Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Trinidad Hops Bread

Trinidad hops bread is a light airy bread that is sold in the form of rolls in the twin isle republic. Im not exactly sure why they call it hops bread but I have heard it is because originally the bread was made with hops instead of yeast. In the island republic Hops bread is shipped out to all markets very early in the morning every morning or they can be picked up from bakeries. The bread in my opinion has a neutral taste that allows it to accompany so many different fillings, Im partial to butter and cheese. My first memory of hops bread is in my Grandmothers house in Trinidad. I was somewhere around the age of 5 and I remember sitting in her kitchen, hearing chickens clucking, birds tweeting, and the gas man passing shouting out for people to buy new tanks of gas for their kitchens. As I sat by the table my Grandmother Justina placed the plate of  scrambled eggs fresh from the coup, sausage, and a warm sliced hops roll...Everything was so good and fresh, talk about good eats!
Fast forward about 20 years and I am here making hops bread in my kitchen in Brooklyn when Im feeling for a taste of that place my mother affectionately refers to as "home". While in Trinidad for a 6 month stay in 2004 I picked up the revised copy of Naparima Girls Cookbook and I have been using their recipe ever since. I have tweaked the recipe to my liking because I find the amount of shortening in the recipe is too minuscule.

Trinidad Hops Bread

2 1/2 cups hot water
1 tbsp shortening ( I use 4)
8 cups all purpose flour
2tsp salt
2tsp granulated sugar
1 pack or 1 tbsp instant yeast

1. Stir hot water and shortening together until  the fat melts and the liquid is lukewarm.
2. Place 6 cups flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and combine. 
3. Add liquid gradually to flour and mix well
4. Place on floured surface and knead for 5 minutes adding remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough.
5. Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled (about 30-45 minutes).
6. Punch down dough and form into balls 3in in diameter.
7. Place on greased baking tray, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise until doubled.
8. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

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