RECIPE: Isonka Sombhako / Delicious Homemade White Bread



I don’t know about you, but where I grew up every household bought staple food in bulk i.e. 12.5kg flour, 12.5kg maize meal, 12.5kg sugar etc. Okay, my mom still buys all staple food in bulk, hehe!

Bread was baked on a daily basis.  We seldom bought bread from the store.  We made bread in different forms i.e. amagwinya (fat cakes), udombolo (steam bread), iikuki /izikona /iirostile (roasted bread) and umbhako (baked bread). The latter was baked in flat cast iron pots over and under coals (because red-hot coals would be put over the lid while the pot would be standing on coals) or in wood/coal stove ovens. Few were families with wood /coal stoves. Some people still bake their own bread especially in the rural parts of the country. Big families buy flour in very large quantities eg.50kg. You can imagine how expensive it must be to buy bread to feed a family of 7 or more on a daily basis.

Some people seldom bake bread at home due to the convenience offered by store-bought bread, change in financial statuses, lack of time and lack of baking skill.  With all that said, I can give you few reasons why you should bake your bread at home.


Homemade Loaf


  1. The price aspect – I’m sure you’ll agree with me it is cheaper to make your own bread.
  2. Homemade bread is tastier.
  3. The aroma of the bread whilst baking in the oven stimulates one’s appetite.
  4. Having your bread baking in the oven keeps the kitchen warm, especially during these cold winter months.
  5. Children can get involved in the baking. It can be a fun activity for the whole family especially during the holidays. You might need something to keep them busy at home.  This is it, isn’t it? He!
  6. Having the skill of baking your own bread at home is great nowadays, a lot of people are missing that.  We’ve got to remember that we have to master these skills in order to pass them on to the next generation.


I baked bread for my family and my sister who was pregnant at the time. After a couple of weeks when I was back in Cape Town she sent me a text reading “hey, how did you make that bread? What did you add to it?  I need that recipe.” I sent her the recipe and she baked the bread and it came out perfectly and delicious on her side too.  I do buy store bread from time to time for convenience purposes, but I still manage to bake my own loaf from time to time. If I can do it, so why can’t you? Come on, join me and LET “S BAKE!



Home-made White Bread Recipe

Makes 1 small loaf

625ml (2½ cups) cake flour

5ml (1tsp) salt

10ml (2tsp) sugar

5ml (1tsp) instant dry yeast

15ml (1Tbsp) margarine


  1. Sift flour, salt and sugar into a bowl.  Add the dry yeast and mix.
  2. Rub the margarine into the flour mixture.
  3.  Gradually add lukewarm water and mix to form a soft dough.
  4. Knead the dough well for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  5. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, if necessary, and knead on the counter. (This is much easier)
  6. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic/dish-towel and leave to rest in a warm place.
  7. After 30 -45 minutes knock down the dough and place it in a greased bread tin.
  8. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place until almost double in volume.
  9. Brush with water and bake at 180۫ for 35 minutes.

10.  After taking out of the oven brush with sugar water while it is still hot.

Thuli’s Tip:

For a bigger loaf just double the quantities.

Author Info


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

Comments ( 10 )

  • BlueWolF

    ok, this looks easy nuff, just need to get some yeast,
    will try it tomorrow, crusty fresh baked bread with some serious soupage !!!

    • Hey Bluewolf! It is very easy even my little sister got it right the first time. Enjoy your baking tomorrow! 😀

  • Pearly

    Thank goodness for this site, i cooked umnqusho kwezaveki, on saturday il be making isonka bethuna! im so happy! 🙂

    • LOL! Sukundihlekisa maan Phelo! Thanks for your comment. Hope you enjoyed umngqusho! Let me know how it goes with isonka sombhako. Happy baking! 🙂

  • Milani

    Isonka was easy to make and yummy. It was my first attempt ever! And my kids loved it. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • Hi Milani,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with the recipe. Glad your family enjoyed it!


  • Marge

    Thank you Thuli, I’ve been asking my Xhosa friends but they don’t know measurements as they do this by experience. 🙏🏾

    • You are most welcome Marge. Enjoy! 🙂

      Xx Thuli

  • Thandeka

    Hey Thuli,thanx for the site and incredible recipes. U’ve made things much simpler for me… Big ups to u cc!

    • You are most welcome Thandeka. Thank you for the feedback 🙂

      Thuli xx

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