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 sweet.

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!

Cook Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
For the dough
  1. 7g/¼oz active dry yeast
  2. 240ml/8½ fl oz warm water
  3. 450g/16oz plain or bread flour
  4. 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
  5. ½ tsp salt
  6. 1 egg
  7. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
For the coconut sauce
  1. 200ml/7 fl oz tinned coconut milk (check the tin, mine was already diluted to 50% coconut milk, 50% water)
  2. 200ml/7 fl oz water (omit this if your coconut milk is already diluted)
  3. 100g/3½oz caster sugarHome-made panipopo ingredients
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For the dough
  1. In a measuring jug, stir the yeast into the warm water and leave for 10 minutes
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt
  3. In another measuring jug, lightly mix the egg and vegetable oil
  4. 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
  5. Empty out the dough on to a floured surface and knead for 10-20 minutes until smooth and elastic
  6. 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
  7. Grease a large, deep rectangular or round baking tin. Set aside
  8. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface
  9. Roll the dough into a long rectangle, roll it up and slice it into 2.5cm/1-inch or any even-sized rounds
  10. 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
  11. Wile the bread is proving, preheat the oven to 180ºC/375°F/Gas mark 4
For the coconut sauce
  1. In a large measuring jug, combine the coconut milk, water (if using) and sugar and stir until all the sugar has dissolved
  2. When the dough has doubled in size, pour the coconut sauce evenly over the dough
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top of the bread is has turned a golden brown
  4. Allow them to cool in the tin for at least an hour before serving
Adapted from
Adapted from
H is for Home Harbinger