How to make "Awaze Dabo" (Ethiopian Spicy Bread)

Awaze Dabo is a traditional Ethiopian bread that packs a spicy punch. Dabo, in the Amharic language, translates to "bread" and Awaze refers to the spicy paste used in many Ethiopian dishes. This bread is unique because it combines the soft, fluffy texture of homemade bread with the fiery flavors of Berbere, a classic Ethiopian spice blend featuring chili peppers, garlic, ginger, and a multitude of other spices. It is often enjoyed as a snack or served alongside traditional Ethiopian meals. Mehret Gebre’s take on this bread balances the spicy Berbere with a mild sweetness from the dough, creating an unforgettable blend of flavors.

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 45-50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 45-50 minutes

Servings: 8-10 people

Nutrition Profile: High in carbs, High in fiber, Vegan-friendly

How to make "Awaze Dabo" (Ethiopian Spicy Bread)



  • Dry yeast - 2 tsp
  • Sugar - 4 tsp
  • Warm water - 1/4 cup
  • Wheat flour - 4 cups
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Baking soda - 2 tsp
  • Tikur Azmud/ Black Cumin/ Nigella Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Berbere - 3 tsp
  • Olive oil - 6 tsp



Step 1
Start by making the yeast starter. In a small bowl, combine the dry yeast, sugar, and warm water. Mix well and set aside for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture becomes frothy. This step is crucial for activating the yeast, which will help the bread rise.

Step 2
In a large bowl, add the flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir to combine.

Step 3
Pour the yeast starter into the dry ingredients. Knead the mixture for about 10-12 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour; if it's too dry, add a bit more water.

Step 4
Add the Tikur Azmud (or Black Cumin/Nigella Seeds) to the dough and knead for another 2 minutes to evenly distribute the seeds.

Step 5
Cover the dough with a plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 30-40 minutes at room temperature. This rest period allows the yeast to ferment, which will give the bread its fluffy texture.

Step 6
While the dough is resting, prepare the Awaze. In a small bowl, combine the Berbere and olive oil. Stir until you have a smooth, spicy paste.

Step 7
After the dough has rested, add the Awaze paste. Use your hands to gently fold the Awaze into the dough until it's evenly distributed.

Step 8
Preheat your oven to 400F (200C). Shape the dough into a loaf and place it on a greased baking sheet or in a loaf pan.

Step 9
Bake the bread in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 10
Allow the bread to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

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