I have a little black book. No, it does not contain any deep, dark secrets. Rather, in this notebook, I have written down recipes that I wanted to try. And one that has been staring at my face for the longest time was a quick bread recipe–Bill Granger’s coconut bread.
Quick bread is a type of bread that gets its rise from leavening agents other than yeast. The leavening agents can be baking powder, beer, buttermilk and so on. The great thing about quick bread is that they are fairly easy to assemble and there is no need to proof the dough or batter. And the finished product often has the texture and taste of a cake, which makes it great for breakfast or tea.
Bill Granger’s coconut bread is a one-mixing-bowl wonder. You can get your kids involve in making the bread without the fear of messing up the kitchen (though I cannot guarantee that they won’t throw flour at each other). The finished coconut bread is tender and crumbly, and I love the chew from the shredded coconut. The only painful part about the recipe is waiting for an hour for the bread to bake while you inhale the smell of the cinnamon that is wafting out from the kitchen.
(Adapted from bills Sydney Food)
Makes 8-10 thick slices.
300g all-purpose flour
170g caster sugar
150g shredded unsweetened coconut (I used freshly grated coconut)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ – 1 teaspoon cinnamon (the original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons which I found it to be overwhelming; if you are not a fan of cinnamon, use ½ teaspoon)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
80g unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 180oC. Using a 21cm x 10cm (8.5” x 4”) loaf tin, add in the unsalted butter and place the loaf tin in the oven while it is preheating. In this way, you are not just melting the butter as required, you are also greasing the loaf tin. Once the butter is melted, remove the loaf tin from the oven and set aside.
In a measuring cup, measure out the milk. Once done, add in the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk well with a fork. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into it (I am not a fan of sifting, however baking powder tends to be lumpy). Once the mixture is sifted, add in the sugar and shredded coconut and mix well.
Make a well in the centre of the flour, sugar and shredded coconut mixture, and slowly add in the egg, vanilla and milk mixture. Using a spatula, combine the mixture until there are no flour streaks. Do not be overzealous as over-mixing will result a tough and hardy cake. The batter will not be smooth due to the shredded coconut.
Add in the melted butter into the mixture and fold it in until it is incorporated. Set aside.
There should be some residual melted butter in the loaf tin. Using a paper towel, pastry brush or your clean hands, spread the melted butter around the loaf tin (don’t miss the corners). Once the loaf tin is buttered, pour in the batter and bake for around 60 minutes.
You can use a paring knife to check if the bread is baked – the knife should come up clean or stained with tiny crumbs.
Once the bread is baked and golden brown, leave it in the loaf tin to cool for 5-8 minutes before removing it to cool further on a wire rack. You can serve the bread warm or at room temperature. You can also toast the bread (in an oven or a frying pan), and serve it with butter and lime marmalade.