Dilkush or Dilpasand is an enriched bread with a sweet surprise hidden inside. From the outside, it looks like a plain loaf of bread but as you cut into it the filling comes into view. The typical filling is made with coconut, sugar, candied or dried fruit, and cardamom. It is delicious and visually appealing. Egg Free
This is a nostalgia-inspired bread. The name, Dilkush or Dilpasand, loosely translated means something that makes you happy. These were very popular in the neighborhood bakeries of my childhood. The bread was soft and spongy and the filling sweet and colorful. How can that fail to entice a kid?
See how pretty it looks? Very plain on the outside and beautifully layered and spongy on the inside.
When these are baking in the oven the whole house fills with the warm, sweet aromas. It takes me back to the beaches, warm waters, and the coconut palms gently swaying in the breezes. Over the years these memories have inspired me to make many sweet buns and rolls. Fresh from the oven these buns are simply heaven!!!
South Indian Bakery Breads
Bread and other baked goods were kind of exotic in a land where home baking was not very common. You will find many recipes tracing their origin to the European colonists. Local bakers adapted these recipes and added their own interpretation, both in flavors and naming. This is one such treat.
The Bread Dough
The bread is made with a simple sweet dough. Use any milk bread dough here, but I like to bring out the flavors by infusing the dough with cardamom and coconut flavors. This dough when baked without filling creates a lovely coconut milk bread.
The recipe calls for a basic sweet dough and coconut filling. Freshly grated coconut mixed with a little sugar has just enough moisture to keep the light stuffing in place. Colorful candied fruit called tutti fruity or dried fruit add a splash of color.
If using dried or desiccated coconut, add a little softened butter/coconut to help the mix stay together.
The recipe is detailed, so I am not going to recap it here. Here are a few notes worth mentioning
- Make sure the yeast is active before using
- Use the highest protein flour you can find
- I have used dried cranberries in the filling. Chopped nuts and any other candied or dried fruit are good options.
- When fresh coconut isn’t available use thawed frozen grated or desiccated coconut (Notes in recipe)
- Keep the dough covered when not working with it.
- Add 1 Tsp warm water to 2Tbsp honey mix well and brush the top of the buns for an egg-free wash.
- 3 1/2 C Bread/ All Purpose Flour (400g)
- 3 Tbsp Butter (45 g)
- 1 tsp Salt (8g)
- 4 Tbsp Sugar (50g)
- 4 Tbsp Grated Coconut Fresh / Frozen
- 1 C Whole Milk (210 g)
- 1 pkt Active Dry Yeast (7-8g)
- 1 Pinch Cardamom Powder (1/8 Tsp)
- 1 1/2 C Grated Coconut Fresh / Frozen loosely packed
- 1/2 C Sugar (100g)
- 1/2 Tsp Cardamom Powder
- 3/4 C Raisins / Dried fruits
Egg Wash (Optional – See Notes)
- 1 Egg or 2tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp Water
- Warm 1/4 C milk (50 g) of milk to 100°F (warm to touch) and mix with 1 tsp of sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top and set it aside to bloom for 5 to 10 minutes. If the yeast mixture does not turn bubbly discard it and try with a new batch of yeast.
- 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. Start kneading while adding the remaining milk slowly as required. If the dough is too dry add a few more drops of milk and knead to make it more pliable. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic. Form the dough into a smooth ball and transfer it to an oiled bowl. Cover with a plastic wrap or a moist kitchen towel and set aside to double in size in a warm place.
- 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 them aside (see notes).
- Punch down the dough and divide it 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 onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Spread half the filling on the disk leaving about 1/2 ” to ¾ “from the sides uncovered. 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, gently pressing on the outer 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°C).
- Optional – Beat the egg with 1 Tbsp water well to make the egg wash. Brush the tops of the bread with egg wash.
- Transfer to the oven. Reduce temperature to 375°F (190°C) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops are 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.
- 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 .
Important: Nutrition Values are estimates. Actuals vary based on ingredients and serving size.