Coconut Bread — Pan de Coco

Coconut Bread

The cuisine of Mexico is built upon foods that originated in the New World: beans, corn, chile, tomatoes, avocados, squash, chocolate. These are some of the first foods of the first people of Mexico that still form the basis of the most common dishes of Mexico.

Coconut is thought to have been cultivated in Mexico when it was brought from the Philippines in the 16th. century. Even though it has been here for almost five hundred years, that is too recent for it to be ingrained in the Mexican food culture. This is a country whose civilization goes back to the Olmecs, who lived in Central Mexico as early as 200 B.C. Something that showed up only five hundred years ago does not rate as an established ingredient. It is too new.

For coconut bread to make an appearance in Mexico, wheat, another recent newcomer, had to be introduced. The final necessary element was the craft of baking, brought to Mexico by Spanish nuns. Coconut, wheat and baking. With all three present, coconut bread can happen in my kitchen in Mexico today. OK, I already knew how to bake, thanks to my European heritage and my American mom, but if I were a mexicana, I would be thanking the nuns right now.

Epicurious, a favorite recipe source, inspired my coconut bread, but I made a lot of changes: whole wheat flour, vanilla (another Mexican native), organic, unsweetened coconut instead of sweetened, coconut oil instead of butter. Epicurious describes this bread as being very crumbly and suggests waiting a day before slicing it. Right. Once the kitchen is bursting with the aroma of freshly baked coconut bread, we are going to wait twenty-four hours before we cut into it? There may be others stronger and more disciplined than we are. We went for warm coconut bread, crumbs and all.

Russ can always be counted on for a few interesting comments about whatever is set before him on our kitchen table. With an amazing palate and high culinary standards, he doesn’t mince words if something doesn’t measure up. When asked what he thought about the coconut bread, he said one word: good. And then he repeated it, mumbling because he had his mouth full. You get the idea. It is good. We spread warm slices with Walnutella, a new recipe still in development.

Coconut Bread makes one 9″ x 5″ loaf

  • 4 cups (10 oz./283 grams)  organic, unsweetened dried coconut
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz./113 grams) organic coconut oil, not melted
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 oz./100 grams)  plus 1 teaspoon organic sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup (.24 liters) organic milk
  • 2 cups (7 oz./200 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. (180 C.). Oil and flour a 9″ x 5″  (12.7 cm. x 23 cm.) bread pan.
  2. Grind 3 cups (7.5 oz./230 grams) of coconut into a fine meal in a food processor.
  3. Beat coconut oil and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated.
  5. Add milk and vanilla.
  6. In a large bowl, combine ground and unground coconut, flour, baking powder and salt.
  7. Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture until combined. Do not overmix.
  8. Spoon into loaf pan and smooth top.
  9. Sprinkle one teaspoon of sugar on top of batter, down the center of the loaf.
  10. Bake for 1 hour, or until  a toothpick inserted in center tests dry.
  11. Cool in pan for 15 minutes.
  12. Turn out of pan and set right-side-up on a  rack to cool for 2 hours.
  13. Slice into 1″ (2.54 cm.) thick slices to minimize crumbling.

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26 thoughts on “Coconut Bread — Pan de Coco

  1. Marv

    Your recipes are very interesting, great presentation. You’re providing a great service.
    I have not been able to find canned pumpkin in Bucerias for a muffin recipe that I bake in Minnesota. Any ideas where it would be available?

    1. Hi Marv,I sometimes see canned pumpkin in the imported food section at Walmart at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Maybe they still have some left. Also, I have been told there is a new store in downtown Puerto Vallarta, just across the river near where the old Rizzos used to be, that is totally imported food. Plus, Betos in Bucerias has imported canned foods. Good luck!

  2. Pingback: Coconut Chocolate Cake « Cooking in Mexico

  3. Not surprised you’ve got 21 comments for this post – I definitely have to try this recipe :p
    I never use white sugar for baking either, it isn’t good for you. Always golden or brown.

    Love your bright and cheerful photos, and your cooking stories…I can almost feel that Mexican sun.

  4. Your coconut bread looks wonderful. I’ve made coconut bread before, but now I want to try yours with the whole wheat flour! I also have to try that walnutella! I like your husbands response! :D

  5. Thanks for a great recipe. I made this tonight, only adapted them to a grain free version, using almond flour. Also substituted coconut sugar, and yogurt for milk. Very yummy!
    I enjoyed meeting you at the farmer’s market last month, and it was so nice to have some coconut products during our time there. The coconut skin cream was also really nice on skin that saw a little too much sun. :>

  6. lovely loaf, my hubby loves quick breads on sunday morning..walnutella..oh please share, lol
    have a great day!
    thanks for including great info on each post, I have learned so much!!

  7. Darlene

    Your photo makes my mouth water for coconut bread. Does the sugar over the batter before baking give it a crunchy taste? Looks terrific. Any left?

    1. The sugar adds a sweetness and sparkle to the crust. I sprinkled a strip of sugar down the center of the surface, so each slice had a sparkle on its crust. There is a little left, but it is going quickly. I had a slice with my morning coffee, while sitting on the patio watching a woodpecker work over some banana flowers. I had never seen a woodpecker do this before. Perhaps it is because everything is so dry and he is looking for a bit of nectar for moisture.

  8. Lorin Johnson

    This sounds wonderful! Can’t wait to try it. The walnutella sounds interesting as well. In Chinese medicine, the walnut is thought to be very good for the brain as it looks like a brain. Good rationale for spreading a nice thick gob on.

  9. Must have been quick bread day.
    Today I made banana walnut bread and after reading this, I wish I had put in a handful of the wonderful coconut from you guys. My recipe was very similar except I used buttermilk instead of milk; peanut oil instead of coconut oil and mace instead of vanilla. So I guess not THAT similar !! Nice on a cold snowy day. When this loaf is gone, perhaps by the weekend, I’ll make a coconut loaf and let you know how it turned out. Thanks for the great idea.

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