In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Coconut Bake A Classic Caribbean Bread.


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.

You’ll Need…

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.

Oye! before you go… Remember you can watch the cooking videos on the recipe channel and we’d love to interact with you on our Facebook fan page. There’s a few thousand of us already causing commesse on there… so do check it out.

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  1. Michelle Christine Williams
    May 25, 2020 / 8:10 pm

    Can I substitute whole wheat flour instead of white flour??
    If so, please let me know if the measurements are the same and if it changes any other part in the recipe. 😊 P.S. I am new to CaribbeanPot, loving the recipes & now a devoted follower!…Thank You So Much!

  2. Kris
    June 12, 2018 / 9:56 am

    I have MS and I have found that eating a lot of carbs exacerbates my nerve pain. Can you substitute coconut flour for all purpose flour?

    • Shazurie
      May 20, 2020 / 1:49 pm

      You can substitute with spelt flour.

  3. Sheila SAmmy
    November 21, 2016 / 2:35 pm

    Tried this today. Great had it with fried starfish and tomatoes.

  4. Sheila SAmmy
    November 21, 2016 / 2:33 pm


    Did this bake today and came out great. Had it with fried starfish and tomatoes great

  5. March 22, 2016 / 10:40 am

    My husband is from the VI — I am thinking this is what they call dumb bread over there. I hope so because searching “dumb bread” on Google did not pull up many recipes! I found out about bakes while searching for a VI johnny cake recipe, and I am so glad! I would rather cook something in the oven than deal with hot grease. I am going to try this. If it tastes like the dumb bread that he grew up with, I think you will earn me some good wife points! The johnny cake will wait until I need some more.:)

    • tatiyanna
      May 4, 2016 / 8:39 am

      Hi JHeezy

      This is not dumb bread this is coconut bread but very similar to dumb bread. Dumb bread does not have coconut in it.

      • June 17, 2016 / 10:18 am

        Are you sure? Because the only dumb bread I’ve had while I was in the VI and that his mother sent from over there had coconut in it.

        • The nurse
          August 21, 2017 / 5:11 am

          Dumb bread in the VI can be made with or without coconut milk.

        • Precious
          April 8, 2019 / 8:36 am

          I am from St Thomas, USVI. It is the same as the dumb bread in the VI. It can be made with or without the grated coconuts but I have never eaten it without. It tastes great with a slice of cheese in the middle.

    • Arosa
      January 11, 2023 / 7:26 pm

      Jheezy, hello! I’m from the V. I., St. Thomas to be be exact, now living in Central NY State. Home our ‘Dumb bread’ doesn’t have coconut in it. Our Dumb bread is made basically the same way but without the spices. And it’s called Dumb bread because it’s so dense, like someone who’s “dense” in deh head, lol.

      Like we people say Home, “Bless up” to you and yours this New Year!
      Arosa Colón

  6. herms
    February 9, 2016 / 6:40 pm

    This recipe was great, I definitely tried it, and the bake came out soft and delicious. Definitely a keeper.

  7. Sherry
    May 16, 2015 / 5:00 pm

    Loving your bake. Really great with jam.

  8. April 17, 2015 / 12:26 pm

    Hello from London…….Me and my family moved to Trinidad ..We are from the island of Madeira,,,,so we became quite accustomed to the Trinidad cuisine quite quickly…..One of our regular meals we always had”bake ” and of course coconut bake” but it was never cooked in the oven,but on a iron stone that looks a bit like a griddle,,,it has turned over a number of times until it is cooked through….its a wonderful way to cook this type of bread………………p.s….why is it in all the recipes you people never ever mention the iron griddle for cooking this tasty bread……..Please explain yourself…..thanks Querino de Freitas…

    • Dee
      April 18, 2016 / 7:36 pm

      The iron stone you’re talking about is locally referred to a baking stone, which we use to cook roti and certain bakes. Coconut bake, however, is traditionally cooked in the oven.

      • Jacqueline Charles
        May 17, 2016 / 7:52 pm

        Hi Dee
        Traditionally coconut bake was baked in a big iron on outside stone fire. With fire below the pot and fireor coals on top a sheet place over the pot..know as fire on top and below. As time get modern and people shift away from the outdoor fire cooking some use the baking stone mainly the east Indian since it is already available to them in roti making, others started baking it in the oven. Baking in oven is the modern day way. The coal pot was also use with fire on top and below. I grew up with great grand parent so I experienced it first hand.

        • admin
          May 18, 2016 / 6:14 am

          My grand mother and mother did the fire on top and below. But in an iron dutchy pot.

  9. Fazia
    April 7, 2015 / 12:04 pm

    Hi, I wanted to know if I can use baking powder instead of the yeast and get the results.


  10. Lez
    April 2, 2015 / 7:22 am

    Hi Chris. Shalom and a very happy Easter to you. This Coconut Bake recipe is great, but can you post one where I can use whole wheat flour? I have tried adding whole wheat flour to this recipe and I realize I need your input. Blessings again to you and your family.

  11. My Info
    January 19, 2015 / 7:21 pm

    The coconut bake recipe was excellent

  12. Hyacinth
    January 13, 2015 / 9:01 am

    Thank u Chris and Happy New Year to you wish I could send you some Trinbago sunshine.
    Blessings to you and yours

    • admin
      January 13, 2015 / 10:53 am

      thanks! all the bets for 2015.. wish I could get some of that Trinbago sunshine right now

  13. scdeleon
    December 17, 2014 / 5:55 pm

    Chris you bad for years, thanks for the recipe. Coconut bake…yum, remember when I was a little boy eating mama’s bake.Thanks again.

  14. Carlene
    November 17, 2014 / 9:25 am

    I am going to try this recipe. I love anything coconut. I am using freshly grated coconut. Thanks for the recipe Chris. I love your cooking.

  15. August 6, 2014 / 5:30 pm

    So I did not want to wait for an answer and I made one batch and made another. This is one great coconut bake——had it with salt fish and avocado. Thank you Chris for taking me back in times.

  16. August 6, 2014 / 11:19 am

    I have been looking for a coconut bake recipe with yeast for a very long time since the only one my mom made was with baking powder. Thank you so much for this one. I would like to try it today but I have company and was wondering if I can double the recipe. Also, in my area we are expecting thunderstorms and coconut bake, salt fish and a cup of real chocolate tea sounds just fine to me. Thanks much for a speedy reply.

  17. Omar
    July 24, 2014 / 11:31 pm

    my motheris from Barbados and she called it Johnny bake. She used to bake it every saturday. Do I miss her and the bake.

  18. Shanice
    May 10, 2014 / 9:39 am

    Chris! Just tried this recipe with whole wheat flour and freshly grated coconut and it was also fabulous! Thank you so much!

  19. Sandra Carter
    May 7, 2014 / 3:33 pm

    Hey Chris:
    I know my weakness is bread and I tried this recipe anyway. It was perfect!!! dammit man.
    I have to work on my will power. Great recipe made salt fish to go with it.

  20. Delia Sookhoo
    April 21, 2014 / 12:24 pm

    Hey Chris!

    I use a combination of shortening, butter and a lil olive oil! A lil extra brown sugar and some whole wheat flour fresh out the oven with some butter!

  21. Desiree'
    February 8, 2014 / 12:20 pm

    Loved it, we enjoyed it with salt fish.

  22. Desiree'
    February 8, 2014 / 12:19 pm

    Loved it, we enjoined it with salt fish.

  23. February 1, 2014 / 10:50 am

    Trying this now. Too bad I didn’t read about warming the milk. I’m afraid mine didn’t raise well but I’ll try again. Serving with salted cod, lots of tomatoes and onion, with pimento, celery n a lil garlic!

  24. Angela
    December 8, 2013 / 7:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing this bake recipe! Just made it…….awesome.

  25. Beverly
    August 13, 2013 / 4:04 pm

    Hey Chris,

    Can use baking poweder instead of yeast? If so then how much would I use. I am allergic to yeast (i know right) so I have to watch what I am eating. But ah feeling for a piece ah bake!

  26. Monique
    June 21, 2013 / 2:08 pm

    Chris, Thanks a mil. This is the best coconut bake I have ever made. Really fluffy and nice. The only substitute I made was using a little more grated coconut.

  27. Paula
    June 10, 2013 / 5:28 pm

    Hi Chris

    Just tried this recipe and it is great. You really have to add some more liquid to it. However, did 3 1/2 cups of white flour and 1 cup wheat. Trying to be a bit health conscious. LOL

  28. Michelle
    April 27, 2013 / 1:18 am

    Hi Chris, thanks for the recipes! In this one you mention that it is not the original (Grand)mama recipe please share also how they make (made) it…
    Thx greetz Michelle

  29. Tony
    April 7, 2013 / 5:05 pm

    Thanks Chris,

    All your recipes are on point. Just made my bake and waiting for my salt fish, to mash it up. Thank you.


  30. shineka
    February 25, 2013 / 6:39 pm

    i love coconut bake and i wanted to know is it ok to use white sugar if not what kind of brown sugar light or dark

  31. Resha
    January 28, 2013 / 9:12 am

    I tried this……..and I am "BOSS" at making coconut bake now……Yippee!!!!

  32. Anna
    December 31, 2012 / 9:55 am

    Thank you for the wonderful recipes Chris. Happy New Year to you and your family and God bless.

  33. Amy
    October 11, 2012 / 10:16 am

    About to try this today… i will comment when its done

  34. uniqueDominicangrl
    July 14, 2012 / 7:20 pm

    Can't wait to try this one Chris…. Thanks

  35. Nicola
    June 19, 2012 / 3:01 pm

    Great Recipe…Thanks a million!!

  36. February 3, 2012 / 11:30 am

    I did a wholewheat version of it and posted it on FB. Thanks for posting it. I'm looking forward to supper tonight when we will enjoy it as a family.

  37. Guest
    January 5, 2012 / 6:10 pm

    I made this bread and it had a very bland taste, practically no taste at all to it. Is it supposed to taste that way. should it taste more like coconut?

    • Caro
      August 30, 2012 / 1:32 pm

      its just like a type of bread, you have to eat it with a filling. in trinidad we eat it with cheese and or butter but you can eat it with any type of savory or sweet filling that you prefer. its not really meant to be eaten alone.

    • sheldon
      October 14, 2012 / 12:23 pm

      Coconut Bake is meant to go with fillings but it should be tasty enough to be eaten on its own, I had the same issue, especially with the lack of coconut flavour, so I modified the recipe to get the taste I was used to. I punched up the salt to a full teaspoon, the sugar to two slightly rounded tablespoons, the grated coconut to 1&1/2 – 2 cups, and replaced 2 cups of white flour with whole wheat flour (optional, just my preference). For the coconut milk, instead of the canned version, I mixed in approx 2oz of "creamed coconut" (usually comes in red box in the grocery), with 1 cup warm water, it came out just like my Mom's. Thanks Chris, for all your great recipes.

  38. November 15, 2011 / 3:56 pm

    I like trying new recipes and LOVE bread. This looks like a great recipe to try. Thank you for sharing

  39. omar
    November 8, 2011 / 6:16 am

    chris can i make the dough lets say on saturday put it in the fridge and bake it the day after? or should it be baked immediately as shown above?

    • jumbieg
      November 11, 2011 / 1:51 pm

      I would try to stick to the recipe, simply because it can over-proof and this is just the way I know.

  40. October 5, 2011 / 11:14 am

    Hi Chris I always enjoy a hot slice of coconut bake anytime. It goes well with most sides. Thank you.

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  42. Tuty
    September 17, 2011 / 10:35 pm

    Chris, have you thought of using frozen grated coconut? It is easily found in the Asian market. Some are from the Philippines, some from Vietnam or Thailand. I've been using the frozen grated coconut in my Indonesian recipes because I can't be bothered with grating the coconut myself. LOL. Of course, nothing beats freshly grated coconut.

    • jumbieg
      November 11, 2011 / 1:52 pm

      Thanks for the tip. I'll have to give that a try.

      • JinelR
        December 9, 2012 / 5:32 pm

        I HATE grating coconut also. My good friend from Guyana told me that after cracking the coconut and removing the husk, slice the nut into thin pieces. Then put them ( use 1 hand full of the sliced coconut with the water) in a blender/food processor and add just enough water to make them blend. I use the "Crush Ice" option.

        Strain the water out of the blended coconut and reuse that same water to blend the other pieces of coconut.

        This does the job in less than half the time it would take to grate a whole coconut, and because it's so fast, I would do 2 or 3 coconuts at once and freeze the excess.
        The texture comes out the same as grating and you can keep the coconut milk/water for baking to keep it in your recipe…just adjust for any extra added liquids you would have had to put in your recipe.

        You gotta love your American/Caribbean friends for their tips on efficiency!

        P.S. Thank you ever so much for this website….You have brought back the Trini out of me 🙂

  43. Kay
    September 16, 2011 / 12:38 pm

    Yum! Fresh out the oven coconut bake is the best! Made some a couple weeks ago (different recipe) and just about demolished half of it in one sitting. Never tried it with yeast though, just baking powder. Will give it a go next time, see if it makes for a fluffier bake. And you're right, it is very hard to explain what a "bake" is to some folks, but flatbread sounds about right…

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