In the Caribbean, fry bake or fried bake is a deep fried dough that puffs up when frying, making it perfect for sandwiches, especially for breakfast or at the beach. The dough is often circular but can be cut into triangles as well. Buljol, fried shark, fried kingfish, shrimp and lots of veggies and sauces are great fillings for the bake.
In this recipe, I use 2 raising agents to achieve that puffiness – yeast and baking powder. These make the fry bakes lighter and fluffier but, if you prefer, you can use one instead of both.
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Ingredients for fry bake
For this recipe, you will need:
- flour: all purpose flour works best here but you can try mixing with whole wheat for more fiber.
- baking powder: I prefer using aluminum free baking powder for all my recipes. The baking powder reacts with water and heat to produce gases which cause the bake to puff up and create that wonderful pocket for your favorite fillings. You can use baking powder alone in this recipe if you like.
- yeast: Like the baking powder, yeast also acts as a raising agent for the bakes and adds to the gases that create the puffiness when frying.
- sugar: this is needed to activate the yeast.
- butter: I usually use unsalted butter, which adds to the softness of the bake after frying.
- warm water
- oil: for frying.
How to make fry bake
Knead the dough
Step 1: Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl – the all purpose flour, baking powder, yeast, salt and sugar.
Step 2: Crumble butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles a coarse mixture. You can use a food processor for this but it is not necessary since you don’t need to keep the dough at a cold temperature.
Step 3: Make a well in the center and add the warm water. It should be warm to activate the yeast.
Step 4: Knead as you would for roti – pressing and squeezing – without folding the dough over onto itself as you would for bread. You should end up with a soft, smooth dough.
Divide the dough
Step 5: Divide the dough into 2-inch dough balls.
Leave to rest
Step 6: Cover and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes. This should give the yeast some time to activate so small air pockets can form when frying.
Roll out and fry
Step 7: Place a large pot on medium heat. Add at least 2 inches of oil for deep frying. Allow to heat up for about five to ten minutes. Check to see if the oil is ready with a bamboo skewer (bubbles should form when you place it in the hot oil).
Step 8: Lightly flour your working surface. Roll out each dough ball into a four-inch or five-inch round bake. Dust off excess flour from the bake. You don’t want flour in the hot oil, it’ll burn.
Step 9: Gently add the bake to the hot oil. It should puff up within seconds. Both the yeast and the baking powder are responsible for this action.
Step 10: Flip the bake over once it has fully puffed up and allow the other side to brown.
Step 11: Remove from the oil once the bakes have a golden color on both sides.
Step 12: Place the finished fried bake in an airtight container. Cover completely to trap the heat and steam. This will soften the bake. This same tip works for making soft roti too. Serve hot with any filling of your choice like saltfish buljol, fried shark, fried kingfish, pineapple chow, chadon beni sauce, garlic sauce, tamarind sauce, and more.
Trinidad fry bake recipe
Trini fry bake (with yeast and baking powder)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ⅛ tsp yeast
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp butter (approx. 50 grams)
- ¾ cup warm water
- oil for frying
- Add flour, baking powder, yeast, salt and sugar to a large bowl.
- Mix to incorporate.
- Rub the butter into the dry ingredients to form a coarse mixture.
- Add warm water.
- Knead to form a smooth dough.
- Divide into 2-inch dough balls.
- Place on a baking tray and cover.
- Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Place a large pot on medium heat. Add oil and leave to heat up.
- Remove one dough ball and lightly flour it and your working surface.
- Roll out the dough to form a 4-inch or 5-inch circular bake.
- Dust off excess flour.
- Once the oil is hot, add the bake to the pot.
- Leave the bake to raise and puff up.
- Flip over and allow both sides to develop a golden color.
- Remove from heat.
- Place in airtight container to trap the heat and steam.
- Cut along its length to open its pocket.
- Fill with your preferred filling.
- Serve hot.