Hard Dough Bread

11 September 2013

On this day there are so many things that remind me of home. Freedom, love, unity, family and pride all embody this country that we call home. I can hardly believe that 12 years ago I was on my way to my biology class when I heard the tragic news. I won't relive the details because I am sure most people know exactly what happened. But it's remarkable how events such as these remind us of where our home is and bring us closer together than ever before.

Even though the US became home for my husband years ago, his homeland of Jamaica will never leave his blood. Like American's the people of Jamaica also take pride in their culture, their unity, their family and their love. One other thing they take lots of pride in is their food.

Honestly nothing reminds me of home more than a plate of home cooked food and the same goes for my husband. The food that reminds him of Jamaica is hard dough bread. He often tells me of how it reminds him of when he was little. Once when he was reminiscing about his childhood he told me how his uncle Ike would send him to the bread shop to buy fresh bread while he was working at his corner shop. When he would return with the hot loaf of bread he and his uncle would sit down in front of the stand and eat half of the loaf each. Whenever my husband tells that story there is always a smile on his face and that is something I wanted to bring back. In Jamaica the bread is often paired with porridge, a jamaican patty, soup or used to make sandwiches. We have been able to find it just about every place we have looked but my husband always tells me it's not the same because in Jamaica he used to get it fresh.

I have tried several recipes to find the perfect consistency for this bread and each time it failed. Recently I tweaked this recipe and my husband said the bread was perfect. I made changes to the ingredients and baking time which made a huge difference. This bread is made really dense and is heavier than a traditional bread loaf - hence the name hard dough bread. 

Hard Dough Bread

2 lbs of flour
3 tsp yeast
4 tbsp of granulated sugar
2 1/2 ounces softened butter
2 cups of water

Bring active dry yeast to room temperature.

In a bowl mix all ingredients except for the yeast, 1 tbsp of sugar, and water. Add the butter last cutting it in with your fingers or a pastry cutter.

Set dry ingredients aside to prepare your yeast. Warm the water to 100 degrees.  Sprinkle 1 tbsp of sugar over yeast and then pour on 1/2 cup of warmed water. Allow yeast to bubble for 5 minutes.

Once yeast has been activated add to dry mixture with remaining 1 1/2 cups of water. In a stand mixer knead dough for 15 minutes. While dough is kneading grease a glass or stainless steel bowl. Place dough in the greased bowl making sure that oil is on every side of the dough ball. Cover and allow the dough to rise for 40 minutes.

Remove dough and punch down. Cut dough into separate but equal parts. Lightly flour a clean surface and roll each section of the dough out into a rectangle with a rolling pin. Then starting from a short side use your fingers to roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Repeat these steps on your other piece of dough. 

Place both pieces of dough into greased bread pans and allow to rise for another 40 minutes. When the dough has risen for 25 minutes preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Bake bread in preheated over for 25-30 minutes after rising is complete. 

Perfect Hard Dough Bread should not sound hollow when tapped. When bread is finished place on cooling racks.

Pair up with soup, jam, or whatever you'd like and Enjoy.

I hope that you would try the recipe and sample some of the flavors of Jamaica. It even works well served warm and topped with butter or jam. 

Do you have a particular food or bread that reminds you of home or your childhood? What is it?


  1. Food does remind you of home! For me, it's gumbo, crawfish and all the other Cajun goodness! This recipe sounds delicious too! I just bought my first packets of yeast last week and have yet to make bread. I guess the whole from scratch thing makes me a little nervous like I will mess the whole thing up! But I love bread, so ill have to suck it up and just do it! :)

  2. My Mama's Gravy absolutely reminds me of home. The smells in the kitchen bring back so many memories of family and home and happy times. The bread sounds delicious and I bet that it smells amazing baking in the oven!

    http://stupidbrokeneggs.blogspot.com/2013/08/my-mamas-gravy.html <~~ Mama's Gravy!

  3. There's NOTHING like Caribbean foods. I haven't tried Hard Dough Bread, but I'll definitely have a go at making it now (: Jamaica is like THE island that's most proud of their culture, whereas here in Barbados, it's not so much like that. Can't wait to taste this!

  4. Oh wow this sounds delicious!!! Hubby loves bread but we just don't eat it anymore...think I may have to do this as a treat - thanks :)

    Reminders would have to be baked rice custard from my Nanny when we were younger it was always a treat and the homemade sausage rolls my Dad used to make too!!! Food definitely a reminder but the smell too....brings back lots of memories!!


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