In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Gratifying Hops Bread.


Hops bread is one of those things every Trinbagonian can relate too with some level of passion. For me, it’s playing football (soccer) after school at Irving Park, San Fernando and heading over to the Chinese bakery next to the WASA office,  for hops bread fresh out of the oven… after our game. Digging deep into our collective pockets to secure enough coins to get a dozen of these temptingly delicious rolls. We never had enough to purchase cheese or even a drink, but we didn’t care… we choked those hops bread down like voracious pigs!

After many requests for this hops bread recipe, I decided to ‘make a mess”… that’s what happens when I start playing around with flour. Something I inherited from my dad, who is a boss cook/baker, but quite messy! You should have seen the stove top, counters and kitchen floor when I was all done baking.

You’ll Need…

2 1/2 cups hot water
2 tablespoon shortening
8 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 pack or 1 tbsp instant yeast

Stir the shortening into the hot water until it melts completely and the water becomes luke warm.

In a large bowl, place about 7 cups of the flour, salt, sugar and yeast and  give it a good mix to combine evenly. Now start adding the water a little at a time, until you have a soggy dough.

The dough will be very sticky and wet at this point. Dust a surface with flour and empty the dough onto it to knead. Knead for about 5 minutes, adding flour as necessary until you have a well formed dough ball. Soft, but firm.

It’s time to get the yeast active and allow the dough to swell. I sprayed a large bowl with cooking spray (greased) and placed the dough in it to do it’s thing. With the dough in the bowl, I covered it with plastic wrap (or use a damp towel) and set it in a warm corner of my kitchen. We’re looking for it to basically double in size. Which takes between 40 – 50 mins (depends on how active your yeast is and how warm your kitchen is).

Line you baking sheet with parchment paper or grease and dust with flour. Now remove the plastic wrap and punch the dough to release the air. Divide the dough into 12 even dough balls (about 3 inches in diameter) and set onto the parchment lined baking sheet. We’ve got to allow this to proof again and double in size. Place a damp towel/cloth on top to keep the moisture in and so the top of the individual hops bread dough balls don’t dry out. Set aside in a warm corner of your kitchen to double in size. I believe it took about 45 mins. Refer to the video below to see how I did the individual dough balls, so they were smooth and well rounded.

Preheat your oven to 400F and set on the middle rack to bake. It will take between 20-25 mins (depends on your oven) to be nice and golden. In our oven it took 25 mins to get to the desired color I wanted and as soon as they were out, I already had butter and cheese on hand to go to work. Your kitchen will have that wonderful scent of your favorite bakery and don’t be surprised if your neighbors come knocking.

Try not to be as greedy as I am and do allow the freshly baked hops bread to cool a bit before using. They’re great for sandwiches, used as dinner rolls and Caron had a couple with freshly made hamburgers she had this evening.  Speaking about after school and my love for hops bread. I absolutely hated being in a taxi after school and a passenger would ask the driver to stop for him/her to get some bread at the bakery on our way home. My belly would be in full chorus and this person would have those delicious smelling bread within reach.. that is torture!  FYI, taxis in my time down on the islands were shared. So basically 4 people from the same village or town would pay a fare to the driver for his service.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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59 Comments

  1. Amanda
    May 10, 2020 / 7:42 am

    Made these hope last night they turned out perfectly!!! Actually made so we have bread this morning but no luck everyone decided to have a second dinner after smelling and tasting. Really nice crust and soft on the inside.

  2. Rhou
    October 10, 2018 / 7:06 pm

    Such a great recipe!!! This is my second go and I’m obsessed. They stay sooo moist daysss after being baked, which is rare for some hops.

  3. March 1, 2018 / 1:04 pm

    Hi Chris,
    Thank you for the recipe I will be trying it in a few days.

    How long these hops bread can stay on the counter before it go bad.

  4. Julie
    December 2, 2017 / 8:26 am

    As a beginner Trini cook – I have no idea what shortening is! Google tells me it can be butter, lard etc…. but what do Trinis use?

    • admin
      December 2, 2017 / 10:11 am

      google can be your friend (smile). I guess in Trinbago it would be called ‘lard’?

      • Julie
        December 3, 2017 / 7:52 am

        I ended up using Cookeen lol…
        My hops bread turned out very dense and hard….nothing lile yours! Any tips? I halved the recipe and followed it to a tee.

        • Mikela
          April 10, 2018 / 4:09 am

          Hi Julie, in terms of baking bread, shortening is lard which is the white one – crisco. hope you try again and get through. 🙂

    • Juana C
      January 17, 2019 / 8:20 pm

      Shortening. Use Crisco. I used the butter flavored Crisco.
      From my experience if the bread is dense there could be 2 issues: the dough is not soft, either not enough liquid or you did not knead it long enough. This is a very soft dough.
      Try incorporating the liquid into small sections of the flour before kneading it all together.
      Also, location and weather matter. In warmer climates the dough needs less liquid than in colder climates.
      Good luck. The recipe works.

  5. Annabelle
    September 23, 2017 / 7:55 pm

    Would you believe that Chinese bakery Apangs is still operating!!! Best beef pies too!

  6. Sherry
    February 8, 2017 / 6:42 pm

    Omg that was d best hope bread u were right we love it

  7. Tammy
    August 31, 2016 / 2:56 pm

    Can u use raise to the hops bread. Thanks

  8. Roz
    March 18, 2016 / 6:48 pm

    Well hello there Chris, I am about to try this recipe since it is certainly quite different from the way my mama made it back “in de days!”
    I have tried some of your other recipes and they all came out perfect so here goes. I will let you know this outcome.
    Thank you again for bringing “home” to my kitchen here in cold Boston.

    • admin
      December 8, 2015 / 5:22 pm

      snacks

  9. Navita
    October 18, 2015 / 7:16 pm

    Tried this recipe today and it came out absolutely wonderful! I encourage others to give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!

  10. Rehana B.
    September 14, 2015 / 3:35 pm

    Love your recipes! Can this recipe used to make loaves as well?

  11. Flower Pot
    July 23, 2015 / 6:51 pm

    Hello, I came across your recipe for hops bread and wondered if I made it, would it have the hardish crispy crust with the air soft insides that I remember feasting with my grandfather back in the 60’s?

  12. momerelle
    June 24, 2015 / 12:12 pm

    Hey just wanted to know salt is the tablespoon or teaspoon not the world’s greatest cook thanks

  13. March 26, 2015 / 1:35 pm

    Can I add wheat brand to this recipe and get the same results?

  14. Monica
    March 5, 2015 / 8:33 am

    Chris I will be making hops bread today, thanks you inspire me

  15. Patricia
    January 24, 2015 / 10:52 am

    Thanks Chris and thanks to your mom. Just looked at the pepper roti video – so that’s how it’s done! Not sure if I can do it… my past results with making roti haven’t been successful.

    Love the loving and respectful way you speak of your parents.

    Patricia

  16. Donna
    October 13, 2014 / 7:48 am

    Hey Chris,

    I am trying the recipe today. Someone mentioned the green leaf on the bread. The Hops Bread is what is called Salt Bread in Barbados and it still has the green leaf that resembles a palm leaf. Everyone sleeping but will wake up to the sweet smell of your Hops Bread…Thank you Chris love the recipes.

  17. Sadia Kishundat
    October 1, 2014 / 12:00 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I have tried your hops bread recipe. It came out just as expected tasted delicious and brings back memories of TNT! Thanks so much!
    I have shared the recipe and everyone love it!

  18. Ricia
    September 19, 2014 / 1:29 pm

    Thank you…. bread came out amazing… keep up the excellent work

  19. Roanne
    September 8, 2014 / 5:25 am

    Bread was really soft nice, thanks for sharing. My only problem was that the bread was stuck pretty good to the parchment paper, not sure where I went wrong there

  20. Sterling S Mohammed
    March 21, 2014 / 2:30 pm

    The Chinese bakery was and stil is Affans. It is still operating-the Sugar Workers Union Building next to it was demolished.

  21. Sadia
    February 12, 2014 / 2:33 pm

    Chris,
    Your hops bread looks absolutely delicious. Can’t wait to try the recipe!

  22. rita grant
    January 26, 2014 / 5:00 pm

    how did the name HOPS bread came about? I remember the bread use to have a green leaf on the top. Is that a hops leave? I enjoyed reading all the recipes. Can I melt the shortening in the micro oven instead of mixing with hot water? What is the difference between lard and shortening? Do I have to use shortening and not lard?

    Thanks
    Rita

  23. December 27, 2013 / 12:16 pm

    I love your site and your recipes. I especially appreciate the step by step instructions and photos.

    I used this hops bread recipe for my XMas baking and my hops bread came out beautifully! The only change I made was the addition of some whole wheat flour.

    Thanks again for this recipe 🙂

  24. karen b
    November 18, 2013 / 9:29 am

    thanks for the recipe and the reminder of familiar places..I too frequented the chinese bakery next to the wasa office in san fernando with my pennies.i will try this recipe..been looking for an authentic long time hops bread recipe and not the soft modern mush.I hope this is it

  25. renee
    November 17, 2013 / 5:29 pm

    love this recipe i tried it and it taste so delicious 🙂

  26. Vin
    September 14, 2013 / 8:00 pm

    Don’t know what happened. The lining paper was stuck to the rolls and didn’t come off. Such a pity. I had to cut off the bottoms. Great recipe though and a wonderful site. Many thanks.

  27. Tesh
    September 1, 2013 / 7:48 am

    Would like to know how to make bread

  28. Tesh
    September 1, 2013 / 7:48 am

    To make bread

  29. Ria
    April 5, 2013 / 8:40 am

    I made these yesterday. I use replaced 2 cups all purpose flour with 2 cups white wheat flour and an extra pinch of yeast, also used a total of 7 cups flour instaed of 8 . I was impressed with the way the dough doubled so quickly. I have been trying to make bread after a weekend in trinidad back in late 90s. I try differnt recipes. this is a keeper Chris. I made differnt sizes and shapes for fun and will post pictures and share your site. You are such an inspiring cook Chris. Blessings

  30. Debbie
    January 19, 2013 / 9:34 pm

    My cousin sent me a recipe on how to prepare and cook geera pork from your website. I have been hooked every since. I have tried so many dishes that I have wanted to make and didn't really know how to start. My second attempt at hops bread, Reminds me of my childhood. Best receipe ever. Thanks a million P.S. Have a batch in the oven right this minute, can't wait for it to be done.

  31. laura
    January 10, 2013 / 3:10 am

    It's 3am in Trinidad and I'm making your bread because it's just so good I must have for breakfast.

  32. sherryann
    December 16, 2012 / 9:35 pm

    is it 1 pack or 1 tbsp of yeast

  33. Shan
    October 29, 2012 / 5:50 pm

    Hi! Is this the same thing as bajan salt bread? I hope it is, I've been looking for a recipe forever…

  34. Kesha Roberts
    September 12, 2012 / 8:42 am

    Chris, thank you for this recipe. It was excellent! I ran out of white flour and had to use some whole wheat flour. It was excellent. Thank you for doing this.

  35. riise
    August 1, 2012 / 8:41 pm

    Hi Chris thanks for the hops bread recipe, i will be trying this and some of your other recipies this weekend… will let you you know if i pass or fail… (smile)

  36. Michelle Williams
    July 24, 2012 / 6:44 pm

    Hi Chris thanks for your hops bread recipe i tried it and it was great my kids and they loved it, i made 2 dozen. I am about to zing up my own barb-que sauce with your recipe.

  37. Cathy
    July 20, 2012 / 6:31 pm

    Thanks for posting this Chris. Brings back great childhood memories. My favourite hops filling: a ripe, sweet, buttery slice of zaboca (avocado).
    Yum!

  38. john
    July 17, 2012 / 6:08 pm

    "Digging deep into our collective pockets to secure enough coins to get a dozen of these temptingly delicious rolls. We never had enough to purchase cheese or even a drink, but we didn’t care… we choked those hops bread down like voracious pigs!"

    "I absolutely hated being in a taxi after school and a passenger would ask the driver to stop for him/her to get some bread at the bakery on our way home. My belly would be in full chorus and this person would have those delicious smelling bread within reach.. that is torture! "

    Boi, yuh had meh laffin so hard boi. Dem bring back som good good memories boi. Ah remember choking on dem hops bread, an meh belly use to grumble too, wen dem people an dem com in de taxi wit dem bag full a bread. Sometimes wen ah went to the bakery to buy dem for my mom ah would eat one on the way home, wen she ask me if ah count dem before I lef the bakery ah woul say no, dey mus ah cheated me one… 🙂
    Notten like hot hops bread wit butter and cheese.

  39. Robert Mayers
    July 11, 2012 / 3:56 pm

    Hello Chris,
    I am new to Caribbean Pot but am intrigued with all those familiar dishes of my youth one of them being Hops Bread. We lived at Reform Estate just east of San Fernando so I remember on many occasions when we drone to Mayaro my father would stop at a village bakery along the way, either in Princess Town or Rio Claro, to buy hops bread. As you mentioned we could not wait to wolf them down without any other ingredients.
    One thing I have always understood that makes hops bread unique from others like Bajan salt bread is that some form of hops was used as the rising ingredient and hence giving the bread its very unique flavour and aroma.
    Do you have any idea on how hops is used in the recipe?

  40. Miranda Riordon
    July 10, 2012 / 9:57 am

    Hello Chris,
    Thank you for this recipe .. I will be making some bread on the weekend 🙂

  41. Kathy
    July 10, 2012 / 7:59 am

    Chris,
    Just want to let you know that bakery next to WASA is still operating. WASA is no longer there, they moved and the building is just there, really run down. The bakery, Afans Bakery, is now run by the son-in-law of the original owners, and they have kept their standards. They make a really delicious "homemade" bread.
    I bought one yesterday and just had a couple slices with "real" butter, Kerrygold.

  42. Flav
    June 15, 2012 / 12:46 pm

    Thanks Chris for bringing back the good old memories.
    Great recipies

  43. Elka
    June 13, 2012 / 4:55 pm

    Hey Chris you are the man. I feel so much closer to my sister who lives in trini, making these dishes.This recipe looks the sames as if you were making bread. Can you do a bread recipe please. Thanks

    • ria445
      April 5, 2013 / 8:49 am

      I would just put the same dough in two loaf pans, they would take a bit longer to bake. I have been using a great "crusty" bread recipe but will make loaves from the hops bread recipe next time.

  44. Mala
    June 9, 2012 / 9:04 pm

    Great video Chris

  45. Florence
    June 3, 2012 / 3:16 pm

    Hey Chris I wanna get the best bake fish recipe that you got, thanks

  46. natasha
    June 3, 2012 / 10:09 am

    i left trinidad at sixteen and i remember hops bread i cant wait to try it p.s could u teach me to make bake not the fried kind but the one u put in the oven

  47. Maxine Foster
    June 1, 2012 / 9:03 am

    Hi Chris, Thanks for sharing the hops bread. I will make an attempt to bake one of these soon. I having been trying to make fry dumpling. I brought so many baking powder thinking my baking powder is not fresh, good and so I try a new one every other month. Each time I put in the baking powder the dumpling does not rise (should I cover the dumpling with a damp cloth and leave out for awhile in a warm place?) and when I fry the dumpling the inside is not cook even when press down the dumpling in the hot oil and also even when I burn the dumpling.

  48. Ramona
    May 29, 2012 / 5:50 pm

    Thank you Chris for this lovely recipe:)

  49. Candis
    May 28, 2012 / 7:26 pm

    Making beer bread tonight – you are next on my list with the hops – will let you know how this turned out when I try it.

  50. Simoiya
    May 28, 2012 / 5:09 pm

    these bread look oh sooooo yummy chris. Thanks for sharing. By the way the cloth you used to cover looked like cockroaches and other insects was walking on it but i know is the design on the kitchen towel, lol..

  51. Jennifer James
    May 28, 2012 / 2:18 pm

    Awesome recipe Chris

  52. Nat
    May 28, 2012 / 1:37 pm

    Awesome, man. Thanks for posting this. I have these rising now to serve with supper tonight.

    As an aside, if you're having issues handling the dough, be sure to "flour" your hands a bit. Makes a world of difference.

    Cheers.

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