I’ve always been funny about coconut. I’m not a picky eater, but I have decisive opinions about different products derived from this fruit. Coconut milk? I love it in food. Coconut water? Only from fresh coconuts, and the big green ones at that, not the hairy brown ones. Desiccated coconut? Disgusting. It’s the texture I can’t get past.
Having said that, I love pan de coco (coconut bread), which comes from the north coast of Honduras. It is made with coconut milk as the liquid to bind the dry ingredients, together with an egg. It is soft and rich and full of flavour. I’ve been craving some ever since the Independence Day celebrations in September organised by the Honduran embassy here in London.
Having found a recipe here and seeing how simple it was, there was no way I could delay making some. I chose that recipe for its smaller yield and measurements in the metric system. Here is the English version of the recipe :
453g strong flour
5g dry yeast
20ml water (to dissolve the yeast in)
260ml coconut milk (you might need a bit more if mixture is too dry)
Dissolve the yeast in the water and one tablespoon of flour, mix and let rest until foamy (about 15-20 minutes). Mix all the ingredients (except for the butter) until they come together. Add the butter and knead until the dough becomes soft and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and let rest until it has doubled in volume, about an hour.
Divide the dough in equal portions, shape into rolls and let rest a further 15 min. Place rolls on a baking tray, leaving some space between them.
Bake at 175 °C for 30 min (or until golden brown). Once baked place rolls on a rack to cool.
The rolls, while a bit dense and of closed texture, looked and tasted as they should. A couple got stuck to the tray (I ran out of baking paper), but no big deal. I think I might have also overworked the dough as I shaped them into rolls, so 15 min wasn’t enough to let the dough relax before baking. Seeing how easy they were to make, I’m definitely trying again (until I get them right)!