Having recently come back from Honduras I am still full of memories and want to share a little. Our son Leo who is there for a year’s of voluntary work teaching English was very impressed with their coconut bread, a sweet roll. I tried to look up recipes, but found such a confusing array that I cose two in the end: one because it seems to resemble what we were tasting when on Roatan; and the other (first) because it comes with a bit of description of the culture but seems very ifferent from what we experienced in terms of the bread. I did not know that there was a language called ‘Garifuna’ and a whole culture with their own dances and a very remarkable history. Too much for a recipe here but I would encourage you to look it up if you have the time. The Garifuna people are just one of several ingredients that make up the cultural mix of Roatan, remarkable for such a small island, and even more so because it is there in original form.
Central America – Garifuna Coconut Bread
The Garinagu (singular Garifuna) are an ethnic group of mixed ancestry who live primarily in Central America. They live along the Caribbean Coast in Belize, Guatemala, St. Vincent, Nicaragua and Honduras including the mainland, and on the island of Roatán. There are many variations of this delicious bread served in hotels and haciendas in Honduras and Central American Caribbean coastal regions.
1 Tablespoon dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups flour
1 cup warm coconut milk
2 Tablespoons corn oil or coconut oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, well beaten
1 Tablespoon butter, melted (to brush dough)
1 egg white, well beaten (to brush on tops)
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a measuring cup or small bowl and stir slightly to dissolve. Sprinkle with the sugar, stir, and let stand for 5 minutes.
Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in its center. Pour into this well the remaining ingredients except the melted butter and egg white. Pour the yeast water over all. Blend thoroughly, then knead on a floured board or surface to make a moderately stiff dough. Shape into a smooth ball and place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rest for about an hour in a warm place until it doubles in size. Punch down dough and divide in half. Roll each half on the floured board to make TWO 12 X 8-inch rectangles. Brush with melted butter
Combine the following ingredients for the filling, and let them stand at room temperature for an hour before using. The bread dough will also rise again during this time.
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
Blend these ingredients well and divide in half. Sprinkle generously over each “buttered” rectangle of dough. Carefully roll up the filled dough lengthwise. Smooth and seal edges.
Cover with a warm, moist towel and allow to rest and rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 1 hour.
Finally, brush the tops and sides of the dough rolls with the beaten egg white.
Bake in a preheated oven on a lightly greased bread sheet for 20 to 30 minutes at 350º F. Cool slightly and serve hot, plain or with a coconut butter or guacamole. Makes 2 loaves.
Another recipe more like what I experienced in the form of rolls is the following:
Leo, on Michael’s shoulders getting a coconut from a tree.
- 3 pounds or 6 cups of flour
- 3 coconuts (If you don’t want to make coconut milk by hand, you can use 2 cups of canned coconut milk.)
- A handful of yeast
- 1 stick of margarine (113g)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- First shred the coconut, and then add a little water. (If using canned coconut milk, proceed to step 3.)
- Place the shredded coconut into a colander or cheese cloth and squeeze coconut milk into a separate bowl. Discard drained coconut, or use in another recipe.
- Add flour, margarine, salt, sugar and yeast to the coconut milk.
- Fold all of the ingredients together until you form a soft dough. Let dough rest for 15 minutes.
- Cut small pieces of dough and make little balls. Put on baking sheet or in a pan,
- Cover the balls of dough with a tablecloth and allow dough to rise in the warmest place of the home (around 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Finally, place the pan inside the oven, preheated to 375 degrees for about 20 to 30 minutes.