Doubles part II

29 01 2008

Trinidad weekend means doubles for lunch on Saturday. I’d make them for breakfast but honestly, who wants to get up that early? To me those overnight cinnamon twists are the best breakfast food ever, since they’re basically ready when you wake up. I should also try Alton’s overnight oatmeal. Good stuff. Wait, I was talking about doubles wasn’t I?

almost makes the house feel warm

Bear with me on this, okay? This post is for my own benefit. You see, when you make something three times a year it’s tough to remember exactly how you did it the last time and how well it worked. This time it worked, and I’m writing my process down before I forget it. I start with this recipe.

Let me first say that you should make twice as much bara bread as is in that recipe, but make the same amount of channa. Trust me.

My doubles recipe called for “enough water to form a soft dough.” Anyone know what that means? Good for you, don’t rub it in. I added the water a little at a time and it looked like the dough would take an endless amount of water. So I added a lot and guess what? It was too much. Way too much. My thoughts immediately went to my blog, you know “Mark Ruins Lunch?” Not wanting to start all over, I decide to knead in more flour and hope for the best. I probably added a half cup of flour to soak up all that water.

Guess what? Something strange happened. When it came time to form the baras I noticed that they were more pliable than before. I’m guessing, of course, because I don’t remember the last time I made doubles. Karen postulated that the kneading made the baras softer and stretchier (is that a word? spell check let it go.). But there was nothing said about kneading in the recipes. Any trinis out there knead their doubles? It turned out great today.

After letting the dough rise, punching it down, and letting it rest again, I contemplated cooking them. Fry in oil, I know, but how to form them? Naparima cookbook says to shape the baras in your hand with some water as a lubricant to keep them from sticking to your hands. I tried that and it sucked. Then I tried ripping some dough off the big dough ball and coating it all over with flour (shaking off the excess). I was able to roll the dough once or twice in each direction so it wouldn’t get all lumpy, then finish shaping with my fingers before I dropped it into the oil.

Cooking time: 30 seconds per side. Previously, I used to “eyeball” the baras to see if they were done (I always cooked them too long), but this time I tried timing it. They were perfect. Well, not perfect, they could still be a little thinner, but this was the best batch ever. So authentic I could hear the coconut man and his cutlass by the UWI doubles vendor.

I almost can’t believe it myself

And that’s why I’m writing it down. Maybe next time I’ll cook with some pepper in with the channa.

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4 responses

29 01 2008
chennette

Bara looks good – doubles look good – you really got nice uniform baras. My first and so far solo attempt at baras was not quite so pretty. The dough was too soft so I couldn’t stretch it, and it puffed up BIG. You know how hard it is to get channa to stay on the top of a hill? They’re round, they roll…

Kneading and resting is good for bara – you want to activate the gluten and get it all stretchy, so you can stretch it thin, even though it’s a very soft dough.
As per my Mom’s recipe, oil your hands to deal with the dough – it’s the way the doubles man does it (or his cooks anyway) and it really works.
And “enough water to form a soft dough” – well, you’re on your own. Things like humidity probably affect the amount of water anyway, so whatever us Trinis tell you may be different up there in the snow, and cold and snow, and cold.
😀

30 01 2008
dennis

I remember the time I made desserts from ‘scratch’ but to be fare your blog starts with ‘Mark ruins…’ not ‘Dennis ruins…’

Doubles sound interesting. I’ll have to keep this recipe in the old ‘back pocket’…

30 01 2008
Nicole

Congrats-I think I also made doubles about 5 times in my life. I agree with Chennette-oil your hands to deal with the dough. My mother made the most scrumptious baras-she added split peas powder, or cooked blended dal, to the dough-and thats how I always make my poulories, and they are scrumptious. If you used the split peas powder you have to let the dough rest for a few hours in te fridge, for the grains to fully absorb the water.

2 02 2016
Trinidad doubles from my kitchen - Zesty South Indian Kitchen

[…] came to rescue; hubby after late night shopping got 4 cans of chickpeas. I made bara using this recipe with my own modifications. Traditionally Bara is made with all purpose flour, I want to make it […]

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