New World Sourdough: Choco Pan de Coco + Bagel Lessons

New World Sourdough is a 2020 cookbook by Bryan Ford. I will not be reproducing Ford’s recipes in my blog. Read his blog, buy his book, support his work.

Artisan Bryan’s signature recipe is his pan de coco, which I’ve made several times. The cover of New World Sourdough promises a pan de coco recipe, which seems slightly disingenuous since the recipe is for a chocolate-laced version. If someone has the book but for some reason cannot access the blog, the only real difference is the addition of cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and (inexplicably) 150% more shredded coconut.

portion of the cover of New World Sourdough. A black circle with white text that reads "with recipes for birote bagels pan de coco beignets & more"
The beignet recipe is also non-traditional.

Gearing Up

For this week’s edition of How Did QH Mess Up the Starter, I neglected to feed Bradley in the days leading up to D(ough)-Day. Nevertheless, Bradley had only been unfed for a couple days, so feeding him straight from the fridge to build the levain was sufficient.

Kitchen counter with all the ingredients laid out in bowls and other containers. A jar of starter sits on a kitchen scale.
Let the magic begin.

One loaf of choco pan de coco was intended as a birthday gift, so I (poorly) planned to make two loaves, which would require 400g of levain. In true QH fashion, I only made 288g and decided to use 275g. This meant I increased all the ingredients by 37.5%–the most normal alteration in the world. This would not be the first time my feeble algebra skills would be tested this bake.

handwritten list of ingredient weights, with the figure "x.75" at the top
Making a list and checking it twice.

Using 275 out of 288 grams of levain pushed Bradley to the limits. I still get excited by the minor challenge of bringing the boy back from the brink of annihilation.

Top left is mason jar with bits of starter all over the sides and bottom. Top right is same mason jar with starter mounded on the bottom. Bottom image is same jar with bigger mound of fed starter.
Top left doesn’t look like enough. Top right is all the dregs gathered together. Bottom is a fed Bradley ready to rise.

Mixing and Kneading

With two chocolates, two flours, and three coconuts, I had a hell of a time keeping the ingredients straight in my head. I could only find bittersweet chocolate in large, expensive hunks, so I used semisweet chocolate chips. I was able to replenish my flour stores, so I did use the AP/bread flour mixture indicated, as well as the recommended unsweetened shredded coconut. I’ve used butter when making regular pan de coco, so for scientific reasons I opted to go all coconut oil this time. It was in the low 60s in my apartment; the coconut oil didn’t even melt when added to the warm liquids.

Clear container with liquid ingredients. Blobs of solid coconut oil float like ice cubes in the bubbling starter.
Lonely lumps lying loose in levain.

Everything came together in the kneading. A good idea I didn’t execute would be to whisk together the flours and cocoa before mixing, but I just added all the dry ingredients (save the chocolate chips) in the tub and mixed it as best I could. I dumped the shaggy mess onto the table and topped it with chocolate chips before kneading.

Mixed ingredients on a table before kneading. Topped with unincorporated chocolate chips.
So much chocolate and coconut! It looks edible already (it isn’t).

Early turns of the dough would occasionally poof out a cloud of cocoa powder, and I knew the dough was well-mixed when this stopped happening and it turned a uniform shade of tawny brown.

Ball of kneaded dough on table next to dough card
The chocolate and coconut cannot be contained.

As I built the gluten, a single chocolate chip would tinkle out onto the mat on every other turn. I enjoyed bringing them back into the fold, like a diligent sheepdog maintains her flock.

The dough grew steadily through the room temperature bulk and overnight in the fridge.

Left is kneaded dough in clear container. Half the dough is not touching the sides. Right image is same dough after rising, with the dough touching all the sides
You know what that is? Growth.

Dividing and Shaping

Calculating the ingredient increases was relatively simple. Figuring out how much to set aside for my excess choco pan de coco took every remaining gram of my mathematical skills. Eventually I figured it out and divided the dough into eight pieces.

Rubber mat on kitchen counter. From left to right is a kitchen scale with a clear plastic lid, six hunks of cut dough, two larger hunks of cut dough, and a metal bench scraper.
When you’re measuring in grams, it takes a lot of sniglets to reach equal pieces.

The dough was too dry to effectively shape into balls. As noted above, this recipe adds a lot of dry ingredients to the regular pan de coco recipe without corresponding increases in fat or other liquids. I doubt that using butter instead of coconut oil would have helped. In addition to creating a drier dough, the shaped loaves grew very little while proofing–a problem I’ve never had with pan de coco.

Side by side images of the same thing, three hours apart. A tin with six balls of dough, and two red ramekins with a ball of dough each.
You know what that is? Very little growth.

Baking

I shouldn’t pat myself on the back for following directions, but I actually remembered to brush the loaves with coconut oil and add shredded coconut and chocolate chips before baking this time (a minor miracle).

choco pan de coco covered in shredded coconut and chocolate chips, before baking
So festive.

The mini loaves baked faster than the full pan. As per usual, a lot of the topping fell off when I popped the bread out of the baking containers. I kept the excess toasted coconut and chocolate chips to play with later. So far it has made a great addition to waffle batter.

Hand holding small plastic container full of toasted coconut and chocolate chips. In the background are two hungry cats.
Granola, but make it void of nutrition.

Since I gave away the full loaf, I didn’t get that sweet pull-apart moment on film. A sliced open crumb of my mini loaves revealed a bread that’s chock full of chocolate and coconut.

Lots of baked choco pan de coco on a wire rack. One piece is cut open and showing the crumb full of coconut bits.
Is there even any pan? All I see is coco.

The bread has a good flavor. Like the chocolateless version, choco pan de coco has a slight sweetness that’s not quite dessert, but definitely not savory. This translates to a chocolately bread you can eat any time of day.

close-up of loaf on choco pan de coco
Bursting with choco and coco.

Bagel Lessons

Inspired by my cinny raisin bagel success, I took a virtual bagel and bialy class this weekend. This class dove into the details of bagel-making in all the ways I hoped, including shaping around the hand. We also focused on incorporating “adjuncts” into dough, which will be helpful for non-bagel recipes like the muffaletta rolls.

wire rack covered in bagels
Not perfect, but perfectly tasty.

To follow up on the cinny raisin bagel cinnamon saga, the Zingerman’s recipe calls for 1tsp for four bagels–more than I used, and much less than NWS prescribes. This made for an excellently cinnamonny bagel, and I will use this ratio in the future. For the record, the sourdough NWS bagels had more life and flavor than the same-day, instant yeast version.

Next week: whole-grain pita bread

3 thoughts on “New World Sourdough: Choco Pan de Coco + Bagel Lessons

  1. Pingback: New World Sourdough: Masa Focaccia + Discard Pretzels (KAF) and Overnight Country Blonde (FWSY) | Put It In Your Hat

  2. I made this over the weekend. And chose overnight in the fridge. The coconut milk and coconut oil caused it to be unworkable for a long period of time the next morning. The dough never became soft enough to use the ball technique. It ended up rising well for final proof. Baked well. But not a fan of this one. Might try again with some adjustments.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have you done the regular version? It’s much easier to work with. If I make the chocolate version again I will reduce the amount of shredded coconut and explore adding more fat. I’m not sure what that would be right now. Maybe more butter? I’ll have to do some digging.

      Like

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