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What Is Coco Bread?

By Lynelle Harmon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Coco bread is a Jamaican yeast bread that takes the shape of a bread pocket. It is thought that the name comes from coconuts, due not to taste, but to its hard exterior and softer interior. It has a fairly simple recipe consisting of basic bread ingredients with no embellishments. This bread can be eaten on its own or split open to form a sandwich with a meat patty or jerk chicken.

This type of bread is typically served in Jamaican resorts, restaurants, or food stands, and its recipe is likely kept simple to allow for a batch of coco bread to suit multiple uses. Activated yeast is combined with the dry ingredients of sugar, salt, and flour, plus the wet ingredients of egg, milk, and melted butter. Dough is kneaded, allowed to rise, and then divided into 10 circles on a baking pan. These circles are folded to form the pocket shapes, and then baked until done and lightly browned.

When eaten alone, coco bread is served in a similar manner to a hard roll. It can be broken apart and eaten with the hands, spread with a condiment such as melted butter, or it can be dipped into a sauce, such as coconut curry. The lack of distinct flavor in the bread makes it pair with any flavor of spread or dip that a diner would care to use.

Pockets of coco bread are more often used as a container for a savory filling. The interior of the pocket is hollowed out using either fingers or a utensil until there's a widened cavity. It's important to leave the sides of the pocket intact or the filling could drip out, creating a mess while eating. Filling possibilities include beef, lamb, or pork patties, or shredded meat seasoned with spicy Jamaican jerk seasoning. Cooked plantains and black beans can be used for a vegetarian alternative.

A Jamaican style meal can be created using a stuffed coco bread pocket as the centerpiece, with possible side dishes including steamed cabbage, vegetable rice, or pumpkin rice. A mixture of vegetables should be used to balance the heavy bread of the coco, and the flavors of the stuffing ingredient shouldn't clash with the spices on the side dishes. Sweet coconut-based puddings can be served for dessert to finish the course and hint back at the original name origins of the bread.

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Discussion Comments
By discographer — On Jul 06, 2014

@serenesurface-- I think you're right.

My coco bread recipe calls for one cup of coconut milk. So this is probably where the name comes from. I think there are even recipes that call for grated coconut in the dough. I have never made coco bread with grated coconut. I think that would result in an overpowering coconut flavor. But I do add coconut milk to the dough. It makes the dough moist so the bread remains soft on the inside.

I'm sure coco bread could also be made without coconut milk though. I like having this bread for breakfast, with butter and jam. The slight sweetness and the coconut flavor goes great with sweet jams and jellies.

By stoneMason — On Jul 06, 2014

Coco bread is delicious. I've never been to Jamaica but I have eaten at Jamaican restaurants. I love Jamaican food in general. I also shop from a Jamaican grocery frequently. They sell coco bread and I always make sure to pick up a bag when I go.

I love the shape of this bread. It's perfect for sandwiches. The shape is something in between a hot dog bun and a pita bread folded into half. It's also a thick and rich bread so it's very filling. If I have this for a meal, I don't get hungry for a long time. This is probably one of the reasons why it's so popular in Jamaica as a bread for street food.

By serenesurface — On Jul 06, 2014

I thought that coco bread is named as such because the recipe calls for coconut milk? Am I wrong? Doesn't the dough have coconut milk?

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