Sunday, March 13, 2016

Bajan Sweet Bread

This particular recipe I found tasty and interesting. Some of the instructions were a little vague, but I would like to think that it was due to the fact the person made this hundreds of times since it is a traditional recipe. Based on that, I have changed up the method as well as the ingredient list to help improve upon the recipe.

One of the things I am aware of when creating any kind of dough is that texture can be altered by how much you work with the dough. Over working dough can change cut out cookies from crisp to tough. Regarding this particular bread, if not kneaded it is very crumbly. The more you knead it, the firmer it becomes.

My loaf resulted in a crumbly texture, however, it had a wonderful flavor. The combo of brown sugar, nutmeg and coconut is worth trying and is sure to be remembered after you take one bite.

Before we get started, note that this recipe makes three 8 inch loaves.

Bajan Sweet Bread
adapted from Just Bajan

1 grated coconut or 3 cups unsweetened coconut
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups butter
1/4 cup shortening
4 cups or 2 lbs self rising flour
2 cups or 1 lb brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped nuts or chopped glace cherries or raisins (optional)

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp coconut extract
2 tbs water

Grease the interior of 3 loaf pans and line 2 sides and bottom with parchment paper, leaving overhang on the sides.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Start by making the filling. Fill a saucepan with sugar, coconut extract and water and place over medium heat. Add the coconut and stir. Let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. This is in order to make the coconut more tender. Remove from heat and let cool. 

The next step in making the bread is to cream the butter and shortening together in a large bowl.  Once smooth, beat in the brown sugar, scraping down sides occasionally, until completely blended into the butter mixture.

Fill a small bowl with the milk and stir in the vanilla. Also, using a separate bowl, sift the flour, salt and nutmeg together.

 Using a wooden spoon, mix in one cup of the sifted ingredients into the sugar/butter mixture. Then blend in 1/2 of the liquid. Next, mix in 2 cups of the flour. Add the rest of the liquid and fold in until no liquid remains. Pour in the remaining sifted ingredients and blend until all binds with the dough. Lastly, if you are using the add in options of nuts or fruit, fold into the dough. The dough will be heavy, like cookie dough, so you may choose to mix with clean hands.

At this point, you will need to decide if you want a firm type of bread or crumbly. The recipe recommends kneading it for about 2-3 minutes.

Then divide dough into 6 even pieces. Place 1 piece in the bottom of each prepared pan and smooth out evenly, making a bottom layer. After each loaf pan contains a bottom layer of dough, empty saucepan of coconut filling into a sieve and drain off any liquid. Divide the filling into 3 equal amounts and spoon an equal amount of filling in a thin line, lengthwise, down the center of the dough. Then put remaining dough on top, smoothing out evenly.

Bake for about 30-45 minutes until the center comes out clean.

Tips and Notes:

1. The dough was very heavy to work with, not like regular dough. If there was to be a next time on this recipe, I would experiment by making the dough into cake-like cookies instead of loaf bread.

2. I love coconut so I doubled the filling ingredients. If you choose to do this, be aware that it may cause some sinking in the middle.

3. I did knead the dough to keep it from being crumbly and it did not help. Perhaps adding more liquid would be beneficial. This recipe just said add liquid until dough is formed. There were not any measurements given, it was not even listed on the ingredient list. The recipe however states use milk, coconut water or regular water.
                                **LAST YEAR: Celtic Celebration Cake**