It was kind of exotic in a land where home baking never caught on. But the flavors were entirely familiar to the coast. When these are baking in thee oven the whole house gets filled with the warm, sweet aromas. It takes me back to the beaches, warm waters , and gentle breezes… Over the years these memories have inspired me to make many sweet buns and rolls. But nothing beats the original flavors . Fresh from the oven these buns are simply heaven !!!
The recipe calls for a basic sweet dough and coconut filling. Traditionally no binders were used in the filling. Freshly grated coconut mixed with a little sugar provides just enough moisture to keep the light stuffing in place. You might want to add a little softened butter/ coconut cream if using dried or desiccated coconut.
More often than not the bread dough will be a simple sweet dough, but I like to bring out the flavors more by infusing the dough with cardamom and coconut flavors.
The first step is to bloom the yeast . Heat 1/4 C milk till just warm to touch (110°F). Add 1 tsp sugar and mix well . Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it rest undisturbed for 5 to 10 minutes . A good quality yeast would have become active and bubbled vigorously by then . It should look similar to the picture above . Take a large mixing bowl and add the flour sugar , powdered cardamom , salt , 1/4 C grated coconut and softened butter . Mix well , make a hole in the center and add the activated yeast to it . Slowly add the milk to the flour and knead until all the flour comes together and forms a dough . It should not be too stiff. Knead gently until the the dough becomes soft and elastic , about 10 to 15 minutes . If the dough is sticky add a few more tablespoons of flour and knead to incorporate . If it is too dry add a few more drops of milk and knead to make it more pliable . Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with a plastic wrap or moist kitchen towel and set aside to double in a warm place.
While the dough is rising , prepare the filling . Mix the fresh grated coconut a sugar cardamom , and the dry fruits and nuts together . Here I have added dried cranberries for a burst of color . Chopped nuts , raisins , candied peel are all good options as well . Thawed frozen grated coconut can be substituted for fresh as well .Punch down the dough and turn it out to a lightly floured kneading surface . Cut into 4 equal parts form into 4 balls and return 3 of the pieces back into the bowl. Keep it covered.
Roll out one dough ball into a circle of about 8 in in diameter . Transfer the circle onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or lightly sprayed with oil . Spread half the filling evenly on it leaving about half an inch from the sides uncovered . Dip a pastry brush in water and lightly brush along the uncovered side . This is an optional step . Take another piece of the dough and roll out into a circle just a little bigger than the first and place on top of the first one as in the picture . Press along the sides for a tight seal . Cover with a plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm place until almost doubled about 30 to 45 minutes . Repeat with the other pieces.
Alternately the dough can be divided into 12 equal pieces . Flatten each piece into about 4 inch circles . Divide the filling into 12 equal portions . Place one portion of the filling in the center of the flattened circle and bring up the sides to close in the middle . Turn the ball upside down , place on the baking sheet and cover and let it rise till almost doubled . Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C ). Add 1 Tsp warm water to 2Tbsp honey mix well and brush the top of the buns (Egg Free Version). Transfer to the preheated oven and turn the heat down to 375°F (190°C) Bake 20 to 25 minutes until the tops golden brown . Remove from the oven , cool on the pan for 5 minutes . Transfer to a cooling rack .
- 400 g Bread/ All Purpose Flour (3 1/4 - 3 1/2 C)
- 45 g Butter (3 Tbsp)
- 8 g Salt (1 Tsp)
- 50 g Sugar (4 Tbsp)
- 30 g Grated Coconut Fresh / Frozen (4 Tbsp )
- 210 g Milk (About 1 C)
- 8 g Active Dry Yeast (1pkt / 2 1/4 Tsp)
- 1 Pinch Cardamom Powder (1/8 Tsp)
- 1 1/2 C Grated Coconut Fresh / Frozen loosely packed
- 100 g Sugar (1/2 C)
- 1/2 Tsp Cardamom Powder
- 3/4 C Raisins / Dried fruits
Egg Wash (Optional - See Notes)
- 1 Egg
- 1 Tbsp Water
- Warm 1/4 C milk (50 gms) of milk to 100°F (warm to touch) and mix with1tsp sugar . Sprinkle the yeast on top and set aside to bloom for 5 to 10 minutes .
- In a large mixing bowl take all the remaining ingredients for the bread dough , except the milk , and stir to combine . Make a well in the mixture and add the activated yeast as well as half the remaining milk .Knead to make a soft pliable dough , adding the remaining milk slowly as required.Knead for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic .Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl , cover and set aside to rise in a warm place till doubled (about 1 to 1.5 hrs).
- Mix the ingredients for the filling and set aside (See notes).
- Punch down the dough and divide into 4 equal pieces . (For buns see notes). Keep the dough covered .Roll a piece of dough into a disc of about 8" in diameter. Transfer the disc on to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Spread half the filling on the disk leaving about 1/2 " gap from the edges .Dip a pastry brush in water and brush uncovered portion .Roll out another piece of dough into a disc slightly bigger than the first one .Place over the first disc, pressing on the sides to seal .Cover with a plastic wrap or moist kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough . Set aside to proof until almost doubled.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°Beat the egg with 1 Tbsp water well to make the egg wash. Brush the tops of the bread with egg wash and transfer to the oven. Reduce temperature to 375°F (190°C) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes , until the tops are turn light brown.Remove from the oven .
- Cool in the tray for 5 minutes . Transfer to a cooling rack.Serve warm or cooled, if slicing wait for the bread to cool completely.
- If avoiding eggs use 2 tbsp honey mixed with 1 Tbsp hot water instead of egg wash.
- For buns - divide the dough into double the number of buns to make. Divide the filling equally into the number of buns and proceed as in the recipe.
Important: Values are only estimates. Actuals vary depending on ingredients and serving size.
- If you are using desiccated coconut for the filling , add about 3 Tbsp hot water and 1 tbsp butter/coconut cream to the filling mixture and mix well .
- This dough makes wonderful coconut buns – without the filling.
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