Jamaican Hard Dough Bread Recipe

Jamaican hard dough bread with its soft thick crust and dense chewy interior is the perfect vessel for your favorite sandwich fixings. Or with butter alongside a mug of steaming hot chocolate. But, don’t take my word for it. Give this super easy recipe a try and taste for yourself.  I think you will agree that this chunky Jamaican bread really is second to none.

Just like any other yeast bread, baking harddough bread is a labor of love. I suggest baking this bread when you have several hours of time available. Between mixing, rising and baking it takes about 3 hours in total. Unlike other yeast bread dough that can be refrigerated for hours this bread is very dense with a soft crust. So I do not suggest letting the dough rest beyond the recommended time.

hardough bread mise en place
When making harddough bread timing is essential. a few extra minutes and your bread becomes dry and trashy. Use your oven or phone timer, if you don’t have a freestanding kitchen timer available.

The concern I hear most often from bakers is that they are inexperienced with yeast.
Well, I can assure you that yeast is just as easy as using baking powder. You only need to keep 2 things in mind type and temperature
1. Quick/active/ instant yeast gets mixed into the dry ingredients. Any other yeast is mixed with liquid before it is combined with the dry ingredients
2. Water, milk or other liquid should be lukewarm (think baby formula) anything hotter than 110° will likely kill the yeast too quickly.

More dense than most bread Jamaican harddough bread is thick, chewy and slightly sweet when made just right.

Jamaican Hard Dough Bread Recipe

  • 4 ½ C all- purpose flour
  • 3 TB sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp instant yeast
  • 3 TB butter (, softened)
  • 1 C. warm water (105 – 125°)
  • ½ C. warm milk (105 – 125°)
  • 2 TB vegetable oil
  1. Reserve ¼ cup flour for rolling.

    Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Attach dough hook to mixer, turn on low and slowly stir in the milk, water, and butter. Continue mixing on lowest speed for 5 to 7 minutes, until flour is completely absorbed and the dough begins to lift away from the side of the bowl. Rub the entire surface of the dough and sides of the bowl with vegetable oil. Return dough to the bowl and cover it with a dry towel. Let dough rise for 30 minutes.

  2. After 25 minutes, flour a smooth clean surface and remove the dough from bowl. Knead dough on floured surface for about 3 minutes to release air bubbles. Use a rolling pin to roll dough into a flat rectangular shape. Roll up dough into a tight log shape and put it inside a loaf pan. Cover the pan and allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes.

    After 20 minutes, turn on oven to preheat to 350°. Bake bread on center rack of oven for 40 minutes. Store in a bread box or other airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature or up to 7 days in the refrigerator.

*pay close attention to the times listed. Just a few minutes can mean the difference between a dry or chewy loaf of bread.
Substitute whole wheat flour for white flour, to make a healthier version of this bread. It may require the addition of a little more water. If more water is needed, add water 1 TB at a time.

Jamaican harddough bread with fried fish
Sliced harddough bread (show with fried fish) is a common presence in Jamaican households. Just like any other bread in any other culture, the serving options are endless.

17 thoughts on “Jamaican Hard Dough Bread Recipe”

  1. Hi there. I made this almost as directed. Delicious!!! Easy!!!
    I did the mixing by hand.I didn’t even knead the dough.

    Things I did differently. I added powdered skim milk to the fluid measurement.
    Added the sugar and the yeast to the warm liquid and let it sit for 10 minutes (usual way i make bread)
    Added 1 cup of wholewheat.

    I am in the process of making another loaf using bread flour and 1 cup of whole wheat.

    Thank you for sharing.

      1. I’ve made this recipe with the whole wheat and bread flour twice since my post! Just a little more dense. Delicious. I am about to make another 🙂

  2. William Martin

    Followed your recipe exactly and instructions and it was probably one of the best hardough breads I have ever had and I used to live next to a bakery. The fresh out of the oven bread and a good butter was a bright spot during these trying times.

  3. The recipe says to use 1 packet of yeast but 1 packet of yeast is is 2 1/4 tsp not 1 1/4, so which measurement should I use?

    1. 1½ tsp is sufficient.
      *It bears noting that the packet does not measure a full 2¼ tsp despite what the packet says. If you do use a pack measure the yeast and increase the other ingredients to correspond.

  4. I wanted to share that this recipe is brilliant. I used half all purpose and half wholewheat/meal flour and it was delicious. Thank you for a fab recipe that’s so on point.

  5. I would like to make hard dough bread in my bread machine as well as Ester. I was told to use Almond milk instead of regular milk. Could you please send the receipe to me. MY husband’s family is from Jamaica. Thank you.

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