Trinidad coconut bake is a favorite breakfast food on the islands.
It is fundamentally an easy-to-make bread that contains grated coconut meat and a little spice.
The coconut flavor permeates the entire bake and gives it a wonderful taste.
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Trini coconut bake ingredients
For this recipe, you will need:
- all purpose flour
- baking powder (optional)
- butter or cookeen
- brown or dried coconut
- warm water
If you do not have access to brown or dried coconuts, you can use store-bought shredded coconut. If the coconut flavor is not particularly strong in the shredded coconut, you can use coconut milk to knead the dough.
By the way, coconut bake isn’t the only popular breakfast food in Trinidad and Tobago. See what else we enjoy for breakfast on the islands.
How to make coconut bake in the oven
Here’s how I make my soft, homemade coconut bake.
Use fresh coconut meat if possible
Nothing beats a coconut bake made with fresh coconut meat. Its coconut taste is much stronger and flavorful.
So, look for brown coconuts in the farmers’ market, supermarket or neighborhood Asian and Caribbean stores. Shake them and listen for liquid sloshing around inside. Lots of sloshing means the coconut is good; no sloshing could mean the meat is moldy or rancid. Also, check the eyes (three sunken indents in the shell) of the coconut. There shouldn’t be any mold on them.
When you are ready to make the coconut bake, rinse the shell and hold the coconut in your non-dominant hand with the eyes pointing towards your fingers. Place a bowl underneath and use a hammer or the back of a cleaver to strike the coconut at the center. You will see a crack forming. Rotate the coconut and continue to strike it until it has completely cracked open. The liquid that flows out of the shell is coconut water and you can drink it.
Use a small paring knife or a coconut meat extractor (get any of these on Amazon) to remove the coconut meat. Insert the knife between the meat and the shell and move slowly, twisting slightly to pry the meat out.
With all the coconut meat removed, cut into small pieces (you can peel the brown skin on the back of the coconut if you like). Next, add to your blender or food processor with about two cups of warm water. Blend until the coconut meat has turned into fine particles.
Once it is nice and fine, add the yeast to the warm blended coconut and set aside to proof for about 15 minutes.
Alternatively, you can use store-bought shredded coconut in place of the coconut pieces in your blender. But, if the smell and flavor of the coconut are very mild, then add warmed coconut milk instead of warm water to the blender. Add the yeast after and set aside.
Mix dry ingredients
To a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Give everything a good mix.
Rub the softened butter into the dry ingredients. When you’re done, the ingredients should resemble a coarse mixture.
Mix in wet ingredients
Now, it’s time to add the blended coconut with the yeast to your dry ingredients. Keep a half cup of warm water on the side just in case you need a little extra liquid. Extra flour will come in handy too.
Knead everything together until a soft, smooth dough forms. This will take some time and a little elbow grease but you want to develop the gluten bonds in the dough.
Once you are happy with the smooth dough, cover it and leave to proof for about 30 minutes or so.
After the proofing time, remove the cover and punch down the dough. Divide it into two.
Roll each one out until it is three quarter of an inch thick. If you want the bake thinner, roll out til it is half an inch thick.
Place in a buttered tray or dish or cast iron pan. Poke holes in the top with a fork. These allow the gases to escape when baking.
Cover the bakes again and leave to rest for another fifteen minutes or so.
Bake in the oven
While you are waiting for that fifteen minutes to pass, preheat the oven at 400°F.
Once the resting time is over, place the coconut bakes in the oven for twenty to thirty minutes. The bakes are done when the top has browned and the center is cooked all the way through.
When they’re done, remove from the heat. You can brush the tops with melted butter at this point to keep the bakes soft and fluffy.
Cut into wedges or squares and serve hot with buljol, fried plantains, avocado, or anything else that goes well with coconut and bread.
Hot, homemade coconut bake with butter and cheese is a delicious comfort food in Trinidad and Tobago. It’s nostalgic and so, so good!
Soft Trinidad coconut bake recipe
Trinidad coconut bake recipe
- food processor or blender
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder (optional)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 cup cookeen or butter (softened)
- 1 brown coconut or 3/4 cup finely grated coconut meat
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- Crack open brown coconut. Remove the meat. Cut into pieces.
- Add warm water and brown coconut pieces to blender or food processor.
- Blend until relatively smooth.
- Add yeast to the blended coconut. Set aside to proof for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl – flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and nutmeg.
- Rub butter into the dry ingredients until it has a coarse texture.
- Add blended coconut and water to the dry ingredients.
- Knead to form a soft, smooth dough (about 5 to 10 minutes of kneading).
- Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Remove cover. Punch down.
- Divide dough into two.
- Roll out each dough ball until it is 3/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick (based on your preferences).
- Use a fork to poke holes in the dough (so it does not rise much while baking).
- Place in a buttered tray, baking dish, or cast iron pot.
- Cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven at 400°F.
- Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until a golden brown color develops on the top and the center is fully cooked.
- Remove from heat.
- Brush with melted butter (optional) and cut into wedges or squares.
- Slice in half and serve hot.
Trini coconut bake calories
If this recipe provides 16 servings, one serving of this Trini coconut bake will provide 180 Calories. The all purpose flour and the coconut meat are the main contributors to the calorie count.