Bammy is a Jamaican cassava bread that is traditionally served at breakfast or for supper as a side dish paired with fish. It is basically like a slightly plumped up flat bread that is crisp on the outside and “pancake-like” on the inside.
I first tried Bammy when I visited Jamaica in 2006. I fell in love. I ate it almost every morning with freshly caught fish. While the ingredient list is simple, the flavors are anything but! It pairs well with just about anything and it tastes great all on its own or with a little cinnamon butter.
In Jamaica, Bammy is made with freshly grated cassava root.
The cassava root has to be prepared specially, since in raw form it can contain some cyanide. The root is normally grated and rinsed at least once. It is then usually dried and salted.
While this method is doable, it takes a lot of time and there is a much easier way to create Bammy using Cassava flour. The flavor and texture of Bammy bread won’t change a bit by using Cassava flour.
What I love about bread-making with Cassava flour, and specifically this one from Otto’s Naturals, is the texture. Seriously. I have been gluten and grain free for YEARS and trust me when I say that there is no comparison between baking with Cassava flour and baking with a nut flour, coconut flour, or any other more well-known alternative flour. Cassava flour out bakes the competition every single time. The results are consistently perfect.
Cassava flour is also chalk full of fiber and has quite a bit of calcium. This makes me happy since I am always looking to bake things that pack a nourishing punch.
Before we get to the recipe, I need to share a wee bit about WHY I personally use, love, and recommend the Otto’s Natural brand of Cassava flour. It is not the only brand I have tried so please know that I have compared brands and honestly think Otto’s is the bees knees and more.
First, other cassava flours begin as cassava peeled by hand and fermented in the sun. Fermentation is not a bad thing, but it adds a considerably sour flavor and smell to the flour. Sun drying is impossible to regulate and leads to varying levels of humidity in the flour that can then lead to mold. (And for a mold related illness sufferer like me, that is bad news). The smell and taste of sun-dried cassava flour is often described as “sour”, “fermented”, or “musty”. Not so of Otto’s Cassava Flour. It is thoroughly peeled, dried, and ground into wonderfully consistent, delicious flour that you can count on cup after cup.
The key there is “count on cup after cup.” I have had nothing but consistent results with the Otto’s brand. In trying out other brands of Cassava flour, I found that my recipes would work the first time and then flop the next. After careful analysis, I determined that each bag of cassava flour produced a slightly different result. This was because the taste and texture was not consistent. When I put Otto’s to the test, it never failed.
This is why I am sharing this Jamaican Bammy recipe specifically. As a simple recipe, it really was the perfect one to test out my Cassava flour theory. I have lot of other Cassava recipe goodness lined up so never fear! More complex recipes are forthcoming.
In the meantime, why not give this Jamaican staple a try. I bet you get hooked! And be sure to give careful consideration to trying the “optional” step at the end of the recipe. It will rock your socks!
Yield 6 servings
Love Jamaican food? Love simplicity? Then this Jamaican bammy recipe made with cassava flour will capture your heart...your stomach too!
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt.
- Slowly begin to mix in the water. Stop after you reach 1 ¼ cup and mix well. Add additional water as needed until you have a stiff dough. Stiff is the key. Not crumbling, not moist. Nice and stiff.
- Cover the bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Cut the dough into 6 equal portions.
- Sprinkle a cutting board with cassava flour and roll each portion of dough out until they are about 4 inch round and ½ inch thick.
- Heat a cast iron or stainless steel pan over medium heat.
- Add enough palm shortening to lightly grease the pan.
- Cook each round for 3-5 minutes per side. You want each side browned.
- Serve warm.
If you want to take this recipe a step further and give the Bammy some amazing added flavor (and make it more like a traditional Jamaican Bammy), take each cooked piece of Bammy and immediately soak it in coconut milk for 3 minutes. Refry it until lightly browned.