Everyone says Trini Christmas is the best! I guess it's a combination of factors, parang music, T&T hospitality and of course the traditional food that we love to enjoy each year–Christmas ham, sorrel, ponche de cr�me, pastelles, homemade bread, black cake and many other delights. Sometimes we want to make it all and have it all in such a short season.
My must-haves each Christmas season are pastelles, sorrel, black cake, homemade bread, and of course a delicious Turkey lunch on Christmas day.
Homemade is always the better way to go, but if you are in a crunch you can do some yourself and cater the rest out. Remember it's a season so you can get started early and enjoy. Let's start with some homemade bread. This can be done ahead and frozen. This way you can have delicious bread to enjoy throughout the season.
4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup warm water (110-120F)
Combine three cups flour with yeast, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl or with an electric mixer.
Combine milk with water and oil, add to flour and mix well, add the rest of the flour to knead to soft smooth dough, knead for about eight minutes.
Lightly grease dough and cover with plastic.
Let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down, divide into eight equal pieces.
Roll each into a smooth ball.
Place on a greased baking tray, let rise again until doubled in size about 45 - 60 minutes.
Bake in a cool oven, do not preheat, just turn the oven temperature to 375F and let the rolls begin baking in a cool oven.
Bake for 25 minutes until dark golden.
Makes eight hops
THE BEST BASIC LOAF
5 - 6 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp instant yeast
2 1/2 cups warm milk (105 - 120F)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup butter or shortening or mixed, melted
2 tsp salt
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, place two cups flour, yeast, salt and sugar.
Add milk, melted butter and eggs, beat until smooth.
Add the rest of the flour and knead to a soft smooth dough, about 5 minutes.
Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 45 - 60 minutes.
Punch down dough and divide into 2.
Prepare two loaf tins.
Roll dough out to a 10-inch rectangle. Roll up and place seam side down into the loaf tins. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the bottom of the soaves give a hollow sound when tapped.
Makes two, 9 X 5-inch loaves or about 16 dinner rolls.
For dinner rolls
Divide each piece of dough into eight pieces, form into smooth balls. Brush tops with melted butter. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden.
For Whole-wheat option:Replace 2 cups white flour with 2 cups whole wheat flour
HONEY MULTI GRAIN LOAF
4 1/2 to 5 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp instant yeast
1/3 cup honey
1 cup dried rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115F)
1 cup warm milk (110-115F)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup each poppy seeds and sesame seeds
1 egg white, lightly beaten
In a large work bowl or with an electric mixer, place two cups flour, yeast, sugar.
Add oats, whole-wheat flour, wheat bran and cornmeal, combine.
Combine water, milk, oil and salt. Add to flour mixture.
Knead, adding the rest of the Bakers flour until a soft smooth dough is obtained.
Knead gently by hand for a few minutes more.
Place in a large bowl, lightly grease top of dough and cover.
Let rise until doubled in volume (about one hour)
Punch down and divide into 2.
Grease and flour two 9-inch bread/ loaf tins.
Form dough into loaves, place in tins, brush with egg white and sprinkle with seeds.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Cover and let rise for another 50 minutes.
Bake until well risen and golden, 30 to 35 minutes.
Makes 2 loaves