If one were to consider some of top areas where the Caribbean is well-known for punching above its weight, one could count, in no specific order: sport (particularly of the sprint variety), the...
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Bake it Right
It’s a challenge on a Sunday morning to decide what kind of bake should accompany a smoked herring, salt fish buljol or accra breakfast. Should it be coconut roast bake or maybe the roast bake without the coconut? Or maybe you’d prefer fried bakes, or yeasted fried bakes better known as float. Whatever the choice, bake is certainly a mainstay in Trini cuisine. The essence of a good coconut bake is a nice firm texture, not too heavy and full of coconut flavour. To make it special, add some grated coconut to the dough to make the bake melt in your mouth. It’s not hard to create bake at home, as it requires no extraordinary ingredients. How about fried bakes? If that’s your preference, remember they’re supposed to be light and soft on the inside so they can be stuffed with filling before eating. What’s the secret to great fried bakes? Let your dough rest at least 30 minutes before frying and you will need to almost deep-fry your bakes to get a full balloon or rise. Float on the other hand, is the same as fried bakes but yeast is added to the dough resulting in a softer end product that has staying power for a couple of hours. Whatever your desire, its back to basics for cooks who really do appreciate good quality bread products.
4 1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour
1/4 cup butter or shortening
1 tbsp brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp quick acting yeast
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
Warm coconut milk to about 120F.
Place flour, yeast, salt and brown sugar into a mixing bowl.
Add butter and rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
Add shredded coconut and mix.
Pour in enough coconut milk to make a firm dough. If more liquid is needed add a little water.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly until smooth. Divide dough into two pieces and roll each piece into an eight-inch circle, prick with a fork and place onto baking trays.
Let rest for 20 minutes and bake in a preheated 400F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
For a lighter bake, omit the coconut and coconut milk and use water in place of the coconut milk. You may also use one third whole wheat flour and 2/3 all purpose white flour.
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp shortening
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
Vegetable oil for frying.
Combine flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a mixing bowl.
Add the shortening and rub into flour until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
Add enough water just to make a soft dough.
Knead on a floured surface for about 5 minutes.
Rest flour for 30 minutes.
Divide dough into two pieces and divide each piece into 12 pieces.
Rest dough for another five minutes, and then roll out each piece to about three inches in diameter.
Heat vegetable oil in a deep frying pan and fry bakes in hot oil making sure that they are covered in oil. Turn and fry until fully ballooned or puffed.
Remove and drain.
Makes 24 bakes