Pani Popo (Samoan Coconut Bread)

 Posted by at 6:00 am on May 9, 2014
May 092014

I had the pleasure of eating this yummy sweet bread a few weeks back and I have been dying to try to make it in my own kitchen. Really, is there anything better than something made with coconut milk? I think not. In fact, a little piece of Wendy trivia- my husband made coconut trout on our first date. It pretty much sealed the deal for me, because I knew if my man could cook, it would be heavenly. I’m now thinking he should cook more often. That trout was amazing!!!

So I hope you enjoy this recipe. Don’t be shy if you’ve never used yeast before. This is an easy and delicious way to start. Seriously.

Pani Popo

1 pkg. dry active yeast

1 cup warm milk

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp. softened butter

2 1/2 cups to 3 cups flour

Sprinkle the yeast on top of the warm milk. Let it stand and proof for 10 minutes while you gather the rest of your ingredients. The yeast will start to “puff” in the center of the milk. If it doesn’t, don’t fret. They yeast may be old or the milk to hot. Try again. It’s all good.

Place the remaining ingredients into your mixer bowl. I used my trusty Kitchen Aid.

Once the yeast has proofed for the 10 minutes, add it to the ingredients and mix on medium speed with a dough hook. The dough will start to come together and form a ball. Keep mixing for 3-4 more minutes. If the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl, add a little more flour. And when I say a little, I mean 1/4 cup at a time. Until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.


Place the soft dough in a lightly greased bowl, and cover with a damp cotton towel. The towel helps the dough stay soft and not form a hard layer from the air.


Let the dough rise for 1 hour. Punch down. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces.


Shape into rounds and place in a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish.


Cover and let rise again for 1 hour (my kitchen is fairly warm, but you may need to adjust the time of rising depending on your kitchen temperature- longer for cooler, shorter for warmer). Meanwhile mix your coconut sauce.

Coconut Sauce

2 cans coconut milk ( 14 oz. each)

1 cup sugar (Most recipes call for 2 cups or more, but I really liked this amount)

Stir the sugar and milk together to form the sauce. Let stand.


Once the rolls have risen for the last hour, pour the coconut sauce over the top of the rounds gently to cover all the bread.


Yummy. Then place the baking pan in a preheated 375 degree oven and baked uncovered for 25-30 minutes until the buns are nice and golden.

Remove from the oven and cool for at least 20 minutes. This gives the coconut sauce time to thicken up a bit more. Then serve the buns with sauce on top or to the side. Refrigerate leftovers- if you are lucky enough to have any!


Serves 12. Or 1 if you’re a nursing mama.

Happy Baking!!!


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