Choco Pan de Coco
Bryan Ford grew up in New Orleans, eating delicious, dense little pan de coco buns from the Honduran bodegas around town. But as a professional baker, he revisited the bread, using a sourdough starter to add dimension and texture, and even adding cocoa and chocolate chips to sweeten it up. In his cookbook, “New World Sourdough” (Quarry Books, 2020), he calls this version choco pan de coco. The key, according to Mr. Ford, is to bake with love and to celebrate the bread you make — not to compare your own bread to the one in the picture.
- Serves: 1 person
- 2ounces/60 grams mature sourdough starter
- ¾cup plus 2 tablespoons/120 grams bread flour
- ½cup/110 milliliters warm water
- ¾cup plus 2 tablespoons/200 milliliters canned coconut milk
- 7ounces/200 grams levain (about 1 generous cup)
- 1 ¾cups/225 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 ⅔cups/225 grams bread flour
- 1 ⅔cups/125 grams unsweetened shredded coconut
- Scant 1/3 cup/50 grams bittersweet chocolate chips
- ¼cup/25 grams Dutch process cocoa powder
- 2tablespoons/30 grams softened unsalted butter or coconut oil, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing the pan
- 2tablespoons/30 grams light brown sugar
- 2teaspoons/10 grams kosher salt
Step 1Build the levain: In a large bowl, mix the mature sourdough starter, flour and warm water until incorporated. Cover, and leave in a warm place for 3 to 4 hours, or until doubled in size. Use immediately, by going to Step 2, or refrigerate to use the next day.
Step 2Prepare the final dough: Combine the coconut milk and with a scant 1/2 cup/100 milliliters water, and warm gently in a pan over low heat or in the microwave until steaming. Transfer to a large bowl, and add 7 ounces/200 grams of levain, along with all the remaining dough ingredients. Using your hands, squeeze everything together. Turn out onto a clean work surface, and knead, using the palm of your hand to push the dough forward and your fingers to pull it back. Repeat until the dough is mostly smooth. Cover, and let ferment for 4 hours, then refrigerate for 12 hours.
Step 3Coat a loaf tin with 1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter, and set aside. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, divide into 6 pieces, and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Flatten the dough, fold the corners to the center and press down, then flip the dough to reveal a smooth surface, and tighten the dough into a ball by tucking the edges in with your palms.
Step 4Repeat with the remaining pieces, then place the pieces inside the tin, arranging in 2 rows of 3. Cover, and proof until dough rises by about a third, for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature.
Step 5To bake the bread, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 35 minutes, or until lightly brown and shiny on top, turning the pan once in the middle of cooking. Remove from the oven, let the bread rest in the hot pan for 20 minutes, then remove from the pan, and let cool for another 20 minutes.