Friday, October 31, 2014

Orange Coconut Rolls

There's something about warm breakfast rolls straight from the oven. They give me those warm, fuzzy comfort feelings, probably because they take me back to mornings with my kids when they were smaller and life was not so complicated. These rolls came about because some coconuts floated by our boat at anchor and I spent an afternoon cleaning them, grating the coconut, and toasting it. The next morning I just happened to have an extra orange in the fruit basket, so orange coconut rolls it was. The recipe is out of the Red Star Yeast Centennial Bread Sampler cookbook, probably my favorite, but it's out of print. If you even find one and you like bread you should pick it up.


2-1/4 to2-1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1 package of instant yeast
3 Tbl sugar
2 tsp freshly grated orange rind
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
3 Tbl butter
1 small egg

3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbl butter
2 Tbl freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbl honey
1/2 cup coconut, divided
1/4 cup sliced almonds


I don't have pictures for these earlier steps, honestly because some times I get making things and then realize, oh yeah I should be posting this one. You can read basic dough directions and see pictures in my Vienna Snack Loaves post if you need help.

In a large mixer bowl, mix one cup of the flour, the yeast, sugar, orange rind and salt. Mix it well.

In a saucepan heat up the milk, water and butter until it's 120°.  I use one of those infrared thermometers to measure the temperature because it's pretty critical. You can easily kill yeast if your liquids are too hot.

Add the liquids to the flour/yeast mixture and blend it at low speed by mixer or by hand until all the flour is incorporated. Add the egg and beat it for 3 minutes, either by hand or by mixer

Gradually add enough of the rest of the flour to make a soft but not sticky dough. If you're making this on a boat, the amount of flour can vary widely depending on the humidity. The dough should not be sticky.

Knead the dough on a floured surface until it's smooth and elastic, about 5-8 minutes. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes.

While you're letting it rest, make the topping. Combine the sugar, butter, juice and honey and heat it until it's blended and the sugar is dissolved. Reserve 3 tablespoons of it and put the rest of it in a greased 9-inch square pan. Sprinkle half of the coconut and the almonds over the topping. Keep the remaining sauce warm.

After the dough has rested, pat it out into a 12 x 9 inch rectangle. Brush it with the remaining warm sauce and sprinkle the remaining coconut over it.

Roll it up long side first, pinching it down in the crease with your fingers.

Pinch the edge to the main roll to seal it.

Using some dental floss or sewing thread wrapped around the loaf, cut slices from the roll. This recipe makes 9 large rolls and it helps to mark the slice points in the dough before you begin cutting.

The dental floss or thread makes nice cuts. If you try to cut it with a knife it will crush the loaf and you won't have nice, round rolls.

Arrange the rolls evenly in the pan on top of the topping mix.

Cover loosely with a towel and let them raise till almost doubled, about 30 minutes. It can take less or more depending on the temperature and humidity of your raising environment. Keep them away from drafts! A draft will make them fall. I usually set them on my stove while I preheat the oven.

Bake them at 400° for 15-20 minutes. Again, if you're doing this on a boat the times can vary widely due to different ovens.

Cover them immediately with foil and invert them onto a rack. Do not let them cool first as the topping will stick to the pan and not to the rolls. I have added a powdered sugar glaze here although it's not in the original recipe. You can make some with a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and just a few drops of milk. Drizzle it over and serve warm.


  1. I'm not a cook and only a wannabe cruiser but I love orange and coconut. While the yeast never took effect, I can still say they were definitely a success. Wife confirmed it. Thanks for posting this!

  2. Scott,

    Yeast problems can be one of many things. If the yeast is old, it eventually will die and won't work. If you have any doubt about the yeast, take 1/2 cup of the warm liquid and sprinkle the yeast on top. Don't stir it. If it doesn't start to foam in 5 minutes or so then the yeast is no good.

    Several other things can cause yeast not to work. If you heat the water too hot it will kill the yeast. I use a digital infrared thermometer that we have on the boat to check the engine with. The temp should never exceed 120°.If the liquid is too cold then the yeast will take forever to work. A lot of overnight rising methods do this, allowing for rising in the fridge overnight.

    Another issue is if you use self-rising flour. It seems whatever is in there will prevent the yeast from working. As with all good cooking, practice makes perfect, especially on the boat.