I’ve been seeing recipes for panipopo sweeping by on my Pinterest feed for quite a while. I’ve never really stopped & clicked because I thought that the sweetened coconut bread would be too wet and sickly sweet.
How wrong I was! I’m glad I read some of the comments remarking on how delicious it is and how ex-pat islanders hanker after it when they’re away from home.
Panipopo (or pani-popo or pani popo) is a Polynesian bread originating from Samoa or Hawaii – depending on who you believe.
I thought that all that liquid would make for a soggy bread, but most of it is absorbed by the dough in cooking. The liquid that is left turns into a thick, unctuous, syrupy sauce. We weren’t sure what to eat it with – I chose to have it as it comes, dunking it in more of the sauce that I’d reserved. Justin went all adventurous and had his with a little bit of Cambozola… he reckons it’s a winner.
Here’s the recipe – why don’t you have a go? Let us know what you think!
- 7g/¼oz active dry yeast
- 240ml/8½ fl oz warm water
- 450g/16oz plain or bread flour
- 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 200ml/7 fl oz tinned coconut milk (check the tin, mine was already diluted to 50% coconut milk, 50% water)
- 200ml/7 fl oz water (omit this if your coconut milk is already diluted)
- 100g/3½oz caster sugar
- In a measuring jug, stir the yeast into the warm water and leave for 10 minutes
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt
- In another measuring jug, lightly mix the egg and vegetable oil
- Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. Combine well, adding a little more flour if the dough is too sticky
- Empty out the dough on to a floured surface and knead for 10-20 minutes until smooth and elastic
- Put the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover with cling film or put inside a large plastic bag. Leave in a warm place to prove until doubled in size
- Grease a large, deep rectangular or round baking tin. Set aside
- Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface
- Roll the dough into a long rectangle, roll it up and slice it into 2.5cm/1-inch or any even-sized rounds
- Put the rounds into the baking tin, cover with cling film or put into a large plastic bag and allow to prove until doubled in size
- Wile the bread is proving, preheat the oven to 180ºC/375°F/Gas mark 4
- In a large measuring jug, combine the coconut milk, water (if using) and sugar and stir until all the sugar has dissolved
- When the dough has doubled in size, pour the coconut sauce evenly over the dough
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top of the bread is has turned a golden brown
- Allow them to cool in the tin for at least an hour before serving
I’ve nicknamed these dinner rolls ‘express rolls’.
From start to finish they take 60 minutes or less to make.
What other people call them depends on where they are or where they’re from. To me, they’re bread rolls…
To people from ‘up north’ they’re barms, barm cakes or muffins.
If they were a bit wider and flatter they’d be oven bottoms or oven bottom muffins. If they had a crusty top they’d be cobs.
Other people may say nonsense to all those terms and call them baps or buns.
Whatever you chose to call them, they’re soft and delicious straight out of the oven.
They’re perfect little rolls for having with a bowl of soup, making an afternoon sandwich or as mini-burger buns.
It’s a foolproof way of speeding up the proving process that I’ll definitely use again in the future!
- 525g/18½oz bread flour
- 50g/1¾oz granulated sugar
- 1tbsp dry active yeast
- 1½tsp salt
- 175ml/6 fl oz water
- 155ml/5½ fl oz milk
- 60g/oz butter, diced
- 1½ tsp lemon juice
- 20g/oz butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 85ºC/180ºF/Gas mark ⅕
- In the bowl of an electric food mixer, gently combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt making a well in the centre
- Add the water, milk and butter to a medium-sized mixing bowl and heat in a microwave on high for about 1 minute
- Stir to partially melt butter and to make sure it's softened
- Pour the milk mixture into the well of the dry mixture and add the lemon juice
- Attach the dough hook before setting the mixer on low, gradually increasing to medium-low
- Mix for about 3-4 minutes until the dough is smooth & elastic
- Cover the bowl with cling film/Saran wrap and allow to rest for 5 minutes
- Grease a 30cm x 23cm (13" x 9") baking tin
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, shape into an evenly level square, about 20cm²
- Cut into 16 equal(ish) portions and shape into 15 balls, using the excess dough from the 16th piece to add to smaller rounds as needed
- Put the dough balls into the prepared baking tin
- Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the dough with water
- Put the tin in the oven, close the oven door and turn the oven off
- Allow the rolls to rise in the oven for 20 minutes
- Remove the rolls from the oven and preheat to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 5
- Bake in for 15 minutes until the tops have turned a golden brown
- Remove from the oven and brush the tops of the rolls with the melted butter
- Serve straight away or allow to cool before storing in a cool place in an airtight container