Pan de coco (Coconut bread)

Pan de coco (Coconut bread)

Years ago, when Aunt Ilana travelled to Samaná so often that she was practically a resident, she came back from one of her trips with a culinary discovery. Starting now read this post in your head in the voice of Sir David Attenborough, go ahead, it’s very amusing.

Aunt Ilana’s great discovery? Pan de coco (coconut bread). This thick, unleavened bread was sold by street vendors in some remote campo of Samaná. Unfortunately, although she got to try it, she could not get the recipe for it.

Upon hearing the news I was very intrigued. With this as an excuse we set sail for Samaná. OK, we didn’t set sail, we just drove there.

Pan de coco (Coconut bread)

After a night of rest following the long trip (because of the many stops we made to sample the culinary treasures of the stunningly beautiful Samaná) next day I donned my safari outfit and we headed out for the wilderness in search of this most-elusive beast (read “we dressed in shorts and drove to the beach”).

Pan de coco (Coconut bread)

In Playa Rincón, one of the most stunning beaches I have ever seen, we met a lady who made her living from selling pan de coco (coconut bread).  We bought about half of what she was carrying, and after we offered her a ride back home – so she could avoid the long walk out of the secluded beach – I got a lesson on how to make Pan de Coco. Although I am confident she will not read this, I nevertheless would like to thank Franca in Playa Rincón, Samaná for sharing her recipe with us.

Aunt Clara
Pan de coco (Coconut bread)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 loaves
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ cup coconut flakes (optional)
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  1. Oil a baking tray. Pre-heat oven to 300 ºF (150 ºC)
  2. In a deep bowl mix flour, coconut milk, milk, salt and baking soda.
  3. Flour a clean surface.
  4. Cover your hands with some oil and knead the dough for about 5 minutes (it should be somewhat-shaggy, hence the oiled hands).
  5. Divide the dough into four portions and make into balls.
  6. On an oiled baking sheet flatten the balls into circles of approximately 6 inches in diameter.
  7. Cover the top with the coconut flakes.
  8. Bake bread for 10 to 15 minutes, pinch with a skewer in the center to check for doneness (it will still be pale).
  9. When the bread cools down to room temperature toast quickly but at a very high temperature to get the golden brown color on top.
The original recipe did not include the coconut crust on top, this is an experiment of mine that I ended up liking, as it adds another layer of texture to the bread. Take into consideration that, because it is unleavened, the bread is pretty "heavy", it is best served with fish or meat with a lot of sauce, as this is best used to scoop it and clean your plate.

I tried doing it both by hand and with the bread machine and both worked, but it is a lot easier with the bread machine (and quicker as it only needed about a minute of kneading).
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{ 18 comments… add one }

  • Claudia March 2, 2015, 9:13 AM

    Increíblemente bueno! y sabe pimpun al de Samaná. Mi familia y yo nos mudamos hace un año y cuando hice la receta para la cena con pescado fue un éxito!

    Gracias por los gratos recuerdos que nos trajo este pan.

  • leandra November 19, 2013, 12:40 PM

    me en canta hace cosas nueva y me en canta la receta de pan de coco

  • Jennifer October 22, 2013, 10:54 PM

    First off thank you for sharing this recipe. I have been craving this type of bread since July when I went on vacation and visited Samana. I tried the recipe tonight but it wasn’t as sweet as I remembered it being. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can alter it to make the bread tastes sweeter? Maybe more sugar? Or more coconut milk?

    Suggestions would be very much appreciated :) Thanks again!


    • Aunt Clara October 22, 2013, 11:34 PM

      The breads Ilana and I tried (on separate occasions) was not sweet. I don’t have the recipe for the sweet one, sorry. Perhaps you’d like to do some experimenting and report back? :)

  • Tara October 7, 2013, 2:57 PM

    These were wonderful! I love how quickly they came together.

  • Beth Saboe January 22, 2013, 2:46 PM


    My family just returned from the DR in early January, 2013. We were there to visit our son, Daniel, who is serving in the US Peace Corps in a village about 20 minutes from Cotui.

    While we were in Las Galeras, we took a boat out to Playa Rincon. There was a young woman who was mute who sold coconut bar squares to people on the beach. I’m glad we tried them…because they were chewy, and absolutely wonderful. Not too sweet! But, they are haunting me! I know she made them herself as we communicated by hand signals. She sold one square for 30 pesos. I was hoping you might know what these are! I imagine she made them with unsweetened, shredded coconut. I tried to bake some bars at home – and they were far too sweet.

    Another thing I really miss now is the “punch” which was more of a juice served near the breakfast bar at Hotel Hodelpa in Santo Domingo. I had thought it was a papaya juice, but someone in my group asked, and was told it was “punch.” Very refreshing, and no alcohol it. Would you happen to know what is in it? Deep papaya colored, however. I was thinking a juice blend perhaps. Really good stuff!

    During our time in the DR we also got to try homemade sancocho in Las Galeras, homemade fish in coconut sauce in Las Galeras, homemade potato salad (Russian style – wonder how that got to DR?) in Las Dos Palmas, arepas from Cotui area (sold roadside by young men), mangu, homemade on-con in Las Galeras, and coconut bread (pan de coco) from stores. Surprisingly, I had thought it would be sweet, but it wasn’t. We also bought a block of dulce de coco from Cotui. Rich and creamy, it tasted of coconut, baking soda and slightly sour milk. I’d like to reproduce it but downplay the baking soda and sour element to it. Nice and creamy like American fudge. I think the Cotui fudge was factory made.

    One thing I haven’t been able to find online is a recipe for pan de auyama. It was sold off a huge pan (like a deep dish pizza pan), and cut into pie-shaped wedges. Wrapped up for us. This was at the dock in Samana. Our van arrived to Samana about 9:00 AM from Las Galeras for a boat road out to Las Haitises Nat. Park. The lady was selling the goodies near the Samana dock entrance. The pan de auyama was a very thick, very moist, really deep colored. Both rich and lightly sweet. I was thinking the vender may have run the cake under a broiler as the top of it had scorch marks as you would see from very high heat (or, maybe it was baked in an horno). Are you familiar with this dish, by any chance? I was wondering what squash could be used instead of gem squash to make it? Or even pumpkin? In any event, it would have been great for breakfast with coffee! Awesome.

    We also had what I believe to gave been mofongo, but the version we had was not a well-prepared dish. It was the only food I disliked immediately. It was very thick, chick-pea colored…and remarkably dry, and w/o any seasoning or flavor that I could discern. We ate this at a home in Santo Domingo. It was at the home of the first host family with whom our son lodged.

    You may be interested, but a friend of our son’s, Ellen Abrams, has a website online with recipes she made up while serving in Peace Corps in the Cotui area. Her recipes are based upon the flavors, and what things are grown there. She had to leave that area due to security concerns on her person. They both have a two-year commitment, and were sworn in back in May. Many challenges for them both!

    I was surprised not to see more pineapple items being offered for sale. I was told that about 1,000,000 pineapple plants were just planted in Las Dos Palmas area. So, many things will changed. I know my son tried to make a pineapple smoothies one day in his new blender, but the freshly bought pineapple had fermented. I don’t think it helped matters any that he had powdered milk with which to make it. He did indicate his host family’s smoothies were way better than his. I told him to ask for their recipe. He would have to downsize their recipe.

    DR was an interesting, very beautiful country – esp. lovely beaches in Samana area, and mtns. as well. Warm, friendly people in our son’s village area. My son’s clean water project is gaining momentum, and I really hope he can help his villages. He’s to bring clean water to two villages who have so very little. Pipes were supposed to arrive today!

    I like your website, and hope I can try to reproduce some of the flavors.


    • Aunt Clara January 22, 2013, 5:52 PM

      Hi Beth, Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Some of these recipes may be original from the cook, as I have never heard of them, some are already in our Recipes section, try and go around a bit to see what you can find. Thanks to your son for his effort and contribution to our country. It is appreciated. I hope you visit again and get to see more of the country.

  • Giselle September 19, 2012, 3:51 PM

    OMG! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Ever since we camped in Playa Rincón a few years back, I’ve been trying to recreate that lady’s recipe of coconut bread! I’m pleased to see my recipe is not much different, although mine are more like coconut flavored pitas. I’m making these right now!

  • Adriana March 7, 2012, 5:55 AM

    They look so appetizing and are so easy to make. Thank you for sharing the recipe, I'll give them a go. Your photographs are amazing by the way.

  • Sour dough Bread Rec October 19, 2011, 8:37 PM

    I love coconut and going to try this now. It looks very tasty and hope I could made it in a right way :). Anyway thanks for sharing this.

  • Joyce Scaggs October 18, 2011, 5:42 PM

    I wished to copy this recipe and story but could not….

    my son was missionary to the Dominican for 4 yrs , i visited there and we went to beach of samana' where we bought and tasted the cocnut bread , it was wonderful and i have wanted the recipe , it seemed it had the texter of cornbread almost , is that the way of this recipe?

  • Josefina garcia June 14, 2011, 2:28 PM

    When visiting Samana, please try to get the recipe of "Pan de yautia amarilla con coco". I would love to try this recipe.


  • Jessica June 11, 2011, 5:08 PM

    Thank you for sharing this recipe; I had been looking for it for a while. I visited Samana in 2009 and with the help of a distant cousin that lived there, I made it to the la playa del rincon, which is absolutely stunning. He introduced me to the samana coconut bread; I loved it and had been looking for the recipe for a while; I will try making it tomorrow : ) : ) : )

  • Antonia Smith May 6, 2011, 7:41 AM

    This sounds good!

  • Aunt Clara April 27, 2011, 6:17 PM

    Thanks, Jessie. It was an error, fixed now.

  • Jessie April 27, 2011, 6:09 PM

    Sounds interesting….but what are the bell peppers for??

  • Elisa A April 26, 2011, 8:49 AM

    I think I will try this recipe this weekend. Will update you on the result.

    thanks for sharing