Mouthwatering Traditional BVI Dumb Bread Recipe

Welcome to my kitchen, where I will be sharing with you my recipe for traditional BVI dumb bread. This bread takes its name in a clever way, traditionally made with simple ingredients that create a rich round loaf that takes on the name of “dumb” due to its dense texture.

This recipe is a staple in the British Virgin Islands, and it’s been passed down from generation to generation. As a chef, I have a passion for preserving traditional recipes and bringing them to life, and this bread is no exception.

I have been fortunate enough to learn from some of the best chefs in the Caribbean, including Daphne Blyden Smith, who is a renowned chef from the Virgin Islands. Together, we’ve created a recipe that stays true to the traditional BVI dumb bread while incorporating some modern twists.

Whether you’ve visited the Virgin Islands and tried this bread, or you’re simply a bread lover looking for a new recipe to try, I guarantee that this traditional BVI dumb bread recipe will not disappoint. So, let’s get started!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Traditional Bvi Dumb Bread
Traditional Bvi Dumb Bread

Are you looking for a bread recipe that is both delicious and easy to make? Look no further than the traditional BVI Dumb Bread recipe! This recipe hails from the British Virgin Islands and is a staple in Caribbean cuisine.

You’ll love this bread for its rich, round loaf that takes its name from a clever way it was traditionally made. The word “dumb” in the name actually refers to the fact that the bread is made without yeast, which was once considered a “dumb” ingredient. But don’t let the name fool you – this bread is anything but dumb!

This recipe is perfect for those who enjoy artisan breads and want to try their hand at a new style of baking. It’s also great for those who want to try their hand at making traditional BVI food. The ingredients are simple and easy to find, with flour, baking powder, shortening, sugar, salt, and water being the main components.

Not only is this bread delicious, but it’s also versatile. You can eat it on its own or pair it with a variety of dishes, making it perfect for any meal. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try making a coconut version of this bread.

So why not give this recipe a try? It’s a unique and delicious addition to any bread cookbook, and you’ll be able to impress your friends and family with your new baking skills. Plus, you’ll get to experience a taste of the British Virgin Islands without ever leaving your kitchen.

Ingredient List

 A slice of paradise in every bite
A slice of paradise in every bite

Before we start, let’s gather all the necessary ingredients for this Traditional BVI Dumb Bread Recipe. Don’t worry, because the ingredients are simple and easy-to-find. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • 1/2 cup of shortening
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 6 cups of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of baking powder

This recipe produces a rich round loaf that takes its name from the clever way it is traditionally made. The word “dumb” in the name of the bread is not meant to be derogatory. Instead, it refers to the style of baking where the dough is left to rise quietly without punching it down. This recipe is a true representation of the British Virgin Islands’ culinary heritage.

The Recipe How-To

 The perfect Caribbean breakfast treat
The perfect Caribbean breakfast treat

Now that we have all of our ingredients ready, it’s time to start baking this delicious Traditional Bvi Dumb Bread.

Mixing the Dough

To start, we need to mix the dough. Begin by mixing together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Once the dry ingredients are well-combined, cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then, add the water and sugar to the bowl and mix until the dough comes together.

Kneading the Dough

Once the dough has formed, it’s time to knead it. Sprinkle flour onto a clean surface and knead the dough for 10-15 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. You may need to add more flour if the dough becomes too sticky.

Shaping the Dough

After kneading, shape the dough into a round loaf and place it onto a greased baking sheet. Traditionally, this bread is baked in a rich round loaf which is how it gets its name, “Dumb Bread”.

Baking the Bread

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes before baking. Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Checking for Doneness

A good way to check if the bread is done is to knock on it. If it sounds hollow, then it’s ready. Let the bread cool down for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Enjoying Your Traditional Bvi Dumb Bread

This bread is delicious on its own or served with butter or jam. You can also make sandwiches with it or use it as a base for your favorite bread pudding recipe. The possibilities are endless!

Substitutions and Variations

 Warm, fluffy, and oh so delicious
Warm, fluffy, and oh so delicious

While the traditional BVI dumb bread recipe has been passed down from generations, there are some substitutions and variations that you can try to make the bread even more delicious.

One substitution you can make is to use coconut oil or butter instead of shortening. This will add a hint of coconut flavor to the bread and make it more moist. Another variation is to substitute water with coconut milk, which will give the bread a richer taste and texture.

For those who are looking for a healthier option, you can use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour. This will make the bread denser and nuttier in flavor. You can also add some baking powder to the dough to make it lighter and fluffier.

If you want to try something different, you can make coconut bread by adding shredded coconut to the dough. This will add a tropical twist to the traditional BVI dumb bread recipe and make it perfect for Caribbean-inspired dishes.

Another variation is to shape the dough into smaller rounds instead of one large round loaf. This will make it easier to serve and great for individual portions.

No matter which substitution or variation you choose, the BVI dumb bread will still be delicious and a great addition to any meal.

Serving and Pairing

 A taste of the British Virgin Islands
A taste of the British Virgin Islands

Once you have baked the traditional BVI dumb bread, the next question is, how do you serve and pair it? This rich, round loaf takes its name in a clever way from the style of baking that is traditionally used in the British Virgin Islands. The word “dumb” here does not refer to intelligence but rather to the fact that the bread is not kneaded or shaped, but rather left to rise and baked as a round loaf.

This artisan bread is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You can slice it and toast it for breakfast, or serve it with butter and jam. It is also delicious served alongside a hearty soup or stew. Its slightly sweet and nutty flavor pairs well with savory dishes, especially those with rich and bold flavors.

In the Caribbean, coconut bread is a popular variation of the traditional BVI dumb bread recipe. This variation adds shredded coconut to the dough and results in a slightly sweet and nutty flavor that pairs well with spicy dishes. You can serve coconut dumb bread with Caribbean-inspired dishes like jerk chicken or curry goat.

When it comes to pairing drinks with BVI dumb bread, you can’t go wrong with a cup of tea or coffee. The bread’s slightly sweet flavor complements the bitterness of coffee and tea, making for a perfect morning or afternoon snack. You can also pair it with a glass of milk, a fruity smoothie, or a glass of red wine.

Overall, the traditional BVI dumb bread recipe is a versatile and delicious bread that can be enjoyed in many ways. Whether you serve it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or pair it with tea, coffee, or wine, it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The aroma alone will transport you to the tropics
The aroma alone will transport you to the tropics

Making traditional BVI dumb bread is an art that requires time and patience, which is why it is a great idea to make it ahead of time. You can prepare the dough a day or two before you plan to bake it and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake. This way, you can have freshly baked bread whenever you want without having to go through the entire process every time.

To store the baked bread, wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in a cool, dry place. The bread will stay fresh for up to a week. If you want to keep it fresh for longer, you can freeze it. Wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil before placing it in the freezer. When you are ready to eat it, simply thaw it at room temperature or in the microwave.

Reheating the bread is easy, and it will taste just as fresh as when it was first baked. Preheat your oven to 350°F and place the bread in the oven for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can slice the bread and toast it in a toaster or on a skillet. The bread will become slightly crisp on the outside and warm on the inside, making it the perfect accompaniment to any meal.

In conclusion, BVI dumb bread is a delicious and versatile bread that can be made ahead of time and stored for later use. It can be frozen and reheated easily, making it the perfect addition to any meal. So why not try making this traditional BVI dumb bread recipe today and enjoy the taste of the Virgin Islands in your own home?

Tips for Perfect Results

 The ultimate comfort food for any island lover
The ultimate comfort food for any island lover

When it comes to baking traditional BVI dumb bread, there are a few tips and tricks to ensure the perfect results. Here are some of my tried and tested tips for making this delicious bread.

Firstly, be sure to measure your ingredients accurately. Baking is a science, and even a small deviation from the recipe can greatly affect the outcome of your bread. Use a kitchen scale to measure your flour, and measuring cups and spoons for the other ingredients.

Next, ensure that your dough is well-kneaded. This helps to develop the gluten in the flour, resulting in a chewy and tender bread. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic.

Another important tip is to let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place. I like to place my dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and place it in a warm spot in my kitchen. This allows the dough to rise properly, resulting in a light and fluffy bread.

When it comes to shaping the dough, resist the urge to overwork it. Traditional BVI dumb bread is meant to have a rustic, uneven texture. Use your hands to shape the dough into a round loaf, and then score the top with a sharp knife to allow for even rising.

Finally, be sure to bake the bread until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. This ensures that the bread is fully cooked and has a delicious crust.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to make a delicious and authentic traditional BVI dumb bread that will transport you straight to the British Virgin Islands.


Before we wrap up this recipe article, let’s address some of the frequently asked questions that you might have about making Traditional BVI Dumb Bread. In this section, I will provide answers to some of the most commonly asked questions to help you achieve the perfect results. So, let’s dive right in!

Why do they call it dumb bread?

The origins of Dumb bread can be traced back to the Indian style of baking known as “dum”. This rich, round loaf got its name due to the unique technique used to make it. Historically, this technique was brought to the Caribbean by indentured workers who were brought to the region after the emancipation of slaves.

What is the all in one bread making method?

The all in one method is a straightforward approach to baking where all the ingredients are combined simultaneously. It is a convenient and time-saving technique that works particularly well for cupcake recipes, producing excellent results with minimal effort.

How many types of bread are there?

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of bread and explore 15 different types of bread, each with their own unique characteristics and flavors. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of the various types of bread available and be able to choose the perfect bread for any occasion. So, let’s get started!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Traditional BVI Dumb Bread recipe is a delicious and unique bread that is worth trying out. Its clever name and rich round loaf make it a staple in British Virgin Islands cuisine. With simple ingredients like flour, shortening, sugar, salt, and water, this bread is easy to make and can be enjoyed with a variety of meals. Don’t be fooled by the word “dumb” in the name – this bread is anything but! The clever way it is traditionally made proves that this bread is a true artisan bread.

Whether you are a bread-baking enthusiast or just starting out, this recipe is perfect for you. The steps are easy to follow and the end result is a delicious, aromatic and flavorful bread that is sure to impress your guests. With a little practice and experimentation, you can even create your own variations of this recipe.

So, what are you waiting for? Try out this Traditional BVI Dumb Bread recipe today and experience the taste of the Caribbean in your own kitchen. With its rich history and unique flavor, this bread is sure to become a favorite in your bread cookbook. Happy baking!

Traditional Bvi Dumb Bread Recipe

This quick bread is from the British Virgin Islands. The dough is put into a pot, which is set upon a stand made from an old, car-wheel rim welded into three steel legs. If you want to try this recipe at home, place a pot on an outdoor barbecue grill and use and aluminum cookie sheet to put the coals on. I have not tried this unsual bread myself but coppied the recipe out of a local Tortolan Magazine (whose name escapes me)while on holiday there.

  • 1/2 lb flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or less0)
  • water
  • shortening
  1. Mix flour, salt and sugar, add enough water to mix the ingredients and knead.
  2. Grease the bottom of the pot with a little of the shortening and preheat by putting the tin with the hot coals on top of the pot.
  3. Remove the tin sheet and place the dough inside. Replace the tin with hot coals on top of the pot.
  4. Check the dough from time to time. When the bottom is brown turn the dough over and heat until the other side is brown. The whole process including the making of the dough should take 20 minutes.
< 30 Mins, Breads, Caribbean, Easy, Grains, Healthy, Low Cholesterol, Quick Breads

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