Cakes & Bakes: Panipopo

Portion of home-made panipopo torn form the loaf | H is for Home

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.

Panipopo dough | H is for Home Risen panipopo dough | H is for Home

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.

Rolled & sliced panipopo dough | H is for Home Panipopo dough in a rectangular baking tin | H is for Home

Panipopo (or pani-popo or pani popo) is a Polynesian bread originating from Samoa or Hawaii – depending on who you believe.

Risen panipopo dough in a rectangular baking tin | H is for Home Pouring sweetened coconut milk on the risen panipopo dough | H is for Home

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.

Cooked panipopo on a oven cloth | H is for Home

Here’s the recipe – why don’t you have a go? Let us know what you think!

Caramelised onion sourdough loaf
Yields 1
Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
For the caramelised onions
  1. 2 medium-sized red or brown onions, finely sliced
  2. knob of butter
  3. pinch of salt
For the sourdough loaf
  1. 450g/1lb sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  2. 175ml/6⅛fl oz water
  3. 450g/1lb strong white flour
  4. 7g/¼ saltHome-made caramelised onion sourdough loaf ingredients
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For the caramelised onions
  1. 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
For the sourdough loaf
  1. Mix together the starter, water and salt
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the starter mixture
  3. Combine until everything is thoroughly mixed together and the dough begins to feel smooth
  4. Cover the mixing bowl and allow to sit for about an hour
  5. Fold the dough 8 times (8 single folds)
  6. Re-cover the mixing bowl and allow to sit for about 12 hours at room temperature or until the volume of dough doubles
  7. Turn out the dough out on to a lightly-floured work surface and stretch it out into a rectangle
  8. Spread the cooled caramelised onion mixture evenly on to the rectangle of dough
  9. With the short side facing you, fold the dough on to itself in four, equal lengths ensuring that the mixture runs throughout the dough
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. Preheat the oven to 260ºC/500ºF
  13. 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
  14. Turn the oven temperature down to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6 and bake for another 30 minutes
  15. Remove the loaf from the oven and put it on a wire rack to cool for at least an hour before slicing
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