Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pumpkin Pani Popo - #BreadBakers

Joining Bread Bakers was probably the best decision that I made this year. It's definitely shaking me out of my bread baking rut. I have bookmarked several bread recipes but seem to just scroll past them when looking for something to bake. Take for example, pani popo. A friend sent me a link to this bread some time ago. I loved the sound of it. Pani Popo is a Samoan bread baked in sweetened coconut milk. (Pani means bun and popo means coconut.) When finished, there is a coconut jelly/jam type mixture at the bottom of the baking pan. It's often served for upside down with extra coconut sauce scooped on top.

Sounds great, right? So what was I waiting for? Why didn't I bake it immediately?! I suspect that it was the roll factor. Soft sourdough rolls are difficult for me and at the time, I only used my sourdough starter. Thankfully, pani popo sounded just perfect for this month's Bread Bakers' theme - Thanksgiving/Celebratory Dinner Bread. Let's celebrate with some delicious rolls!

I added some fresh pumpkin to make it more seasonal. Oh and some spices. Let's be honest, depending on the variety of pumpkin that you use, pumpkin by itself can be pretty bland. The flavour can definitely get lost in a bread dough. The spices liven things up. Feel free to use even more than I did. Now as I said, I used fresh pumpkin. Fresh pumpkin has a much higher water content than the stuff in a can. It was also a different variety.  If you use canned pumpkin, you will need to add milk to get the dough to the right consistency - soft and tacky.

This may be my new favourite bread. It's unbelievably soft and fluffy. The coconut sauce is amazing - I actually wanted more of it. I will definitely use more coconut milk next time. And there will definitely be a few more times. I can't wait to try the original plus other additions. Sweet potato, perhaps? My mother visits me in a week and I still haven't decided what kind of bread I am making for her. Sweet potato pani popo could be it.

My pani popo is just one of the many rolls that would be great at your Thanksgiving dinner table. Be sure to scroll down to see the list. Thanks for hosting, Holly!

Pumpkin Pani Popo                                 
Recipe by: Kelster    
Yield: 10 servings
320 grams all purpose flour
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
160 grams cooked and pureed pumpkin
28 grams oil
24 grams sugar
1 large egg
5 grams salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cloves
milk as needed (see notes)

Coconut Sauce
¾ cup coconut milk
¼ cup sugar, or to taste

Combine all the dough ingredients, except milk, in the bowl of a stand mixer. Knead on low speed for 7 – 10 minutes. Dough should be soft and tacky but not sticky. It will clear the sides of the bowl but still stick to the bottom of the bowl. If necessary, add milk by the tablespoon.

Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover and allow to rest at room temperature until doubled. This could take 1- 2 hours depending on the room temperature.

After dough has risen, divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. My pieces were approximately 57 grams each. Roll each piece into a tight ball and place in a greased round 9.5” baking pan.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until almost doubled. This may take as little as 30 minutes. While dough is rising, blend the coconut milk with the quarter cup of sugar and preheat the oven to 350 F.

When dough is ready, use a tablespoon to pour coconut milk over each individual roll.

Bake for 18 – 25 minutes or until the rolls have reached 190 F.

  • I used fresh pumpkin which has a higher water content than canned pumpkin. As water content of pumpkin may vary, it's best to wait and add milk only if the dough seems dry.
  • Here's a great visual for tacky vs sticky dough


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to


  1. Now I'm wondering where Pani Popo has been all my life. Thank you so much for introducing me to a new type of bread.

    1. You're welcome! Such a simple addition but so delicious.

  2. Oh so nice! The thought of a coconut sauce that is created while the bread bakes sounds wonderful.

  3. WOW! I'm in love. Thanks for sharing with #BreadBakers. I might just have to try this tonight.

  4. Replies
    1. Both are relatively mild so they work well together.

  5. Those are so cute! Welcome to the world of bread baking on a regular basis. you will be hooked!

    1. I've actually been baking bread ~3 times per month for the last 3.5 years. It's just that for the last year, I've just been making the same things over and over.

  6. Bread with its own sweet coconut sauce for serving? I am so glad you shared this, Kelly! I cannot wait to try it. I'm so glad you join us too!

  7. And now I know what pani popo is. We bake, we share, we learn! Thanks for these, Kelly!

  8. What a great recipe, the name is so cute and the bread is gorgeous!!

  9. All the flavours of these rolls sound great!

  10. Now you just made me add this bread to my list of to bake recipes!! LOVE IT. thank you for the recipe.

  11. I have been wanting to try these for a long time, but I love the pumpkin twist you put to them

  12. What lovely little rolls! I bet they would be perfect for THanksgiving dinner.

  13. Pumpkin and coconut together?! I'm intregeed!