Vegan Pandan Coconut Milk Bread
Tangzhong (Water Roux)
- 1/3 cup water 80 mL
- 2 tbsp bread flour 15 g
Pandan Bread Dough
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast 12 g; or 2 1⁄2 tsp instant yeast (10 g)
- 1/2 cup pandan juice 120 mL; see Notes for recipe
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar 65 g
- 2¾ cups bread flour aka hard flour 360 g
- 1/4 can coconut milk 100 g
- 1/4 cup margarine or vegan butter 60 g
- full amount of tangzhong made above; about 100 g
- 1 tsp fine salt 5 g
- 10–15 drops green food colouring optional
- Heat water in a small saucepan on high heat until simmering, then bring heat down to low.
- Add bread flour and immediately start stirring with a whisk.
- After half a minute, the flour and water should have come together to form a gelatinous mixture. Keep stirring for a minute more to get rid of any clumps.
- Cover the saucepan, take it off the heat, and set aside to cool.
- Add yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer. Pour in pandan juice and sprinkle over with sugar.
- Let stand 10 minutes for yeast to activate. (Skip this step if using instant yeast.)
- Add bread flour, salt, water roux (make sure it's no longer hot), margarine, and coconut milk.
- Mix everything together with the stand mixer dough hook attachment on the lowest speed setting for about a minute or until most of the flour has been incorporated.
- Increase speed to 2 and knead for 10–15 minutes or until the dough has come together into one mass and looks glossy. Scrape down the sides once or twice throughout the kneading. If the dough does not come together within the first 5 minutes and still looks very wet, add more flour 1/4 cup at a time. You shouldn't need to add more than 1/2 cup (or 3/4 cup if you are in a very humid environment). The dough should be pulling away from the sides but still feel pretty sticky! See Video for visuals on how the dough should look at the end of kneading.
Optional: Create Swirls Pattern (skip if you don't have food colouring)
- Grease your hands with oil or margarine (very important, or the dough is gonna stick to you like crazy and you're not gonna have a good time).
- Take out roughly 2/3 of the dough you just finished kneading (a guesstimate is fine) and place it in a large oiled bowl or container. Cover and set aside.
- Meanwhile, add green food colouring to the rest of the dough remaining in the stand mixer.
- Knead for another minute or two to thoroughly mix in the food colouring.
Shape and Bake
- Cover and let dough rise for 1 1⁄2 hours.
- The dough should now be almost doubled in size. Grease your hands with oil or margarine. Punch it down, take it out of the bowl, and spread on a clean, oiled surface.
- If you chose to do the swirls pattern, spread the second (green) piece of dough on top of the first one before proceeding.
- With your hands, stretch and push the dough into a rough rectangle, with the shorter sides measuring an inch shorter than the length of your loaf pan. See Video if this is unclear.
- Starting at one of the short ends, roll the dough up tightly into a log.
- Place on a piece of parchment paper that has been cut to fit your loaf pan.
- Lift the parchment paper and dough together and plop into the loaf pan.
- Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
- Uncover the loaf pan and bake at 300 °F for 45–50 minutes. The top will be light golden brown. Ideally, you should have an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is at the right temp. Or you can check with a food thermometer near the end of baking to make sure the internal temperature of the bread is at least 190 °F.
The swirl part of this vegan pandan bread is optional. It makes for a funner visual but if you choose to leave it, just skip dividing the dough and roll it up in one piece.
Wondering how to get your hands on pandan juice? I made my own per this recipe.
I’m sure you could use pandan extract in place of making your own pandan juice, but since I’ve never managed to find pandan extract anywhere, I can’t say how much to use. I would start with subbing 1 tsp of pandan extract for the 1/2 cup of pandan juice, and making up the difference with water. Maybe also add another tsp to the second piece of dough in lieu of green food colouring.
Same goes for pandan powder. I would start with 1 tsp and adjust for colour intensity as desired.
Make Ahead Tangzhong
If you haven’t started using tangzhong in your baking yet, let me introduce you! You will love what it does for your bread. At least, if you are into baking pillowy soft bread like me (which I assume is the case if you are reading this recipe).
King Arthur Flour has a great article about this ingredient which involves combining flour and liquid (water or milk) into a sort of roux. Through some chemical black magic, this simple roux makes your bread much softer! It’s not much use if you like baking hard, crusty breads, it’s for lovely soft buttery goods, and I suppose maybe that’s why this is more well-known in Asian recipes. Think of any bread you’ll find in an Asian bakery, and it’ll definitely be improved by tangzhong.
I have made the roux with cow’s milk, soy milk, and water, and find all of them pretty similar. I usually stick with water these days because it’s simplest for cleanup.
Whenever I do a bread recipe that calls for roux, I make double or triple the amount. It’s because I hate dirtying up a saucepan and whisk more often than I have to. For reference, one batch of tangzhong (made with 1/3 cup water + 2 tbsp flour) weighs about 100 g. I measure out the amount I need for the current recipe, then store the rest in the fridge. It lasts for at least five days in my experience. I have yet to try freezing it but I will be trying it soon.
What Type of Coconut Milk to Use
You can use low-fat or regular coconut milk. However, low-fat coconut milk is just coconut milk that has been diluted with more water, usually sold for the same price as regular. So I would go with regular, and if you want to lower the calories, replace half of the milk with water.
Also, you may notice that in the video tutorial, the coconut milk I use looks lumpy. I was using a jar of coconut milk that I’d previously frozen then thawed. It may not look as nice but it comes out just fine when it’s all mixed in!
Nutrition and Cost Information
One loaf of pandan coconut bread costs $3.03. Assuming you slice it into 12, each slice contains 191 cal. (I actually got 15 slices out of mine.)
Calculations for full recipe (1 loaf or 12 slices):