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.
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!
- 2 medium-sized red or brown onions, finely sliced
- knob of butter
- pinch of salt
- 450g/1lb sourdough starter (100% hydration)
- 175ml/6⅛fl oz water
- 450g/1lb strong white flour
- 7g/¼ salt
- On a medium heat, cook off the onions in the knob of butter adding a pinch of salt. Allow to brown before setting aside to cool
- Mix together the starter, water and salt
- Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the starter mixture
- Combine until everything is thoroughly mixed together and the dough begins to feel smooth
- Cover the mixing bowl and allow to sit for about an hour
- Fold the dough 8 times (8 single folds)
- Re-cover the mixing bowl and allow to sit for about 12 hours at room temperature or until the volume of dough doubles
- Turn out the dough out on to a lightly-floured work surface and stretch it out into a rectangle
- Spread the cooled caramelised onion mixture evenly on to the rectangle of dough
- With the short side facing you, fold the dough on to itself in four, equal lengths ensuring that the mixture runs throughout the dough
- Shape the filled dough into your preferred loaf shape (boule, batard, etc.) trying not to have any of the onion mixture poking through the top
- Place it into a well-floured (rice flour is preferred) proofing basket/banneton; cover and allow it to sit at room temperature for an hour or until doubled in size
- Preheat the oven to 260ºC/500ºF
- Once the dough is fully risen and the oven pre-heated, gently transfer the dough from the proofing basket to the baking tray, score the top of the loaf and bake at 260ºC/500ºF/Gas mark 10 for 10 minutes
- Turn the oven temperature down to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6 and bake for another 30 minutes
- Remove the loaf from the oven and put it on a wire rack to cool for at least an hour before slicing
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