Fermented Corn Dough

Banku Dough

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

When I was first married, I tried valiantly to ferment masa harina, only to discover that the lime processing of that flour prohibited fermentation from taking place. Here is one way to make your own dough. Note that it takes several days before the fermented dough is ready to use. While people generally prefer white cornmeal in Ghana, yellow cornmeal may be substituted.


  • 3 cups white Indian Head cornmeal or similar stone ground cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch



  1. Put 3 cups of cornmeal into a nonreactive container, like glass or ceramic. Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and mix them together well using a wire whisk.
  2. Add 2½ to 3 cups of lukewarm water (add a little more if the dough seems very dry). Mix thoroughly with a whisk, cover lightly with a cloth or paper towel and leave to sit in a warm place (counter, stovetop, or oven) for several days, stirring once a day.
  3. The dough should begin to bubble up as it ferments. If any mold forms on top, carefully scrape it off. The longer it ferments, the sourer it will become. I usually give mine about 3 days, depending on how warm the weather is. (Some people suggest adding a little vinegar to get the sour taste, but I do not.)