Here’s a recipe on how to make simple Dominican bakesJump to Recipe
Dominican bakes, Caribbean Johnny cakes, fried dumplings, and doubles are all birthed from essential ingredients of flour, water (or milk), baking powder, salt, butter and then deep-fried to perfection. Follow the recipe below for making great tasting, wonderful bakes.
My love of bakes started at a very young age. I’d often watch my mother skillfully knead the dough, transform them into flat saucer-like shapes, and submerge them in oil. I’m the last child in my family, and I was always near my mom when she cooked. I don’t think that it was because I wanted to be a cook, but I wanted to be the first out of 4 kids to eat. My sisters may have though that I was avyeg (creole) for greedy, I was just strategizing my approach. I wish that I’d spend more time asking my late mother about her simple Dominican Bakes Recipe.
My mom made bakes to perfection. She never had a bad bakes day, as she learned from her mother and the bakes making tradition was then passed down to my sisters and I. I have to confess that although my mother was a bakes boss, I was nowhere that title. I’ve struggled for years to master bakes. Sometimes they’re too rubbery, or too crunchy, etc. On the other hand, my sisters are veterans, and I often observe them making the bakes and pray that through osmosis, I’d also be blessed.
Growing up, we owned a bar in the village of Thibaud. Every weekend when my older sister and I returned from high school in the capital Roseau (my middle sister went to Portsmouth Secondary School), we all worked in the bar. My older sister Maureen made the bakes and fried the chicken. My middle sister, Marva, sold drinks, and I was the social butterfly, chatting with our guests, and playing music to entertain them and occasionally help out selling drinks. By the way, my sisters didn’t want me near the bar, because they thought I was unintentionally giving the drinks away. This bar presented a perfect opportunity for me to learn how to master bakes at a very young age. Unfortunately, I waited until my 30s to feel that level of confidence in my bakes making pursuit.
I’m saying all this to share that although bakes may look easy to make, it requires a certain level of craftsmanship to get the look and taste right, and above all, you’ll need the right ingredients.
Here’s how I make my bakes.
How to Make Dominican Bakes
- 4 cups All-purpose flour or bread flour I prefer to use unbleached bread flour
- 1 tbsp Baking powder
- ¾ tbsp Salt
- ½ tbsp Sugar
- 2 cups Milk (or water) slightly lukewarm. If you're using evaporated milk, make sure you dilute it with water half/half
- 1½ tbsp Butter slightly melted
- 2 cups Vegetable oil Not olive oil as it's not for frying. Make sure that the oil is enough to deep fry the bakes.
- Combine dry ingredients and mix (flour, salt, and baking powder)
- Add lightly melted butter mix.
- Gradually add lukewarm milk.
- Gently knead the dough with hands.
- The dough should not be firm but with a sticky consistency.
- Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Separate into small portions in the shapes of balls based on the desired size.
- Let the balls rest for 10 – 15 minutes covered with a towel or saran wrap.
- Flatten dough using hands
- Deep fry in a saucepan (I use a saucepan because the frying pan is too wide, and I'll need to use too much oil to deep fry). Use medium heat.
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