This bread is like a big, soft, fluffy pillow.
A pillow that smells very softly of coconut.
The past 6 months I’ve been going gangbusters with coconut oil in breads, muffins, and cookies. The flavor it imparts is subtle, yet it lends such a soft and moist texture to everything it touches.
For this bread, I paired coconut oil with rich, creamy coconut milk and am thrilled with the results. It’s adapted from Soft and Fluffy Sandwich Bread (vegan), which has been very popular with readers and is my husband’s all-time favorite bread.
And this one is my new favorite bread for toasting, making sandwiches with, or just nibbling on.
The good news and the bad news about this bread is that it doesn’t have much coconut flavor. If you’re a fan, you may wish for more intensity, and if you’re not into coconut, you’re totally safe. It’s usually shredded coconut, rather than coconut milk or oil, that has the pungent taste many people dislike. The bread is nothing like that.
The recipe makes one modest loaf, perfect for our family, and uses just two cups of flour for the entire loaf. When I read bread and roll recipes that begin with ‘Add 5 to 6 cups of flour’ I tune out.
Begin by warming the coconut milk, just until it begins to boil. Then, add the special ingredient that keeps the bread soft, chewy, and moist: oatmeal. You’d never know oatmeal was baked in and when mixing the dough, you’ll think there’s no way this whole cup of sloppy oatmeal is going to just disappear, but it magically does.
Let the oatmeal-coconut milk mixture cool to the proper temperature, about 15 minutes. I urge you to use a thermometer. You don’t want to add overly hot oatmeal to the yeast because you’ll kill it. Yet it has to be warm enough so the yeast activates. For me, this is in the 120 to 130F range because I use Red Star Platinum yeast. The brand of yeast used dictates the temperature.
Combine the oatmeal mixture with all-purpose flour, yeast, brown sugar, and coconut oil. My stand mixer kneaded for about 6 minutes, and if you’re kneading by hand, knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough comes together, adding as little additional flour as possible.
This is a fairly moist and sticky dough, but manageable. With bread-making, the less flour added, and the more you tolerate sticky dough, the lighter and fluffier the bread will be. Sure, I could have added another half-cup or more of flour, but refrained and dealt with the stickiness. And I have a light, fluffy loaf in return.
I used all-purpose flour because I wanted really soft and tender bread. Bread flour will produce a loaf that’s chewier. I don’t know how whole wheat flour would work. If you try it, I suggest not using more than 1 cup (50% of the total amount) for fear it won’t rise well, and will become very heavy and dense.
After kneading, place the dough into a greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size. Create a warm environment by preheating your oven for 1 to 2 minutes to 400F, then shutting it off. This creates a 90F-ish warm spot. Slide the bowl in and wait while the yeast works. Just make sure your oven is off.
After the dough has doubled, punch it down, turn it out onto a floured surface or Silpat and knead it for about 3 minutes.
This is my puffball after the first two-hour rise, before being punched down. You can see it’s glistening and loose, cues that the bread will turn out soft and fluffy.
With your fingers or a rolling pin, shape it into a 10-inch by 6-inch rectangle, just eyeball it. It’s being baked in an 8-inch pan and you want the long side slightly longer than the pan, so about 10 inches.
Starting with a long side, roll up the dough to form a tight cylinder. Tuck the ends in and place the cylinder in the pan. Cover it, and allow it to rise until doubled, 60 to 75 minutes. Optionally, when rolling it, sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, raisins, or dried fruit.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until domed, golden, and puffy. When tapped, it should sound hollow. Technically, the internal temperature should reach 210F, but I despise spearing pretty bread with the dagger-like thermometer probe, so I rarely do this unless I’m very uncertain. I usually rely on visual cues and tapping.
It’s so soft and fluffy, even without eggs and butter, and a great little vegan loaf. There’s a very slight chewiness, thanks to the oatmeal. But you definitely don’t think, oh there’s oatmeal in this. It’s a stealth operator.
The bread is moist and there’s a richness to the crumb that I attribute to the coconut milk and coconut oil. It’s slightly denser than this version of Sandwich Bread, which was made with water and canola oil.
It’s wonderful to eat plain, or with butter, jam, or a smear of Homemade Peanut Butter. Toast it, make French toast with it, make PB&Js for lunches with it, or put a basket of it on the dinner table and watch it disappear.
If you’ve not gotten on the coconut milk or oil train, please, hop on board.
This loaf lasted precisely 1 day.
For anyone who doesn't love coconut, there's almost no discernible coconut scent or taste. There's a very mild, overall sweet flavor, along with a slight nuttiness and chewiness from the oats. There's a richness and density to the crumb that I adore, making it one of my favorite breads. It's so soft, fluffy, tender, and moist, thanks to the coconut milk, coconut oil, and oatmeal that's kneaded right into the dough. Total time from start to finish is about 4 hours, most of which is downtime.
Yield: one 8-by-4-inch loaf
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Adapted from Soft and Fluffy Sandwich Bread (vegan)
Recipe from Averie Cooks. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.
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I’m linking this bread up to Lora the Cake Duchess’ #TwelveLoaves group
Do you have a favorite bread recipe? Do you like coconut milk or coconut oil? Do you cook or bake with it?
Please share recipe links to your favorites.