March is Bread month at the brooklyn kitchen. Look for a bread salon, at least one special bread class, discussions, and bread recipes to try.

We were just visiting friends on St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands) and took a day trip to the national park on neighboring St. John. While there we visited an old sugar plantation where they were making traditional Caribbean Dumb Bread. Apparently named for the method of cooking, early islanders referred to what we call a dutch oven as a “dum”

It’s a non-yeast bread with a dense texture. They were cooking it over a coal fire, with burning coal on top of the lid, a dutch oven.

Coconut can be added for a sweeter version.

Baked Dumb Bread
from the Virgin Islands National Park, St. John USVI

3 cups AP flour (can sub in 1/2 Whole wheat)
1/2 cup shortening
3 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup fine cornmeal
2 Tbsps sugar (optional)
1/2 cup milk

Combine dry ingredients and work in shortening and margarine (or butter). add water gradually to make a soft dough, it should not be sticky. Knead for 5 minutes until dough is smooth. Rest for 15 minutes, then form into a ball. place on a well-greased sheet, press down into a flat round shape about 1 1/2-2 inches thick, then prick with a fork or slash across the top. Bake in a preheated 350º oven turn over after 15 minutes, bake til golden brown.

I would try this in a preheated dutch oven, I think it will turn out better than on a cookie sheet. I’ll give them both a try later.