Ehtiopian celebration bread - Himbasha or Ambasah - lightly sweet adn spiced with cardamom

Ambasha / Himbasha

A delightful bread lightly flavored with cardamom . This celebratory bread is decorated with simple scoring patterns and  seeds.

Cuisine Ethiopian
Author Syama


  • 3 ½ C AP Flour unbleached
  • 1 C water
  • ¼ C Oil
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • ¼ C Sugar
  • 2 ¼ Tsp Active Dry yeast 1 pkt or 7 g
  • ½ Tsp Crushed cardamom
  • 2 Tsp Sesame seeds

To glaze/decorate

  • 1 -2 Tbsp Milk/Water
  • 1 Tsp Sesame Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Butter


  1. Warm the water until it is just warm to touch. Take ¼ C water and add 1 Tbsp sugar to it. Stir to dissolve and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes until the yeast begin to froth.

Using the stand mixer

  1. Add the activated yeast mix into the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the flour , salt , sugar, sesame seeds and crushed cardamom to it. Fit the machine with the dough hook and stir the mix to combine. Adjust the speed to knead at low and add the water slowly to the bowl. Within a minute of kneading the dough will come together. If needed add a few more tablespoons of water/flour as required. Once the dough has come together slowly drizzle the oil and knead for addition 3 to 4 minutes until the dough feel smooth.

By Hand.

  1. Combine the flour, salt , sugar, spices , and seeds together. Make a well in the middle of the flour mix and add the activated yeast mix. Knead by slowly incorporating the dry mix into the wet mix. Add as much of the remaining water as necessary . Once all the flour has been moistened knead in the oil little by little. Keep kneading for about 10 minutes until the dough feel soft and supple.
  2. Lightly oil a large bow. Form the dough into a smooth ball and place in the bowl. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until it is doubled in size.
  3. Lightly grease the insides of a 9 inch spring form pan ( any circular pan you are using). Punch down the dough and shape into a disc. Place inside the pan and press and shape to fit the pan. Cover and let it rise till almost doubled – about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 F .
  5. Uncover the dough. Using a dinner knife make decorative patterns all over the top of the bread. Do not cut through. Lightly brush the top with water/milk . Sprinkle sesame seeds on top .
  6. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until done.
  7. This bread is done when it is browned lightly on top.
  8. Remove from the oven, brush the top with butter and let it cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Use milk instead of water