The overall aim of this study was to investigate the culinary practices of Basotho with
regard to traditional bread, to characterise breads and to apply the cultural hedonic
framework to describe consumers’ perceptions about the acceptance of traditional
The culinary practices of Basotho have been transferred from one generation to the
other without or with very limited documentation. The only sourced information was a
research done by Ashton in 1939. The knowledge of traditional bread preparation and its
acceptance by Basotho consumers is currently limited.
Food practices are embedded in culture and every culture has specifications pointing to
the hedonic characteristics of food such as taste, appearance, flavour and aroma, which
are determined by the context in which the food is selected or consumed. It was
important to understand the cultural hedonic framework underlying Basotho bread
acceptance. The study was exploratory and descriptive in nature. Food acceptance and cultural
hedonic framework theories were used to explore the reasons underlying the choice of
bread. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative techniques of collecting
data in the three phases. Data related to culinary practices was collected by a structured
questionnaire and focus groups in phase 1. Phase 2 was the standardisation of recipes
obtained in phase 1. The standardised breads were characterised in phase 3 by
describing selected physico–chemical and sensory characteristics of dough and breads.
The responses to the questionnaire and descriptive sensory evaluation were statistically
analysed and the grounded theory approach was used to analyse data from focus
Ten Basotho breads prepared from wheat, maize and sorghum were identified in both
rural and urban areas of Lesotho. Preparation of traditional Basotho breads involves
preparation of grains (washing, sorting, soaking, dehulling, dry milling and wet milling),
mixing/kneading, fermentation and cooking. Steaming method is applied to all breads,
but baking and pot-roasting are used for wheat breads only.
Younger participants were less familiar with maize and sorghum breads than they were
with wheat breads. Unfamiliarity with the sensory attributes of these products,
contributed to their lower acceptance. The older participants were familiar with all
traditional breads and valued them for use in the important Basotho cultural ceremonies.
The movement from the rural areas to urban areas has also changed the traditional
bread practices to modern westernised ways. This therefore placed Lesotho into both
higher and lower cultural hedonic context such that rural and old people are higher
context cultures and urban and younger people are lower context cultures.
The type of grain flour used influenced the sensory characteristics of breads. Red
sorghum breads reflected dark red crumb and white maize breads reflected white crumb.
Fine flour produced lighter breads than coarse flour of the same cereal type. Non-wheat
breads were more crumbly, hard and fibrous than wheat breads. The instrumental
texture analysis showed plastic deformation for wheat breads, brittle deformation for
non-wheat breads and elastic deformation for standard breads. It is recommended that more attention be given to the development, standardisation and
improvement of traditional bread recipes in order to produce bread with acceptable
sensory attributes. The findings of this study help to understand and interpret the overall
scope of Basotho attitude towards breads for the maximum utilisation of local grains in
Lesotho. The study adds the Basotho perspective of cultural food acceptance to the
excisting global knowledge of food choice regarding traditional food products.