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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.