Bakes, Johnny Cakes, Johnny Bakes are the number of names for this Caribbean breakfast treat. The funny thing about this name is that these quick breads are not baked they are fried. So why would anyone call them bakes?I think these are the Caribbean adaptation to English Muffins. Bake recipes vary from island to island. In Trinidad and Guyana use more fat in the dough and they roll out their bakes fairly thin when cooked the inside is hollow and you can stuff what you want inside. In Barbados the bakes are more dense and are slightly sweetened and contain some spices like cinnamon. Barbadian bakes can be eaten with jam, margarine or even a slice of your favourite vegan or vegetarian cheese.In the past persons working in the sugar fields would take bakes as a pack lunch/brunch. The plantation workers use to wake up very early they would have a cup of tea for breakfast. Around 10 am they would have a break and they would eat their bakes with a piece of roasted salted codfish and sometimes porridge. Bakes are still made in Barbados but not on a large scale like before. I have seen them in restaurants in Bridgetown that offer breakfast. Usually it is a sweeter version and it contains eggs and milk more than likely. In St. Martin they serve the salt version and it is thinner than mine. They call these Johnny Cakes and they serve them with meat or alone for lunch and dinner. In Trinidad there bakes are fried on the street sometimes and served with mainly fish stuffing or vegetables. In Guadeloupe their bake is salt and deep fried and stuffed with vegetables or meat. So you see bakes vary so much and I could not even begin to cover bakes in one post.
Surprisingly, I prefer the bakes that are from the island of St. Lucia. These bakes are savory and they only 4 ingredients. My grandmother use to make them on Saturday nights and I would watch her technique every time she did it so now I can do it just like her. These bakes are soft and tasty and can be used in place of bread. I made three types of bakes this morning for breakfast and I would share these recipes today. I also included a short video if you are not sure how to shape your bakes. Play with your dough as much as you like. I even use to make a hole in dough when I was a little girl so I could pretend to be eating donuts.
Bajan Muffins (Sweet)
Yield: 3 muffins
Ingredients:1 1/4 cup of flour,1/4 tsp salt,1/2 tsp baking powder,1/4 cup of ice cold soy milk, pinch of mixed spice( clove,nutmeg and cinnamon),1/4 tsp vanilla essence,1 tbs brown sugar and extra flour to knead dough
1/2 cup vegetable oil for shallow frying
Method:Sieve flour ,baking powder and salt. Whisk cold milk,essence,sugar and mixed spice. Make a well in the flour and form flour into a ball. Knead. Let dough relax for 5 mins. Divide dough into 3 balls and shape as in video . Heat oil on medium high. Carefully add your bakes and let it cook for 45 seconds to form the crust on the outside, lower the heat and allow to cook slowly.Turn over bakes with thongs when you get a brown colour on one side and increase the heat to form a crust. If you want a softer crust do not increase the heat. Fry for about 15 mins turning about two other times in the process. Remove a tester to see if the inside is well cooked. Drain in adsorbent paper and serve warm.
Note :The soymilk made this muffin way too dense for my liking. I prefer a softer bite see compilation bake recipe below.
Compilation Bakes( St Lucian and Bajan Muffin combined)
Yield: 3 bakes
I found the texture of the Bajan muffins to be too dense in my recipe so I created a new Bajan Bake that is softer with the same flavour
Ingredients:1 1/4 cup of flour,1/4 tsp salt,1/2 tsp baking powder,1/3 cup of ice cold water,1/4 tsp vanilla essence,1.5 tbs sugar, pinch of mixed spice and extra flour to knead dough
1/2 cup vegetable oil for shallow frying
Method:Sieve flour ,baking powder and salt. Dissolve the sugar in the cold water, add essence and spice. Make a well in the flour and add spice mixture to flour and form flour into a ball. Knead. Let dough relax for 5 mins. Divide dough into 3 balls and shape as in video below. Let the bakes rest for 15 mins before frying as they would plump up good and be even softer. Heat oil on medium high. Carefully add your bakes and let it cook for 45 seconds to form the crust on the outside, lower the heat and allow to cook slowly.Turn over bakes with thongs when you get a brown colour on one side and increase the heat to form a crust. If you want a softer crust do not increase the heat. Fry for about 15 mins turning about two other times in the process. Remove a tester to see if the inside is well cooked. Drain in absorbent paper and serve warm.
I am getting more Caribbean readers on this new blog. Tell me how do you like your bakes?
Tips on Bake Making
1. Make sure your water /milk is cold as this makes the bakes softer adda 1/2 tsp more baking powder for really soft bakes
2. The more you play with your bake the softer it becomes and the thicker you make your bake the softer it will be
3. Leave you bakes to relax before frying them
4. Start frying under medium heat to created a crust on the outside and lower your heat afterwards
5. Bakes can be shallow fried and turned around with a thongs
6.Cook bakes for about 15 mins on low heat, remove a tester to cut inside to see if it is well cooked
7.If you want a less greasy bake do not roll out your bake and leave it to relax at least 20 mins before frying
8. Do drain your bakes well after frying
9.Do not make too many bakes especially if you cannot consume them the same time, bakes get leathery after a few hours.
10. Try this recipe without following this recipe just cook with your heart and add the flour, baking powder and salt and make your on unique bake.