Traditional coco bread is a wonderful creation. It’s a rich, thick bread or sandwich roll usually served stuffed with Caribbean favorites like Jamaican beef patties or jerk meats. It’s crusty on the outside and uber-soft and starchy on the inside. It has the texture of a dense challah and a slightly-sweet rich flavor that makes you instantly want to make french toast. It’s a blast of white flour in a really good way.
We discovered coco bread on our recent trip to Turks and Caicos when we ate (multiple times) at Chinson’s Grill Shack.
I know what you are thinking; Chinese and Jamaican food AND a Bakery…that’s BRILLIANT, and it is! We enjoyed their Jamaican food two nights and the coco bread those nights plus several more mornings (I still have a few rolls in my freezer right now). The rolls were massive; big enough to slice into four small sandwich bread slices. Chinson’s also sold the bread in loaf form which made perfect french-toast.
Traditional Jamaican coco bread is usually rolled into flat rounds then brushed with butter, folded over and baked, forming the perfect pocket to hold a meat patty. Chinson’s Grill Shack did not make its coco bread this way, and I fell in love with the bread and rolls so much that I’ve kept my version like Chinson’s.
Any bread as full of white flour as this one, immediately makes me think of the best way to transform it into a whole-grain version. I use spelt flour because it is a soft flour, but you could use white whole wheat here too. Taking a cue from the whole-grain baking class which I took at King Arthur Baking Education Center last summer, I added a touch of orange juice to balance the flavors. If you are looking to make the traditionally shaped pocket-style sandwich bread, you can follow the instructions on the Cook Like A Jamacian blog post on making traditional style coco bread (steps 10-12).
I made a loaf of coco bread similar to the bread at Chinson’s where it is not allowed to rise very much creating a dense sweet bread. I also made light and airy rolls that doubled in size during their second rise. These rolls were just about the best whole wheat dinner roll I’ve ever had. Rich and lightly sweet, they are the perfect accompaniment to any meal, and leftovers make the best breakfast the following morning. Either way, this non-traditional coco bread is delicious and full of whole grain. Enjoy!