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