The Fresh Loaf

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Ciabatta with coconut milk

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Felila's picture
Felila

Ciabatta with coconut milk

I started with my old reliable, a ciabatta recipe from this site, but made it with more white bread flour than whole wheat. I replaced the mix of water and olive oil with coconut milk and one egg. No water at all. The dough was extremely soft and supple; I nearly decided to add more flour. It ended up being three-day bread. One evening I started the poolish; the next day I mixed the dough and did two stretch and folds; I retarded the dough overnight and shaped it into two batardes the next day. 

I baked it as I would my regular ciabatta (start out a 490 and reduce immediately to 425, 23 minutes). It passed the thump test but after cooling, seemed too soft. I was afraid it would be gummy inside, but it's thoroughly baked ... just very very soft and tender. Lovely bread. Doesn't taste of coconut at all. 

I think that it's tender because of the high oil content (coconut, egg). Very rich, but not too rich. I'll make it again if I ever have leftover coconut milk (from making peanut sauce). 

isand66's picture
isand66

Sounds like a great idea.  I have used coconut flour but have not tried milk yet....it's on my to do list!

Thanks for the inspiration.

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

They're different:  Coconut water is liquid endosperm and doesn't taste much like coconut (hence failure of your ciabatta to taste like it).  Coconut milk is pulverized coconut meat (the white part that we're all familiar with) suspended in water + (whatever -- often sugar).  That definitely tastes like coconut.

t

 

Felila's picture
Felila

Definitely coconut milk; thick, white, and creamy. Canned, Thai, because that's what the neighborhood mini-mart stocked.  I usually buy plain frozen coconut milk, but this was an emergency purchase. I didn't read the can. I didn't want to know :)

I'm familiar with coconut water. I haven't had it in ages, but I used to drink it when I lived in Tonga, in the South Seas. Some elder would say, "Tamasi'i, mai ha fo'i niu" and one of the young boys would climb a coconut tree, bring down a nut, and trim off the end with a machete.  Delicious, but in a different way. 

They made coconut milk by splitting the coconut, grating the meat with a coconut grater, putting the grated meat inside a hank of coconut fibers, running water over it, and twisting the fiber. After they had wrung the shreds dry, they threw the coconut shreds out to the chickens, which had gathered around the coconut grater in anticipation. 

Felila's picture
Felila

The peanut sauce I made with that can definitely tasted of coconut. I dunno why the bread didn't take on a coconut tinge. Perhaps the taste of whole wheat flour overpowered it. 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

milk and egg being so thick, what sort of hydration would you use for a water basted 80% hydration ciabatta?  A great idea for coconut flavored sweet breads !

Felila's picture
Felila

I can't answer hydration questions, because I don't have a scale. Wish I could afford one :(  I measure by volume, then adjust the flour or water as necessary until the dough looks and feels right. 

I used 4-1/2 cups flour, total (one for the poolish, the rest when mixing the dough), and 1-1/2 cups fluid (coconut milk plus one egg). The dough was soft, but it did behave as I expect a proper high-hydration ciabatta dough to behave: when I was mixing it in the old Kitchenaid, it pulled away from the sides of the bowl and formed a cohesive mass. It stuck only to the bottom of the bowl, slightly. When it wasn't being kneaded, it slumped. 

It may have been softer than usual because I used less whole wheat flour than usual; ww flour absorbs more water than white bread flour. Usually I aim for about 2/3 ww; the white is there to provide gluten and spring. 

Felila's picture
Felila

Oh wait, I forgot to add the cup of water for the poolish. So that would be 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 cups water total. 

Felila's picture
Felila

After the bread had cooled and sat out for a day, the coconut flavor emerged. Subtly. Tasty bread! As rich bread goes, somewhat easier than brioche. 

I wonder if it could be made as a sweet bread, with some sugar and perhaps some chopped nuts and dried fruits. 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

are on to something.  Chopped fruits and nuts sound like a good fit.  There is so much sugat in the coconut milk, not much would be needed to make it a really sweet bread.  I say go for it !