Dombolo: Traditional South African bread. Image: Adobe.

Dombolo – Traditional South African steamed bread

Slather a generous knob of butter on a warm slice of dombolo and close your eyes as you enjoy this South African favourite.


Dombolo: Traditional South African bread. Image: Adobe.

If you have ever dipped dombolo in a delicious lamb stew before, you will know the value of this much-loved South African bread. Dombolo, also known as steamed bread, is a traditional South African bread.

It takes a little time to prepare the dombolo dough as you need to allow the dough to rest for an hour so that the yeast can do its work. When the dough is ready you can either prepare a bread loaf or you can mould little buns. Interestingly, dombolo is not baked or cooked but steamed! Place the dough in a pot of boiling water and allow these beauties to steam to perfection.  

When ready, dombolo is fantastic when hot from the pot and sliced open to slather a knob of golden butter to melt into the delicious bread. It also goes well with any heart-warming stew. Dip the dombolo in the stew and allow it to soak up all the delicious stew flavours. You will never want to eat stew any other way again.

Enjoy this South African favourite this winter with a mouth-watering stew.

Dombolo recipe

4 from 18 votes
Recipe by Dirnise Britz Course: SidesCuisine: South AfricanDifficulty: Easy
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  • 4 cups 4 flour

  • 1 teaspoon 1 instant yeast

  • ½ cup ½ sugar

  • 1 pinch 1 of salt

  • 500 ml 500 warm water


  • Place a pot of water to boil on the stove.
  • In a mixing bowl, sift flour, salt, sugar and yeast together.
  • Make a hole in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the warm water.
  • Mix until it forms a firm dough. Cover and let is rise for an hour.
  • Knock the dough down again and place the dough in a double boiler tray, steam the bread for about 20 – 25 minutes or until cooked through. You can make 12 smaller buns or one loaf from this recipe.
  • Serve with butter or as a bread to curry, stew or soup.


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