Yes it’s a bread, but we call it a bake. Just as the fry bake recipe I shared with you a while back, which isn’t really baked… we try our best to confuse the heck out of people with our food names. Walking into the house after school or on those days when in the rainy season it was customary to spend our evening playing football (soccer) in the muddy savanna down the road (I’m still a ball-hoe), and you would be hit with that lovely aroma of action taking place in the oven… immediate hunger would set in (even if you just raided someone’s mango tree).
If it was after football, you had to make sure and bathe before setting foot in the house and don’t ever let you mom see dry nashy skin.. so you had to grease down with baby oil or lotion… it’s amazing how fast we would go from pig to Sunday morning church clean. That fresh baked bread smell had a way of getting the best out of us. When it was coconut bake, it also meant timing it so as soon as it came out of the oven, you could have a piece with butter and/or cheese. I also recall our mom cooking a fry-dry curry shrimp to make sandwiches with the coconut bake. Good times!
Wanted to mention that though I can get dried coconut here if I look hard enough, I just didn’t feel like searching then grating etc, so I used dessicated coconut I found pre-packaged (Desiccated coconut is coconut meat which has been shredded or flaked and then dried to remove as much moisture as possible) at the grocery store. I would recommend (though I didn’t this time) soaking it in the coconut milk to add back some life to it.
This recipe is a bit different than my mom’s or grandmother .. who BTW used a coal pot to make her’s, but you’ll find great pleasure as you rip through a steaming hot piece of this coconut bake.
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour or bread flour
1/4 cup butter or shortening (i used shortening)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon quick acting yeast
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup freshly grated coconut (I used dessicated coconut)
If you’re using freshly grated coconut , start by prepping that or as in my case I started with the dough. This would be the first time using our new food processor for making dough, but feel free to use your hands if you not as lazy as I am. In the food processor (or bowl) place the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and the butter or shortening and work till you get a sort of crumbs texture. I gave the food processor a few pulses and it was ready for the next step.
I then added the grated coconut and gave it another pulse, then I started to add the coconut milk and make the actual dough. You may notice that you’ll need some additional liquid, if that is the case add some water. You’re looking for a smooth and firm dough. Since I used the food processor (about 3-5 minutes), I then removed it onto a floured surface and worked the dough until it was firm and smooth as I wanted.
The next step is to cut it evenly into two pieces and and work it into the shape of the ‘bake’. You’ll need to have a flour dusted surface and a rolling pin ready. I believe I got mine about 1 inch thick and about 10-12 inches in diameter. I then used a fork to prick the surface a bit (always saw my mom do that), placed it onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Which I covered with plastic wrap and allowed to rest for about 2 0 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 400F, then add the bakes (remove plastic wrap) on the cookie sheet and on the middle shelf for about 25-30 minutes or until they’re golden brown. You can always stick a toothpick in the center and if it comes our dry, it means the inside is fully cooked.
I forgot to mention that you should warm the coconut milk a bit before adding to the flour to make the dough. Day two would see us have slices of this with guava jam and tea for breakfast, before heading off to school… you felt as if you could take on the world when your belly was jam-packed with this lovey coconut bake.
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