I believe I mentioned in an earlier post that in Belizean culture, rice is a SUPER staple. I’m talking can’t-go-a-day-without-it staple. Rice, however, is mostly eaten for lunch. So, what do Belizeans eat for breakfast or supper? We love to eat so it has to be something filling and it has to be delicious.
Yes, I know it’s heavy and it may not be the healthiest, but it is one of the most beloved traditional, Belizean foods. I can almost 100% guarantee that you’ll love it. It is sweet heaven in your mouth and glory in your stomach. I’m talking about the Creole Bun. Belize is home to a variety of ethnicities including Creole, Mayan, Mestizo and Garifuna. All of these cultures have had an influence on our national identity in various ways, including cuisine.
I made these buns on a Sunday after getting back from a quick trip to the Motherland (I don’t live there, currently) and I only made a small amount because, although I try to eat vegan as much as I can, my family doesn’t. *head bows in shame* Hahaha I kid, of course.
Now, this recipe isn’t mine. It’s from a cookbook that my mother has had for years. However, since this is the recipe she always uses to make this bread, I used it as a guide and substituted all the animal products with vegan options.
I’m going to level with you now and confess that I had never made these before. HOWEVER, my mom makes another Belizean bread for me all the time, substituting the ingredients with vegan friendly options, and it tastes exactly the same. I figured it would be a similar case with the Creole Buns but just in case it wasn’t, I did a relatively small amount because Lord knows that if they tasted even a bit different my father and brother would never try my baking again.
They turned out amazing: perfectly golden brown, super soft and all in record time. My father and brother flocked to the kitchen with stars in their eyes and proceeded to pick apart my beautiful little buns. We finished them all in one sitting. I never told them but I guess if they’re reading it now they’ll finally know exactly what was in those buns. Oh well.
So, the ingredients you are going to need are:
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 tsps. instant yeast
- 1 tsp. white sugar
- 6 tablespoons warm water
- ¼ cup All- Vegetable Crisco shortening
- 1 tsp. essence of vanilla
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp. powdered cinnamon
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- 1 flax egg (1 tbsp. ground Flaxseed + 2 ½ tbsps. Water)
- Raise the yeast by adding the warm water and white sugar to it. Mix the three together in a bowl and leave for 5-10 minutes until it has risen significantly.
- In a deep bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Once it is all completely combined, make a hole in the centre.
- Melt the shortening in a small pot, on the stove, and then add the milk and vanilla. Make sure that this mixture does not start to boil.
- Take the milk mixture off the stove and add in the yeast mixture.
- Add the milk mixture and the flax egg to the flour, using a spoon or spatula to mix it all together. Once it starts holding together, knead the dough well.
- Place in a larger bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and put to rise. If you live somewhere hot, this should take about 20 minutes. However, if you live where it is a bit colder, it is advisable to find a spot where sunlight hits and leave the dough to raise there. This could take between 20-30 minutes. If you’re doing this at night when there is no sunlight or it’s a particularly cloudy/chilly day, you can always light your stove, so that your kitchen gets warm, and place the dough nearby.
- Once the dough has risen, knead it again atop a floured surface.
- Grease a baking pan.
- Cut the dough into 6-8 pieces and form them into rounded balls. Place them on the baking pan and flatten them slightly, making sure to leave spaces between them.
- Cover them with a kitchen towel again and repeat Step 6, after which the dough balls should be doubled in size.
- Preheat your oven to 350 °F or 180 °C.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Some people would say cool them before tasting but I’m not going to lie, we started eating them from the minute they came out, so I leave it to your discretion. Enjoy!