A “staple” of sorts that you’d find baking in many a Caribbean home is coconut bread a.k.a sweet bread. Not to be mistaken for any keto baked bread or meat dishes known as sweetbreads.
This bread is chocked full of grated coconut and most times, fruit such as raisins and/ or currants. People have also been known to put mixed peel and cherries in theirs but I usually keep it simple with just the raisins or no fruit at all.
There are so, so many ways of making this bread but I think this one produces a light, delicious crumb that makes it perfect for tea time. Or anytime for that matter! Another aspect of this recipe that you can personalise is the colour of the finished bread. Once it is finished and the skewer comes out clean, then it is done. I like my sweet bread “clear” i.e. a light golden colour. Other folks like theirs a deep golden colour and others still like theirs on a slightly “burnt” side.
So here we go. Here’s the recipe for a Caribbean sweet bread/ coconut bread (makes two loaves):
- Two 9×5 loaf pans
- One large mixing bowl
- Grater – if using fresh coconut
- Pastry blender or fork
- Kitchen food scale
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- Cooling rack
- 1.5 lbs flour all purpose
- 9 oz butter unsalted
- 9 oz sugar granulated
- 1 tsp nutmeg ground
- 1 tsp cinnamon ground
- 6 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups coconut gratered (fresh or frozen)
- 1/4 cup milk whole
- 1 egg beaten
- 2 tsp essence vanilla, mixed or almond
- 1/4 cup water as needed
- 1/2 cup dried fruit of choice e.g. raisins, currants, mixed peel, cherries
- 2 tbsp sugar brown
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour the pans.
- In a large bowl, using the pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles wet sand.
- Add the sugar, baking powder and spices and toss until well combined.
- Add the coconut and the dried fruit, remembering to toss the dried fruit with a little flour to ensure that they do not sink to the bottom of the baking tin when baking.
- In a separate small bowl, mix together the egg, milk and essence of choice.
- Pour egg/ milk/ essence mixture into the flour/ coconut/ fruit mixture.
- Form into a dough ball. The dough should not be too sticky nor should it be too dry. If the egg/ essence mixture is well combined and the dough still seems a little dry, add some water to the dough – one tablespoon at a time, until it comes together nicely.
- I like to use a scale to ensure that I put equal amounts of dough in each tin, but you can eyeball it.
- Make crisscross scores on the top of your loaves (totally optional) and then sprinkle on some brown sugar over the top.
- Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- I like mine a light golden brown colour, but you can let it go a few more minutes to get a deeper colour if desired. Note, however, the longer your loaves stay in the oven the drier they will become.
- When finished, allow to cool in their tins for five minutes before turning them out of the pans to cool completely on the cooling rack.
- Once cool, slice, serve and enjoy! EXCELLENT with a nice, hot cup of tea.
I hope you give it a try! Happy baking everyone!
Oh! And before I forget, I finally got a new oven!!!