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Friday, April 8, 2011

Recipe! Whole Wheat Coconut Rolls

Coconut, like pumpkin, happens to be one of my food obsessions. I love it so much in so many different incarnations...perhaps most of all in curries...or ice creams...but the list hardly ends there. When I saw this coconut bread recipe on Whole Foods, I was completely enamored with the thought of it. However, it calls for white flour, and one of the reviewers said that replacing even one cup of the 3 1/2 with wheat flour made the rolls turn out badly.

Of course, baking with whole grains can be a bit of an art, and there's more than one type of whole grain flour, so I figured that I would give it a shot. For these rolls, I used whole wheat pastry flour. It's rather expensive compared to white whole wheat flour or regular graham flour, but when you need a white flour consistency? It's the only way to go. I found that the "more for kneading" was quite a bit more, so make sure that you have plenty of flour on hand.

Anyway, the dough rose beautifully and the rolls turned out gorgeous and delicious. We ate them with Cabbage-Leek "Latkes" and Coconut Curry Sauce and spread them with butter and honey. DELICIOUS!

Like most yeast breads, this takes a little bit of time. I would allow about three hours to prepare it, although only about half an hour of that is spent actually working with the rolls. The rest of it is rising time! Also I adjusted the cooking time from the original recipe; whole grain rolls seem to take a bit longer. Since no unsweetened coconut was available at my market, I used sweetened.


Whole Grain Coconut Rolls

1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 T sugar (or 1 1/2 agave nectar)
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, plus more for kneading
3/4 t salt
1 cup coconut milk
3 T butter OR non hydrogenated vegetable shortening, melted

1. Briefly mix coconut, water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl and set aside until it become swollen and bubbly, about fifteen minutes. While this mixture is sitting, mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.

2. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead until dough becomes elastic and soft (5-6 minutes). You will need to dust with additional flour frequently. Form a ball out of dough and dust all over with flour before transferring to a large, clean bowl. Cover bowl with a damp kitchen towel and set bowl in a warm place to rise about an hour and a half, or until dough is doubled.

3. Pull dough into eight pieces and form each piece into a ball. Place rolls on a cooking sheet on parchment about 3-4 inches apart. Set in a warm spot (uncovered) and leave to rise about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

4. During final rise, preheat oven to 350 F. Bake rolls until they are golden brown, 35-45 minutes. Serve fresh and warm with honey and butter, or just by themselves. 

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