South African Boma Bread

Rachelle Roasting South African Bama Bread

Roasting South African boma bread over an open fire.

Enjoy this guest post by Rachelle Lucas, aka @travelblggr ~ Thanks Rachelle!


“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”

— James Beard

There is something about sharing a meal together around a camp fire that seems to instantly bond friendships. I don’t know if it’s the glow of the embers, warming up next to the heat, the food shared, or the stories told, but I can remember almost every meal I’ve enjoyed outdoors by a fire. One of those memorable nights dining outdoors was during a recent trip to South Africa.  I was staying at a family-owned bed & breakfast called Umlilo Lodge. Now, ‘Umlilo’ is the Zulu word for fire, and in the center of the lodge was a ‘boma’ or outdoor eating space with a fire pit where guests could gather at the end of the day.

Umlilo Lodge Innkeepers

Rachelle with the Umlilo Lodge Innkeepers

One evening we came back to the lodge for an authentic South African style BBQ with all kinds of meats and sausages and … bread dough?  I admit, I was a little perplexed.  How on earth were we going to bake bread over an open fire?  Then, the innkeeper, Lourens, handed out sticks and showed us how to wrap the dough around the end and bake the bread similar to the way you’d toast a marshmallow. With my jaw dropped, I giddily applauded. There’s nothing better than sitting around a camp fire …  except … sitting around a campfire with fresh baked bread!  The first words out of my mouth were, “I can’t wait to show this to my outdoor enthusiast friend Erika!  She’s going to love it!”

And so, here I am, back in the States and sharing this experience on Erika’s blog.  We picked a day where the weather was cool and I brought over some bread dough, she found some dowels at the local hardware store, and we spent the afternoon baking bread and drinking coffee in her backyard.  It was so fun!  There really is no official recipe for this, so we kind of guessed our way through it along with some help from Tweets to Lourens over at Umlilo Lodge.

Steps To Making Boma Bread
(South African BBQ Stick Bread)

Step 1 – The Dough
You can make the dough from scratch, or find it pre-made in the dairy section at your local grocer.  We used the “Simply … Rustic French Bread” by Pillsbury as it creates the perfect texture of a crispy crust and soft doughy middle.  Instead of making one large loaf, we tore the dough into four pieces, essentially making mini individual-sized baguettes.

Step 2 – Preparation
Wrap the dough around a wood dowel and pinch the edges together.  Be sure to pinch the bottom edge around the dowel.  When you begin baking over the fire, rotate the bread constantly until a crust forms.  This prevents the dough from sliding off one end.

Wraping the bread dough over the roasting stick.

Cover the entire end of the stick with the dough.

Make sure to pinch the sides.

Step 3 – Baking
Hold the bread high over the fire. Once the crust forms, rotate the bread every minute or so. Don’t be tempted to place the bread close to the fire to “bake it quicker’ … it just burns.  Trust me.  There is photographic evidence of my impatience.  Holding the dough up high will result in a perfectly toasted baked roll.

Roasting the bread over coals

Don't rush the cooking!

Step 4 – Enjoyment
Once it’s done baking, it should twist off the end of the dowel quite easily.  Add butter, honey, or syrup to the inside of the bread roll and enjoy!  It does get a little messy and sticky, but that’s the point of eating outdoors, right?

Bread should be golden and slide off the stick easily.

Bread, butter and honey!



Rachelle is a writer, spokesperson, and travel videographer. She believes the best way to learn about a destination is through its flavors and often collects recipes from her trips and recreates them on her blog, The Travel Bite. To read more about her travels in South Africa, check out her post: Safari On A Budget (featuring Umlilo Lodge)

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