Plait bread is a type of braided bread (plait, meaning to braid or interweave) and is the most popular bread in Guyanese cuisine. It is enjoyed for breakfast with various spreads, dipped in tea, toasted on a tawa with butter, and completes a wonderful pepperpot meal on Christmas morning. Many might compare this bread to challah bread because it looks similar in appearance, but the main difference is plait bread does not usually contain any eggs.
This was the bread I grew up eating instead of grocery store shelf bread, so naturally after moving away from home and not having access to Little Guyana Bake Shop or Sybil's Bakery in Queens, I had to figure out a way to bake this on my own. This recipe has been quite a while in the making and I am sure I'll continue to learn new methods and techniques over the years which I promise to share with you.
The appearance of the bread
- Guyanese plait bread has no eggs in it but may be used for flavor and to aid in rising
- It is a simple white bread recipe; the making of it consists more of technique
- It has an overall oval shape
About the ingredients/mix
- Salt works against yeast; too much won't allow the bread to rise properly
- Powdered milk is a good substitute instead of liquid milk to add moisture to the bread
- Vegetable or olive oil, vegetable shortening, lard, or unsalted softened/melted butter can be used as the fats in this bread.
What to know about the proofing and baking of Guyanese plait bread
- For the first proof, covering the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, not a towel, helps to seal in the humidity for the yeast to develop. It also keeps the dough from forming a crust, which can end up as lumps in the bread later on.
- Greasing/oiling the bowl that the dough will be put in is important because the oil helps the dough move upwards in the bowl as it rises.
- Weighing the entire dough ball on a kitchen scale then dividing it by three tends to give a more even plait and even bread. But homemade bread doesn't need to look perfect so you can just eyeball the three parts if you do not have a kitchen scale.
- By the end of the second proof, if the braid starts to pull away from seams then the bread has over proofed. It will probably get a little flat while baking, but by all means tear it apart and dip in some tea.
- For the second proofing, I've found doing a cool rise instead of a warm one with steam works best, as too much heat kills the yeast and makes the bread fall flat when baking. Although, I've seen some of you have success with adding steaming water near where the bread is proofing.
- Rubbing butter or egg wash on bread loaf before baking will give the bread a hard crust and make it overly browned when baking. If that's how you enjoy it, then go for it.
- When the bread comes out of the oven, immediately rub butter and cover with a kitchen towel for a few minutes.
Proof the yeast in warm water, if you don't have a thermometer, just make sure the water is lukewarm. Add 1 tsp sugar, give it a stir and let it bloom for 10 minutes until it looks foamy.
After kneading, place the dough ball in a well-greased bowl. Allow to rise about 1 hour. This is known as the first proof.
Gently poke it down to deflate.
Knead by hand for 4-5 minutes until the air bubbles are all deflated or place in a stand mixer with the dough hook to knead for about 6-7 minutes.
Cut a small piece of dough to be added on top of bread- this is optional. You can also just cut the dough into three equal parts.
Roll each dough ball in between your palms, leaving the middle a little wide.
Begin to braid.
Place bread in desired baking dish lined with parchment paper.
Allow rising in a cool oven or microwave until double in size, about 20-25 min. This is known as the second proof.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-26 minutes. After removing from oven, rub some melted butter on top.
And cover with a towel and leave it for a few minutes.
Guyanese Plait Bread
Guyanese Plait Bread
Plait bread is a popular braided Guyanese bread enjoyed for breakfast or anytime and perfectly delicious dipped in a hot cup of tea. It is common to have this bread on Christmas morning with Guyanese pepperpot.
- 1 packet rapid rise or active dry yeast (equal to about 2 ½ tsp)
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ cup warm water
- 3 ½ cups flour plus ½ cup for kneading (use regular or unbleached all-purpose)
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup white granulated or brown sugar
- ¼ cup melted unsalted butter, vegetable oil, or shortening
- ¾ cup warm milk or water
- Melted butter to brush on top after baking
- Place yeast and ¼ tsp sugar in a deep bowl. Add warm water, stir and allow to bloom for 10 minutes until it looks foamy.
- In a mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, and salt, mix to combine. Make a well in the center. Pour in melted butter, yeast mixture and warm milk all at once and stir to make a sticky dough. Knead by hand for 4-5 minutes adding flour as needed. Alternatively you can start with flour, sugar, salt in the bowl of a stand mixer then using the dough hook, knead for 6-7 minutes. Dough will be slightly sticky. Remove from bowl onto a floured surface and knead into a smooth ball sprinkling flour as needed.
- Transfer dough ball to a well-oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place on the counter or in an oven (turned off). Allow to rise about 45 minutes to one hour. Dough should have doubled in size.
- Now gently deflate dough by poking with your fingers, knead by hand again on a floured surface for a couple of minutes until dough has no more air pockets about 4-5 minutes.
Braid the dough
- After second kneading you may cut a small piece of dough to be added on top of bread, this is optional. Then cut the remainder of the dough into 3 equal parts, just averaging the size. Or omit the small piece and just cut the dough into three equal parts. You may also use a kitchen scale to weigh the dough and then divide it by 3. Make sure each third is now equal in weight.
- Roll each of the three pieces of dough on the counter top or between palms of hands one at a time to shape logs, leaving the middle of each log a little wide. This helps with the oval shape after braiding.
- Braid dough according to photos in this post and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Set it aside on counter top or in oven (turned off) or microwave. You may place a bowl of warm water in the oven or microwave to help create humidity for the dough to rise.
- Allow to proof about 20-25 minutes.
- Remove tray from oven. Gently poke the side of the bread, if it feels airy and bounces back, then it is ready to bake.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F, bake for about 25-26 minutes until golden brown.
- When the bread is done, brush with melted butter. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel for no longer than a few minutes to keep the crust soft. Slice and enjoy!
- After bread is cooled, you can wrap it in wax paper and store it in a large airtight container, large zip-loc bag or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap then aluminum foil.
I like using Red start yeast for this bread.
I love toasting my bread on the tawa, can't wait to make this and some pepperpot...yum!
Your blog is such a wonderful taste of home. We did not have a toaster growing up and also toasted our bread on the tawah too 🙂
I tried this today. The 1 1/2 cup water made it very runny. I measured everything correctly beforehand. Is the water measurement correct or is the 3 cups flour not enough? Anyway I just added more fllour and it came out pretty good, not a smooth crust but good. Thanks.
Sorry to hear you had some trouble with this. The recipe says 1-1 1/2 cups water. I usually start with 1 cup water and then add more if I need it. Believe it or not sometimes you need more or less water depending on the type of flour you use. My mom uses flour from Costco and we always need to add more water! So that is why I indicated 1cup-1 1/2 cups, b/c it depends on the flour you are using. Bread recipes can get so tricky I tell you! Nonetheless, I am glad that it tasted good. I am working on trying to figure out how to get the crust smooth!
I love your website and all your food look so delicious. I baked this bread with King Arthur Bread Flour and Vegetable Shortening and no egg. And it was really good. I used 1 1/4 water. Because I am using a Kitchen Aid mixer to mix the bread, the water was sufficient. For so many years, I was look for the Guyana cook, finally decide to get the updated version. Which is selling on line at amazon. What's Cooking in Guyana. Not liking it too much. Which I had the old one. Like you, i decide to venture out of my comfort zone, and Guyanese and Trinidadian since my husband is from there.
Hi, thank you for this recipe... it came out really good, i measured everything as indicated and i was very please with my result, thanks again....
Only one question, how do I get it soft, it came out heavy, but that wasn't going to stop me eating it, please help.
This recipe seems very accurate. I've tried about 6 other recipes, and none came out as good as the one you get from the West Indian Store. Most of the recipes I tried gave a similar method, and when it was finished baking, the top was hard, and the bread inside was dry and hard(similar to hard dough bread) I halved this recipe today just to try, and didn't put any egg and it used about 1/2 cup of water to knead into a dough. I plaited it and its rising again. One key I learned is not to rub butter on top of the bread before baking, because the butter does not brown the top as good. Also if you would like the bread to rise quicker, boil a pot of water, and put it in the oven with the bread. The steam helps speed up the rising. Thanks again for this recipe! Hopefully it comes out Indian store style
Thank you for all your great directions! I made this bread today before going to work. Wow, it is really good! I have tried a couple other recipes and not been happy with the end result. My husband is from Guyana/Trinidad and asks for plait bread all the time (I was born and raised in South Jersey, not a drop of Caribbean blood in me.) There aren't any good shops around us, we occationally get things from Sybil's but it is too far to go there often. I will absolutely be trying more recipes from your website! It will be so nice to be able to cook things myself.
I have been making this recipe for a while now, with no egg, and the more I do it, the better I get, I found some tips to make the bread soft. I bake my bread in a foil pan, because a cookie sheet will sometimes burn the bottom. Spread parchment paper(not wax) in the bottom of a big foil pan, and plait the bread, leave it in that to rise and bake it. Also to get it soft, After plaiting, rise it in the oven with a pot of steaming water for 1 hour, then take out the pot, and rise another 30 minutes to 1 hour, then bake. When it comes out from the oven, cover it with a kitchen towel in the foil pan, the steam will soften the crust. Hope this helps
Thanks so much for this great recipe! I just made the bread for the first time and it came out terrific! I gobbled up 3 slices then quickly put it in an oversized zip lock bag to keep it soft, wrapped in paper towels. Thanks for the pics, details and steps. It tasted wonderful- just like in Guyana. I will share half with my Mom.
Awesome, I respect your dedication and look forward to adding your recipe to my collection. The best Guyanese plait bread, tennis rolls and pastries are at Pam's Bakery at the corner of church and Schenectady avenue in Brooklyn, NY. The secret to the crust is to take a pastry brush and brush on melted butter as soon as you remove the bread from the oven.
Thank you for taking the time to post such great recipes. As a Guyanese who has been away from home for a long,long time but not long enough to forget our foods I do appreciate it. I did try this bread recipe a few months ago and it was great, just as great as your Salara and Cheese Rolls and bakes... I can go on and on 🙂
I have started a recipe portfolio for my mommy for Christmas from your blog.
I wanted to ask if you know or have ever done Tennis rolls? As a child growing up in Campbellville I loved the bakery which sold fresh tennis rolls and coconut rolls. If you did or have the tennis roll recipe that would be awesome.
Thank you for this recipe. I tried this bread today and it came out wonderful. The only change I made, was brushing the butter onto the top of the bread after it was done baking, the result was a soft crust.My husband and kids loved it and requested more.
Made this recipe Xmas Eve and had it with pepperpot on Xmas morning. It was EXCELLENT. My husband and sons kept saying how soft and yummy it was. Thank you for another great recipe.
I tried this recipe for the first time and it came out great. I was reminded of my Guyanese bread. Simply amazing. Thank you for sharing your recipes.
I definitely love this recipe. I've had some great success with it, however it's still not the same 🙁 the video posted on YouTube seems to look more like what you'll find at the bakery. What is the method and recipe used there, because it's completely different than this one, if you don't mind sharing?
I made this today in the shape of rolls with half wholewheat and half all purpose and instant yeast as it was all i had...wasn't too bad...I love love your recipes..thank you
try this recipe numerous times, and now I'm a pro lol. I make bread every weekend now for my girls!!! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. My kids and hubby compliments me all the time!!! btw I do use the egg yolk to give the bread some color, works perfect.
You do an outstanding job of explaining, describing and illustrating your recipes. One can see that you take the time and effort to do a commendable job. You should be applauded, congratulated and recognized for your sterling contribution to the traditions of Guyanese culinary arts!
Thank you for all your recipes! My husband is Guyanese and my father in law came to visit. I decided to impress them both by making this bread.it was a surprise visit so there was no time for me to practice this first. When it came out the oven and I brushed it with butter they came to look before I covered it and they looked ready to eat it right then! We had bread with soup that evening ... but the next day when I woke up my father in law said, "I ate more bread, girl THAT BREAD IS GOOD!" I was so happy I almost cried! Thank you very much! Going to do the chicken curry recipe tonight!
I love the Anonymous people
I cant really find powder milk here, so I was wondering how much liquid milk can I substitute?
I love the Anonymous people
Thank you for all these wonderful recipes. My kids and husband love plait bread and thanks to your recipe I can make it anytime 🙂
you are my go-to person for recip
I started making bread for Christmas after I got married two years ago for my husband's pepper pot. The "revised" recipe is much better than the original recipe in my opinion. The only change I made was using bread flour instead of all purpose. For some reason, for me, bread flour yielded the perfect texture at the right baking time.
Hi Samantha, thanks for your comment. It's because bread flour has more protein in it, so it yields a stiffer, chewier texture in baked goods/breads. Glad you enjoyed the revised version :).
I've made your plait bread recipes a few times (both delicious versions) as plait bread and into balls for pepperpot.
I plan on inviting family over for Christmas breakfast and I would like to know how to triple this recipe?
I will be trying this recipe and would like to know what is the right speed to use with my dough hook and how long should it be kneaded. Should I use the same speed for the 1st and second the same.
Should I place the wet ingredients first in the mixer.
Thank you for the recipe. I made this bread twice and followed this recipe as instructed. The first batch was o.k. but was very heavy with all purpose flour. The second batch turned out o.k. with the unbleached flour. I was so excited when the bread was finish baking it was high and fluffy, I left it to cool and it went flat but still soft. I proofed it for 1 hour in a cool oven . The perfectionist I am I will be happy if my bread stays a little fluffier like the ones in the bakery. I do use a gas range and use the bake cycle not the convection bake. Any advice.
Tried this bread twice tonight...love the taste, but I'm having some trouble. I knead the dough in the stand mixer with a dough hook, first rise is good, knead by hand after deflating, plait the dough for second rise, second rise is good.
For the first loaf, I accidentally baked it at 325...and it deflated after it came out of the oven at 27 min...realized it was kind of under done and tried again.
Second loaf, same method, but baked for 25 min at 350. and again it's flattening out. I did the second rise for about 40 min...not sure how to fix it...any tips?
A few details I should add...I used Robin Hood Best for bread flour, did a cool rise for both proofs. I'm thinking of maybe reducing the amount of water...I used 1 1/4 cups water and 3 1/4 cups flour. Maybe reducing water to 1 cup? And maybe baking in a smaller vessel...i used a 9x13, but maybe something smaller to force it upwards?
Hi, I made this favourite plait bread and it looks and tastes amazing. This recipe is perfect. Thank you, I will try your other recipes as well!!!
Hi Alicia. Haven't had plait bread since living in ny and buying it! Tried the recipe the taste brought me back and I ate the first loaf ofc but the only problem I had was that I didn't braid it tight enough and even so the other pieces didn't break apart with that beautiful bread shards it more so crumbled? Can you tell me why before I make the recipe again? Thanks so much!
Hi Alicia, I made your bread. And it was delicious. My husband and son was really impressed. My husband wanted to share with his friends but I had to say no...its for my son. He loves Guyana bread.
I was worried about baking a whole bread since this is my first time. I love your instructions and the added hints worked very well. So, I made tennis rolls with the recipe instead of a whole big bread. And it came out so great....i am supper baker now.?
So with the holiday season in full swing and my brilliant decision to host the family's Christmas breakfast, I needed a bread recipe. Tried this, was terrified during the entire process, until it came time to taste. This was delicious, light and fluffy and though I took it out before it got too brown, it still looked beautiful! Wish I could have posted the pictures. Question, can I make dinner rolls with the recipe?
That's awesome. Bread can be daunting, but I'm glad you were successful! You can certainly make rolls. You can weigh each piece of dough to ensure their all the same size. Place them next to each other in a pan so they touch. After the second rise, follow directions for baking. Enjoy!
Hi Alicia good morning I tried the recipe it was delic the only problem is after the second rise the plait started to separate . guess it rise a little longer
Hi Christine, it could be that it needs to knead a little more to make the dough stronger. Baking bread takes so much patience. You could also put the dough into a loaf pan if you like.
Would this be the same recipe for Tennis Rolls?
Or is that a different recipe?
Hi, some people have used this recipe to make tennis rolls, but that is a different recipe. The dough is flavored differently. Add a drop of lemon essence and a little more sugar to the dough for the tennis roll flavor.