Sweet Guyanese Style Bakes, despite its name, is a fried dough typically served with Sautéed Salt Fish and enjoyed for breakfast or brunch. It was brought to Guyana by enslaved Africans and is very similar to Mandazi (or African Donuts), a fried bread originating in the Swahili coast of Africa.
My mom makes her bakes very light in color and almost savory with just a little bit of sugar. Sometimes she adds green onions and bit a grated garlic to make a completely savory bake/float. However, when I started dating my husband, and I made bakes for him, he said he preferred his bakes golden brown and sweet. This was not how bakes were in my home. Before dating him, the only time I had bakes like those was when I visited my aunt who lived in Meadowbrook gardens during august break from school. Her bakes were golden brown, thick and sweet. They had a great crunch on the outside but were soft and solid on the inside.
Over time, I started making a hybrid between my mom's floats and my aunts bakes. These bakes are golden brown and sweet, but hallow on the inside (like my mom's floats) and perfect for stuffing with salt fish or whatever you like.
Making the dough
When making bakes it is important to rest the dough. This gives the baking powder enough time to activate and soften the dough. After the dough has rested for about 30 minutes, I stretch the dough out and cut it into about a dozen pieces. I want the bakes to be thin and hallow on the inside. Depending on the size and thickness of your bakes, you will get between 9 and 12 bakes.
Shaping the bakes
After separating the dough into about a dozen dough balls and kneading the balls into mini rolls, I let the balls rest for about 15 minutes before rolling them into flat discs.
When I am ready to roll out the bakes for frying, I coat each ball with flour and flatten with your finger tips, then roll until it is about ⅛ of an inch thick.
My bakes are rolled out to be about the size of my handspan. I love these bakes because they are sweet and have a nice bit of crunch. They always fluff up to an inflated ball which allows for that perfect pocket that float bakes are known for.
The Youtube Video Tutorial for Sweet Guyanese Style Bakes:
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The Printable Sweet Guyanese Style Bakes Recipe:
Sweet Guyanese Style Bakes
- 3 cups of All Purpose flour and about ¼ cup for kneading and dusting work surface
- 1 cup sugar or less if you don't want it sweet
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon of salt optional
- 1 ½ cups of warm water
- 4 cups of oil for frying Avocado or Sunflower Oil
Mixing the dough
- In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Then mix together well. You can use a whisk for this step or your hands
- Next, make a well (hole) in the center of the mixed dry ingredients, then add the warm water and knead to form a soft dough
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and continue to knead until until the dough is smooth. Then form into a dough ball
- Then return to the mixing bowl, cover with a damp paper towel and let rest for at least 30 minutes
Forming the bakes
- After the dough has rested for 30 minutes, roll /stretch into a log on a floured surface and cut into 9 to 12 pieces. Knead each piece into a smooth mini dough ball. Then cover with a damp paper towel and let rest for another 15 to 30 minutes
Frying the bakes
- When the dough is ready for frying, add the oil to a large saucepan deep enough for deep frying and bring up to temperature on medium heat.The oil should be about 300°F. If you bring it to 350° F (the regular temperature for deep frying, your bakes will burn and the inside will be raw)
- Then on a floured surface and using a floured rolling pin, roll each round dough ball into flat disks Then when the oil is hot submerge the disk, one at a time into the oil. The dough will initially sink to the bottom of the pot, then it will rise to the surface and begin to swell. After about 1 minute to 1 ½ minutes or when the side of the bake that is in the oil is brown, flip the bake over to brown the top side (see video above). Once both sides are brown, remove from oil and place in a dish lined with paper towels to drain
- Repeat the frying processing until all the bakes are fried