Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Coconut Swirled Bread

Migraines really, really suck. I`m not sure if it`s because I`m getting older, but my migraines are becoming more frequent than in the past. They always last 6+ hours and the worst part about my migraines is that I can`t do anything.  Except, lay in bed in a fetal position, hoping they`ll go away. Haha. This wonderful post was delayed as a result of my terrible migraines today, so I`m sorry about that!

I might have started off this post with something terrible, but please do not let it hinder this recipe for you. I seriously LOVED this bread. When I visit Chinese bakeries, I really just can`t control myself. I practically grab everything! One bread that I always buy are coconut bread/buns.

It was my dad`s birthday several months ago and I wanted to bake something special for him. Last year, I attempted a Chinese sponge cake (which turned out so good, I could`ve eaten the whole thing myself...). This time, I wanted to bake some coconut bread. He`s a ginormous coconut lover. Thinking about it, I`m not sure why I wanted to make this, since he bakes these delicious coconut buns for us already...

I`ve mentioned before about how hesitant I am about yeast, but it was my dad`s birthday! I mustered up the courage and the loaves turned out fabulously. Seriously, I was in awe. It was my first attempt at baking Chinese bread. However, it was just so good, I was eating a slice for breakfast and a snack!

If you`ve never had this type of bread before, I highly recommend you try. It`s sweet and the swirl of shredded coconut throughout the bread is simply amazing. The bread is soft, while the top is slightly crunchy. Ahh, it just can`t be described! I guess, you just have to try it for yourself! :P

Yes, it is time-consuming, so you must plan accordingly. As with most yeast breads, this bread needs to rise several times before it goes in the oven. But, look at that glorious top!

Coconut Swirled Bread
Slightly Adapted: Clockwork Lemon | Yields: 2 (9x5 inch) Loaves| Level: Medium-Hard | Total Time:  about 4-5 hours | Print 

-          1 tablespoon instant yeast
-          1 tablespoon granulated sugar
-          1 2/3 cups coconut milk, warm
-          2 cups bread flour
-          2 large eggs
-          ¼ cup granulated sugar
-          1 ½ teaspoon salt
-          2 ½ cups bread flour
-          ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, sliced
Coconut Filling:
-          4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
-          1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
-          2 tablespoons granulated sugar
-          ¼ teaspoon salt
Egg Wash:
-          1 large egg
-          1 tablespoon milk

1.       Prepare 2 (two) 9x5 inch loaf pans: line with parchment paper, or grease well.  
2.       In a large bowl, with an electric mixer attachment, combine the yeast, sugar, warm coconut milk, and bread flour.  Once smooth, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in a draft free area until doubled in size (about 30 minutes).
3.       Once sponge has doubled in size: Using the paddle attachment, mix in the eggs, sugar, salt, and half the flour (so, 1 ¼ cup).
4.       Switch to the dough hook, add a third of the butter pieces and knead. Repeat with the remaining butter and kneading until all butter is combined.
5.       Gradually, add in the remaining flour until dough is smooth and silky (you might not have to use all of it).
6.       Transfer dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it double in size (about 90 minutes).
Coconut Filling:
7.       In a small bowl, combine the butter, shredded coconut, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
8.       Once dough has doubled in size: divide into two equal parts. Work with one at a time.
9.       On a clean work surface, roll out the dough to about 12 x 15 inches.
10.   Sprinkle half of the coconut filling evenly on top. Roll the dough, lengthwise (like a log), and pinch ends to seal.
11.   Repeat Steps 8-9 with the other dough.
12.   Using a sharp knife, starting about 1 inch from the top, cut a slit down the center of the each log.
13.   Braid the halves, by lifting the left over the right, then right over the left, until you reach the end. Pinch ends to seal.*
14.   Carefully transfer each loaf into a greased loaf pan.
15.   Cover each loaf with plastic wrap, and let it double in size (about 50-60 minutes).
16.   Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.
17.   Make the egg wash in a small bowl: whisk egg and milk together.
18.   When loaves double in size: brush tops with egg wash.
19.   Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. (You can cover top with foil if it browns too quickly.)
20.   Immediately brush tops with a little more egg wash.
21.   Allow bread to cool slightly before serving.

-          For some picture references: click here
-          Bread can be left, covered at room temperature.
-          If you are worried about the uncooked eggs, do you not have to brush the tops with more egg wash after bread is done baking. This is done to create a shinier surface when bread cools. However, it's not completely necessary.