A little ago I re-posted the recipe for pan de coco, the obscure recipe we dug up in some corner of Samana. While making the bread I wondered if I could try it with yeast as opposed to the baking soda in the original. As soon as it occurred to me I started my test.
I am glad to report that there were no explosions in our kitchen; better still, the bread turned out surprisingly good.
The original coconut bread is unleavened and pretty dense. That works nicely if you use it to accompany something with a lot of sauce, you just scoop it with the bread. I love bread-making, so for me adapting the recipe to make leavened bread was just a natural step.
Another advantage of making this bread with yeast is that, as with all leavened bread, you get a lot more bang for your buck, so to speak. While the same amount of ingredients yields four breads in the original recipe, it yields twice as much with the addition of yeast.
This is perfect to serve for breakfast; it tastes lovely with just butter or jam. Of course, you are free to experiment.
Something important to remember is that the success of this recipe depends on the quality and freshness of the yeast. Make sure you have fresh, good quality yeast. Unfortunately I have had spotty results with the local brand. Over a year ago I bought a brick of instant yeast online and I keep it refrigerated. It is still as good today as the first day.
Pan de Coco Levado Recipe (Leavened Coconut Bread Rolls)
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1/4 cup of lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour , sifted (more to work the dough)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup coconut flakes (optional)
- 1 egg
- Mix yeast, 1/3 cup lukewarm water and sugar. Stir to dissolve the yeast. Cover with a clean, dark cloth for 10 minutes. After this the mix should be foamy on top, otherwise your yeast is dead and you need to get fresh yeast.
- In the mixer bowl mix flour, coconut milk, salt and the yeast mixture. Knead for 10 minutes using the hook attachment. Remove the hook and cover the bowl a clean cloth until it doubles in volume (it may take 45 to 70 mins depending on a number of things, including ambient temperature and humidity).
- Pour the doubled dough on a floured surface and knead lightly to remove the excess bubbles (no more than a minute). Divide the dough into 12 portions and make into balls, sprinkle flour as it becomes necessary to prevent it from sticking too much to your hands and working surface. Sprinkle some flour on a baking sheet and place the balls on it.
- Let the balls rest covered with a clean cloth until they almost double in size (30 to 45 mins).
- Heat oven to 300ºF [150ºC].
- Make an egg wash by stirring the egg with a wire whisk. Paint the bread with the eggwash. Cover the top with the coconut flakes.
- Bake bread for 20 to 25 minutes (it should be a light golden brown outside). Remove from the oven and serve warm.