Friday, July 24, 2009

Hearty Coconut Bread . . . and, for variety, Coconut-Lime Bread with Sweet Lime Glaze

What does one do with a five-pound bag of large-shredded, unsweetened coconut? Unless you're planning to open a macaroon shop sometime soon, you probably have no business purchasing that much. Think about it bakers . . . five pounds is a lot of coconut. But when I bought it I couldn't help myself. Caught up in the moment, thrilled at the sight of this kind of coconut to begin with (only the sweet, moist, tiny-shredded stuff is ubiquitous around here), astounded at the price (less than $15.00 for the bag), and charmed by the lovely creamy color of the curly flakes . . . well, clearly it was inevitable. Maybe you would have done the same thing . . . ?

I know you're dying to ask where I obtained that moderately priced, pillow-sized bag of our favorite, indispensable, tropical staple, right? At Detroit's Eastern Market, of course. The "historic Eastern Market" (it's well over 110 years old), as it's affectionately termed, is the largest farmer's market in Michigan. Located just east of downtown Detroit, it's a relatively short drive from the small city where we live. To say that the Market is beautifully colorful is a profound understatement. It is vivid in every way--even the smells are wonderful. It's fertile territory for people watching, too, even if you're not really there to spend money. So much freshness everywhere you look--produce of every description, annuals and perennials, house plants, fresh cut flowers, unusual spices, poultry, fish and shellfish, sausages, cheeses, meats (and meat parts that you've probably never heard of and didn't know existed), nuts, dried fruits, breads, and bakery items. You name it, you can probably find it.

The morning we were there--my husband, younger son, and I--was gray and drizzly, but as the day worn on, the sun kindly appeared. I was on the hunt for really fresh patty-pan squash, along with some particular spices, and my husband hoped to find a five-pound hunk of uncured pork belly. Yes, yes, I said pork belly. Not a commonly stocked item at your neighborhood grocer, I know. In fact, I wouldn't recognize a pork belly if it sauntered into my living room with a book and curled up on the couch to read. Why does anyone want uncured pork belly, or any kind of belly for that matter? Well, Andy (the hubby), just bought a smoker. A smoker, in case you're among the uninitiated, is sort of like a barbecue grill that resembles a small black locomotive with a chimney stack. My husband wants to try and make his own bacon, among other things . . . he's adventurous that way . . . he's into charcuterie (pardon my French). So, now he's not just grillin', he's smokin' too. It'll be interesting to see what develops. (I'll keep you posted, should anything especially notable occur on that front.)

Forgive me, I digress. Back to the gigantic bag of coconut.

As you can imagine, I've been itching to use some of the flaky white stuff in a recipe and this morning I had my chance. After searching the last couple of days through cookbooks and food blogs for an enticing coconut bread recipe, the best candidate was turned up via the foodie website called Baking Bites. It comes from Bill Granger, an Australian celebrity chef who owns a restaurant where this bread is a mainstay. Word on the street is that they serve it thickly sliced, toasted, and generously buttered. It is, according to fans, to die for. That recommendation was good enough for me so I gave the recipe a whirl, and the results are in. It is very good. Fair warning though: The texture of the bread is substantive, hearty, and chewy. One slice is probably going to be plenty at one sitting, unless perhaps you're a linebacker or you're pregnant with twins. The flavor is really nice, with a slight cinnamon thread throughout. It's the kind of quick bread that can be sliced, wrapped in a napkin, tossed in a backpack or lunch-bag, and hauled out hours later still in one piece and still delicious.

Because the original recipe is so revered, I figured I'd better not fiddle with it the first time out, so I made one loaf almost exactly as indicated. Then, because you know I can't help myself when it comes to this kind of thing, I had to make another loaf with my own alterations. They are both good breads. I've listed the two recipe versions below. The second version--the Jane Version--contains the addition of lime juice, lime zest, coconut milk in place of some of the regular milk, less butter, and much less cinnamon than the original recipe. Also, my bread's version is glazed with a very light, thin, sweet lime glaze. Mmmmmm . . . yummy.



Bill Granger's Coconut Bread (very, very slightly Americanized as noted)

(For a printable version of this recipe, and the recipe below, click here!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease and flour a 9" x 5" loaf pan.

2 and 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup and 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar (original recipe lists caster sugar; I just used granulated)
2 cups sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut (I used unsweetened, large flake)
2 eggs, large
1 and 1/4 cups milk (I used 2%)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup butter, melted (I used unsalted)

In a large mixing bowl (don't use a mixer), whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and coconut

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, and vanilla extract.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture.

Stir just until combined and a few streak of flour remain.

Add in the melted butter and stir just until smooth. Don't overmix.

Pour into loaf pan and, if you like, sprinkle sugar over the top (I did this but it's not part of the original recipe). Bake for about 60 minutes (my loaves took maybe 50 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pans on a rack for about five minutes; turn out of pan and finish cooling on a rack.


Jane's Version: Coconut-Lime Bread with Sweet Lime Glaze

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease and flour a 9" x 5" loaf pan.

2 and 3/4 cups All Purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pinch cinnamon
1 cup and 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar (original recipe lists caster sugar; I just used granulated)
2 cups sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut (I used unsweetened, large flake)
2 tsp. fresh lime zest
2 eggs, large
2/3 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 cup butter, melted (I used unsalted)

For the glaze ingredients, below, measurements are approximate and you can adjust them to your own taste:
1/2 to 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. fresh lime zest


In a large mixing bowl (don't use a mixer), whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, lime zest, and coconut

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, coconut milk, regular milk, lime juice, and vanilla extract. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Stir just until combined and a few streaks of flour remain.

Add in the melted butter and stir just until smooth. Don't overmix.

Pour into loaf pan. Bake for about 60 minutes (my loaves took maybe 50 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pans on a rack for about five minutes; turn out of pan and finish cooling on a rack.

When the loaf is cool, mix about 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar with the 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, and 1 tsp. lime zest. Stir until smooth and any sugar lumps dissolve. If too thick, add more sugar; too thin, add more juice. Pour, in a thin stream, all over the top of the loaf; let it drip down the sides. Let the loaf sit uncovered for a while so the glaze can soak in. Store the loaf loosely covered once the glaze is no longer completely wet.

Below is a picture of the coconut-lime bread . . . it's yellower than the other loaf. . . looks delish, doesn't it? It smells pretty good too. It's shown here just out of the oven, without the glaze on.

So go ahead! Cut a little slice and try it out.

What do you think? Any thoughts to share?



(If you would like to comment on this post or read any existing comments, just click on the purple COMMENTS below!)

9 comments:

TINTIN said...

Hi Jane,

I love your blog!! All the recipes are very interesting and thanks for sharing it. I will find sometime to read them all. I wish you have a great weekend.

Jane said...

Thanks very much, Amy! That's so nice to hear.

:) Jane

Indigo said...

for a bargain like that, I would definitely not turn down a giant bag of coconut, haha! And neither would I turn down either of these - I'm especially a fan of the lime glaze; coconut and lime are so great together...!

Jane said...

Thanks Indigo-- Yeah, I really felt like I just couldn't pass up that huge bag, and nobody tried to talk me out of it (maybe they knew it would be impossible, so why try?)!

the twins said...

that looks so good, i love coconut!

cora said...

OK I hope this is good I have been looking for a coconut bread recipe. But as for coconut I love heating it out of the bag.

Lea said...

I tried it with the lime and it was divine! What luck that the first coconut bread recipe I found and tried was so amazing - thanks Jane!

Anonymous said...

I just made the coconut bread... wonderful!! Excellent recipe.. so glad I found it, Thank you

Anonymous said...

Jane, I like your recipe better than Bill's for coconut bread. It really is alot like coconut pound cake. I'm not partial to cinnamon with coconut so I will leave it out. Like the lime touch.

Barbie Girl