King’s Hawaiian bread is one of those products that is so delicious that I remember the first time I tried it. I was a college freshman living in the Chesapeake Hall Dorm at UMBC and my roommate’s name was Jackie. Jackie and I were High School friends and we were hoping to continue on together to college, so we both applied to UMBC and luckily enough we were both accepted.
UMBC was a tough school to get into in those days, and it’s even tougher now. I was lucky to be accepted with a full scholarship, so keeping up my grades was very important. I was also lucky in that my scholarship included room and board on campus if I chose to live there. What college kid would say no to that..I mean, c’mon…isn’t that what kids dream of? Of course I wanted to live on campus! My family lived about 45 minutes away from school, and living on campus allowed me to focus on school stuff when I really needed to. Jackie also applied to live on campus and was accepted.
Don’t get me wrong, we still had loads of fun. After classes on Friday afternoons we’d pack our bags and head back to our old stomping grounds where we’d meet up with our friends. My family would always joke that they never saw me for the entire time I was away at college, and they’re probably right. Home was only for a quick nap and a shower before we headed out to the next get together. This would go on all weekend until Sunday when it was time to drive back up to Baltimore.
On the weekends when Jackie would drive back home, her mom would cook all day Saturday to send her back with lots of her favorite foods. We both had our meal plans at the dining hall which was included in the package for those that lived on campus, and we enjoyed it most of the time…but a home cooked meal always trumped anything we would ever get at school.
One of her favorite things to eat was roast chicken, and one Sunday she walked in with her bags full of home cooked food and promptly announced that she had found some delicious bread that I absolutely had to try. You guessed it, she had discovered the King’s Hawaiian Bread. The first thing you notice when you take a bite is the sweetness and fragrance of the bread, and once you put it in your mouth the bread is so tender it just melts. From that point on, roast chicken sandwiches with a sweet brown sugar and paprika glaze on King’s Hawaiian bread became a ritual we enjoyed each and every Sunday as we reminisced about boys we had met and school papers or projects we still needed to finish.
It’s funny the things you remember.
I’ve never forgotten this delectable bread, and if I don’t have time to make my own bread, I still pick up a bag at the store when I’m serving up my BBQ ribs. The flavors and textures go so well together, the sandwich just melts in your mouth. This bread is similar to another product you may have heard of called Portuguese bread which is also sweet and tender, but the addition of the pineapple juice is unique to the Hawaiian version.
The beauty of this recipe is that it’s very versatile. You can make them into rolls to serve with your meal, or you can make it into a dessert variation as I have done here with chocolate chips and streusel on top or you can roll the chocolate streusel into the dough and throw in some raisins that have been soaked in a rum syrup…
Whichever version you choose to make, the results are truly extraordinary.
Homemade Kings Hawaiian Bread
4 tablespoons Red Star Quick Rise dried yeast (1 oz or 28.35 g)
200 ml or 7 oz pineapple juice, warm
200 ml or 7 oz whole milk, warm
6 eggs, room temp
1¾ sticks butter, room temp (200 g or 7 oz)
2 tablespoons vanilla
8 -9½ cups all purpose flour (8 cups is about 1000 g or 2 lb 4 oz)
1 ¼ cups sugar (250 g or 9 oz)
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons oil for the bowl
Egg was (1 beaten egg with a little water)
Add the yeast and the warm liquids to the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk together until the yeast has dissolved. Next add the eggs and vanilla and whisk together again. Start by adding 8 cups of flour to the bowl along with the salt and sugar. Using the paddle or the dough hook attachment (I prefer the paddle) mix the dough together until everything is incorporated and turn off the machine. It will look like this…
Next add the room temp butter a little at a time until it has all incorporated into the dough. NEVER add melted butter to your dough…there are many recipes out there that suggest that you do, but this will give you a very greasy product since melting the butter changes its structure.
At this point, you will need to add a little more flour, so add it a little at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the sides.
Once I get to this point, I prefer to turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it the rest of the way by adding a little flour at a time until it is uniformly soft, springy and no longer sticky.
Add the 3 tablespoons of oil to a large bowl and spread it all over the inside of the bowl. Add the dough to the bowl and swirl it around in the oil until the whole things is well coated. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and cover with some tea towels. Put it in a warm place to double in size, about 30-45 minutes.
Once doubled in size, gently deflate
Then weigh the dough prior to shaping for the 2nd proof so that all of the items will bake evenly
Then decide on what you would like to make. Whatever you decide to make, make sure to weigh the dough, then shape it into your desired shapes and sizes and allow to proof again for a 2nd time. Once proofed, make sure to egg wash the tops and bake the bread in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown all over. Do not add too many rolls to the same pan. If you crowd the pan with too much dough they will not bake correctly and you run the risk of the bread remaining raw inside.
You can make round rolls and bake them together or separately
Or you can make long shaped rolls
1 stick cold butter
¾ cup flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
Add all of the ingredients together into a small bowl, and with a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut the cold butter into the entire mixture until it resembles a coarse meal, then keep refrigerated until ready to use. You can also make this and store in a Ziploc bag in the freezer, it is perfect to use on top of bread puddings and fruit crumbles that are baked in the oven, or you can even add this to cake batter to create a chocolate swirl inside the cake.
You can add chocolate chips into the dough and top with the streusel
Or you can press out dough and add streusel then roll up, proof and bake. I also added raisins that were soaked in rum syrup. With the recipe above, I made 4 loaves. Each loaf was about 1 lb 4oz, but this may vary slightly. What is most important is that you weigh it out as evenly as you can.