Recipe #31: Mom’s Homemade bread

And last but not least, we rounded out 2012 with Homemade Bread which traditionally accompanies Pepperpot 0n Christmas Morning in Guyana. Since this is my mother’s recipe, you won’t find proportions like tablespoons or measuring cups. Instead, my mom estimates everything using regular utensils like eating spoons and coffee mugs. Who am I to argue with deliciousness? This recipe is as much a tribute to her as it was a gift to us!


  • 3 packets of Fleischman’s Yeast
  • 8  eating spoons of sugar (NOT measuring spoons but actual eating spoons, the sugar should fit in a heap on the spoon). Use spoons that you would eat soup with.
  • 2 regular sized coffee mugs filled with warm water
  • 4 eating spoon tips of salt (heap the salt on the tip of the eating spoon ONLY. Do not fill the spoon)
  • 4oz butter
  • Flour


  1. In a large bowl, combine yeast and 6 eating spoons of sugar into a sugar and crush the yeast in the bowl with the back of the spoon.
  2. Add 1 warm water to the yeast mixture and cover and set aside for raising. Feel free to set this aside next to the stove so that warm currents can aid yeast activity. This process is called “setting the yeast”  and you may avoid this step if you use “instant yeast”..  When my mother grew up, bread makes had to test the efficacy of the yeast before adding the flour – an entire batch of bread could be spoiled by impotent yeast. So by force of habit, my mom usually sets the yeast before proceeding.
  3. When the yeast mixture has risen, looking fluffy and foaming a bit, uncover bowl and add salt.
  4. Add the remaining two more eating spoons of sugar. Adjust the salt and sugar amounts to taste – some people like saltier breads as opposed sweeter.
  5. Add butter.
  6. Add 1 more mug of warm water. In this step, if  you add an extra cup of water here, add another 2 oz of butter in the step above.
  7. Add enough flour to make a dough.
  8. Knead, Knead, Knead and Knead some more until a smooth elastic dough is formed into a large circle (or until you’re exhausted ?:)). If you are using whole wheat flour, mix the whole wheat flour with white flour in 50-50 proportions to ensure an elastic dough. Whole wheat tends to be heavy and tight so balance with white flour.
  9. Cut a slit on the top of the dough and cover and set aside for more raising in a warm place. Uncover when the dough has doubled in size.
  10. Grease several bread pans while the dough is rising.
  11. Form dough into even sized smaller circles (or plait the bread if that’s what you like) and place into greased bread pans.
  12. Let the dough rise in the pans for about 20 to 30 minutes. This improves the shape of the dough and final product.
  13. Bake in a hot oven (375F) for 15 minutes on the middle shelf.
  14. Reduce the heat to 350F and bake for another 30 minutes.
  15. To test if the bread is finished, rap the bread with your knuckles. It should sound hollow. Of course, a lovely golden brown color is a good indication that it is finished.
  16. Extract from oven and brush loaves with butter. This removes any white flour that may have settled on top of the loaf. Alternatively you can sprinkle loaves with water BEFORE putting it into the oven.
  17. With that, you are finally ready to serve and enjoy!

Phew! Are you exhausted by just reading those steps? Trust me, it is worth it. Here is how ours went :

So there you have it. 31 recipes completed in one year. Hopefully in 2013, we’re able to write up posts as fast as we make dishes 🙂

Recipe #30 : Mom’s Pepperpot


PepperPot, typically eaten with bread for breakfast on Christmas morning

Most people wake up on Christmas morning anxious to open presents. Breakfast, if a special thing at all, is merely a pit stop on the way to the presents or a way to bring everyone down from the high of receiving all that fab new stuff!

Well, for Guyanese (at least these Guyanese), breakfast is the destination NOT the journey to the presents or a stop on the way back from the presents. Christmas breakfast is pretty much all we can think about the night before, and that’s all due to a favourite dish of ours, Pepperpot.

It’s impossible to spoil us on this dish as it’s only prepared once a year in most Guyanese kitchens, and that’s at Christmas time. Pepperpot (NOT this) is a dark, meat stew and sauce mixture, flavoured with cinnamon, clove and other spices. In fact, just about the only main ingredients are meat (usually pork or beef), cinnamon sticks, cloves, salt, whole peppers (when in Guyana we use wiri wiri peppers, when in Jamaica we use Scotch Bonnet peppers), and cassareep which gives it its signature dark colour.

It most closely resembles a soup and is eaten by hand with thick chunks of homemade bread – the bread is ripped from the loaf, dipped into the spicy stew, soaked and devoured. It gets better folks, Pepperpot improves with age, so while it may be at its freshest on Christmas morning, it’s definitely at its best closer to New Years!

Here’s how our mom does it:*

  • Season meat with salt, onion and fine leaf thyme.
  • Spray bottom of pan and heat seasoned meat.
  • Add water to cover the meat.
  • After it boils a bit, add clove and cinnamon sticks. Let boil for 15 minutes.
  • Put in a whole pepper (or a few =)). 15 minutes more of boiling
  • Add cassareep until the liquid turns black, not brown.
  • When the meat is tender (or you find yourself suddenly beating people off with a stick because they’ve begun descending on the boiling pot seemingly from out of nowhere!) you’re done!

* Disclaimer : this is our mother’s version (no animal faces or ears or blubbery, fatty pieces of things). Please refer to What’s Cooking in Guyana for versions which may be more… authentic =)