one Westerner said. "It's better if it's dipped in stews or soups, which wheat bread often is in Nigeria anyway. It shouldn't really be called bread. We need a new name for it." "Brassava," didn't sound quite right.
"We tested it in Ibadan and people liked it. Bokanga said. "SIices were numbered and people gave it a score. There was a video shown on TV, and we got a lot of letters from people who wanted to know more. Their main concern was how much it was going to cost." The next phase, he said, was to get the millers and bakers to produce it. But the bakers, equipped to produce wheat bread, needed different equipment. Also they couldn't take a risk. They needed a constant supply of good cassava flour. "We're working on the technology to produce the Hour," he added Cassava flour can replace wheat flour in such things as processed meats, sweet cookies, pasta and soup noodles, cakes, spice bases, meat pies, soup mixes, soft sweets, ice cream cones, and sauces.