Mama's Fry Bakes ( St. Vincent and the Grenadines)

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 30 mins

West Indian breakfast bread. Fry bakes is the Trinidadian name. The rest of the Caribbean calls this Johnny Cakes. According to Côte-Çi, Côte-Là: Trinidad & Tobago Dictionary, by John Mendes, © 1986, "A Johnny Bake was originally called a journey bake, cooked especially so that it will remain edible on a long journey." It is a simple dough which can be roasted baked or fried. Stuff it with cheese, or with fried fish, or sausages or Saltfish Buljol (Trinidad) (salted cod fish). They are delicious plain, warm and slathered in butter. My 'Mama' (Grandma) on Canouan Island in the Grenadines made the best fried bakes that I know. I have tried to re-create her recipe. The yeast in this recipe is my personal preference. Traditionally this recipe does not use yeast. Will yield a marginally denser (no less delicious) bake without the yeast.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. If not using yeast, omit step 6. The dough can be rolled out and fried immediately.
  2. Mix together the flour, salt, baking powder and yeast.
  3. Rub in the shortening.
  4. Add sufficient water to the flour mixture to make a smooth dough.
  5. Knead dough lightly until smooth.
  6. Cover with a damp cloth and leave dough to relax for ½ hr).
  7. After dough has rested for ½ hour, divide and shape into 12 balls.
  8. Roll each ball of dough on a lightly floured surface, to 1/4 " thick and 3 1/2" round.
  9. Fry in hot oil until brown on both sides.
  10. Put on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  11. These freeze well and can be reheated in the microwave.
Most Helpful

I'm from Dominica (not republic) and we call it bakes too. And bajans also.

5 5

Thank you Wizzy. My hubby is West Indian and I try to cook things that he used to enjoy from his country. He really liked these.

5 5

I took Sassylilbear's advice, I added 1 Tbsp sugar, and I used non-fat milk instead of water. I also used the yeast. I cooked 1/2 after the rest period and the rest after letting the dough sit in the fridge overnight. The first batch was DELICIOUS the second batch was out of this world yummy. If you have the patience, I recommend letting the dough rest in the fridge overnight. Either way, I highly recommend this recipe.