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Patties with Coco Bread

Kwame Onwuachi

Lesson time 36 min

Beef patties are Jamaica’s ubiquitous fast food. While growing up in the Bronx, Kwame used to eat the flaky meat-filled hand pie nearly every day after school and church. The quintessential Jamaican snack goes hand in hand with pillowy soft coco bread. Kwame teaches how to make the patty pastry dough, the beautifully seasoned beef filling, and delicious coco bread.

Students give this lesson an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

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– One of my favorite doughs to make. the coco bread is like a warm hug. It is so worth the time. Welcome to my beef patty class. Now beef patties are synonymous with Jamaican culture. It’s their version of a hamburger, right? Like It’s their fast food. It’s what they eat on the go. I used to eat it, I think, every day after school growing up in the Bronx, every day after church, and beef patty goes hand-in-hand with coco bread. So the coco bread is like a pillowy soft, warm hug. It dampers down the heat of the beef patty and makes it a little bit more handheld. So there’s so many places in the world that has their version of a hand pie. You have empanadas, you have so many different types of hand pies that were used for various reasons. You know, they say that even the empanadas were used in the mines because the outside, instead of, you know, some sort of handle, they would use that to eat it, and then throw that away. That little rimed crimped edge. Even, you know, the beef patty, it came from the British, their meat pies. Jamaicans, they just spiced it up and made it delicious. So we’re gonna eat ours, ’cause It’s very, very good. I think the coco bread is very similar to a brioche or Parker House roll, but it has an addition of a little bit of coconut milk and It’s a little sweeter. So I’m gonna show you how to make the dough. I’m gonna show you to make the filling, and I’m gonna show you how to make the coco bread. So first I’m gonna prepare my workstation. I’m gonna cover this in plastic wrap. It’s important when you’re working with anything with turmeric that you try to protect it, because it is unforgiving and it will stain everything in this path. So I’m gonna go get my equipment and my ingredients and you’ll notice they’re in the freezer, because I wanna keep them super cold at all times. I don’t want the butter to melt. When the butter is cold, that’s how it expands and gives those flaky layers in the dough. So I’m gonna grab some flour, some frozen butter just keep it really, really cold, and I’ve cubed it. This is about two sticks of butter. I have some turmeric and some salt. Now I’m gonna get some ice water as well, and you need to buy a cup but you really just want it to bring this dough together. So I’m gonna start by measuring out my flour. I need three cups. Need about two teaspoons of turmeric. This is gonna add the signature color of the beef patty dough, and a teaspoon of salt to this. So I’m just gonna mix the dry ingredients to get them well incorporated. Now I’m gonna add the butter and blitz this up once again. So we just want pulse this. You don’t want break this up too much. You want the butter to come like almost like green pea size or pigeon pea size. So right now It’s looking pretty good. I’m gonna go a little bit more. I want to constantly check it. So look, the butter is now this small and that’s perfect. This point we can stop and add the water, just to bring this dough together and I’m gonna add it right through this processor. And if a little ice gets in that’s okay this dough’s gonna rest for about 24 hours. So it’ll hydrate. Yeah. This is great. This is great. One of my favorite doughs to make. Add a touch water. All right, this point, I’m gonna take this out, put this on my plastic wrap. You can see you want these big flecks in there. So when we roll it out, it’ll create this layer of oil and moisture that’ll expand as it cooks. I’m gonna wrap this up. And you’ll see tomorrow, it’ll be very hydrated, pretty translucent and yellow. You’ll see, It’s already started to hydrate but this will develop overnight so you can have all those flaky layers. Just gonna sprinkle some water. So I’m gonna put this in the fridge for 24 hours and let this hydrate. So we’ve done the dough for the beef patty, and now It’s time to make his best friend, coco bread. This goes hand-in-hand with beef patties. Not only does it cut the heat from the beef patty, but also acts as a vessel for you to eat it. So I have my dry ingredients here. I have some baking powder, some sugar, some flour, yeast, a little bit of salt, coconut milk, actual cows’ milk and egg and some butter. So first I have some water that’s been preheated, and you want it to about 110 degrees Fahrenheit. So I’m gonna add my sugar to my water that’s already heated and It’s gonna dissolve that. And then I’m gonna add my yeast to it, and that’s gonna help activate this yeast. The yeast is gonna start to eat the sugar. The yeast is a living thing. It’s an organism. That’s what helps this bread rise. So in order to wake this yeast up, you need to activate it in warm water with some sugar so that it starts to feed off of it. And you’ll start to see it bubbling up after a while. You should let this wait for about three minutes While this is doing It’s thing, we’re gonna mix these dry ingredients together. I’m gonna take my flour and add it directly to this bowl. You can actually even take it off of here, make it a little bit easier. Take my baking powder, little bit of salt, and I’m just gonna mix this up. You want it all to be incorporated so that it evenly distributes. You don’t need to put it on too high. You just stir it. All right. So I’m gonna add the rest of my ingredients to this. I’m gonna add my milk. My coconut milk, butter, one egg. So these bubbles means It’s alive. It’s ready to go. Now I’m gonna turn this on low first. Want in to incorporate slowly, just like that. Once it mixes together, you can turn it up a little bit. So at this point, I’m gonna knead it the rest of the way by hand. Right now, I just wanna get into manageable pieces, so I can roll it into a nice small ball. So I’m gonna take this dough. It’s really soft and beautiful. I’m just gonna cover it with a wet or a moist towel. I wanna retain the moisture in this dough as it rises. So I’m just gonna cover it with a moist towel and let it rise. Luckily, I’m in the Caribbean, so we have warm places all around. And I’ll see this in an hour. So the beef patty dough has been resting for 24 hours. We’re gonna make the filling now, and then let it cool and make our beef patty. So I’m gonna start with some ground beef, some marination, and some jerk paste. This is why It’s so key to get your pantry ready. Look how easy we’re going through these recipes. We have some Panko, some all-purpose seasoning some curry powder and some chicken stock. So I’m gonna get a pan. Just get this out of there. I’m gonna put this on medium heat, and a little bit of canola oil. So I’m gonna start by sweating some of this marination and jerk paste in the pan. I just wanna cook it out a little bit before I add everything else. And this has all the flavor you need. There’s onion in here. There’s garlic, there’s ginger. There’s scallions, thyme, Scotch bonnet. Add some jerk paste to this. I’m also gonna add my spices now, ’cause this is gonna help cook them out a little bit more. Curry powder, all-purpose seasoning. So right now I’m pretty much building like a panade or a thickener that’s used to thicken beef and give it like this smooth velvety texture. You see it in meat loafs and other things like that. We’re gonna make this filling pretty smooth, but It’s gonna have the meatiness of the ground beef. So I’m gonna taste this. I’m tasting for the aromatics to really be cooked out of here, all that onion and ginger and garlic before I add my meat. And this is another time where you can add more heat, right? If you want more Scotch bonnet, cut it up and put it in here. I actually do want a little bit more heat, so I’m gonna add some jerk paste. And that’s the beautiful thing about having these pantry ingredients. You know, this is not gonna taste like jerk chicken or anything. It’s all these nuances that are in these paste that are gonna give these dishes all this flavor. All right, so at this point, I’m gonna add my beef. And you want pretty much a lean grind on this, but you can do whatever you really desire. Oh man, so you can use anything for these patties. Instead of beef, you can use mushrooms, you can use chicken, you can even make curry goat patties. So you can replace this meat with a lot of different things. Callaloo is very common here in the Caribbean. It’s pretty much like our version of collared greens or spinach, but whatever your favorite protein or vegetable is, use that, and use this base flavor. It really, the patty is a vessel or or the dough is a vessel for whatever’s inside. So you want to make sure you’re stirring at this whole time. You don’t want large chunks of this meat. And now that this is cooked about 80% of the way, I’m gonna add my breadcrumbs and I use Panko breadcrumbs just because they’re even, but you can use any breadcrumbs that you’d like. Then I’m gonna add some chicken stock. Cooking should be about feeling. It should be about touch. It should be about using all your senses your smell, your sight, even your hearing, right? So, you know, don’t be afraid to play around. I think a lot of us chefs that have, you know, can cook really good now is because we weren’t afraid to make mistakes, and then we learned from those mistakes. So we’re looking for a really soft, malleable consistency. You want it to be really juicy inside of that patty. So I’ll probably end up adding some more chicken stock to this. I’m gonna taste it first and see what the consistency is like. But what I’m doing right now is just breaking up all of this meat. I wanna make sure there’s no large clumps of this. When I fill my patty, It’s one smooth texture. It’s pretty moist. I want to add more breadcrumbs though Just to make it a little more smooth. And these breadcrumbs, you know, they’re gonna hydrate in this stock. That’s what’s gonna make this so unctuous and velvety. So when you bite into that crispy beef patty exterior, you have this nice smooth beef mixture inside. This is really what I’m looking for. It’s kind of like an with a risotto, right? These little waves. So I wanna let this hydrate a little bit more. Let me give it a taste. The cool thing about this is once it cools, It’s gonna seize up a bit. So It’s gonna be easier to form these patties once It’s cold. It’s very good. I’m gonna add some salt to it now. This beautiful thing about Scotch bonnet peppers, you know, that that spice builds, you know, the flavor hits you in the front with all those tropical notes and in the back with the heat. I’m gonna add a little bit of more of this all-purpose seasoning in here, and we’re good. I’m gonna cool this down, then I’m gonna start my patties. So I’m gonna take my beef patty mixture. Hot. So my dough is proofed. It’s actually doubled in size. It looks really, really great. I’m gonna show you this real quick and the towel may stick to it a little bit. It’s all right. There’s plenty of dough. So what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna roll this out into my balls and then place them on a parchment paper on a sheet tray, and let them proof again before I put them in the oven. Can put some flour in your hand so it doesn’t stick. Just push it down. So the dough is like really, really elastic. So I’m gonna put some flour on my work surface and turn this dough out. This dough is beautiful, honestly. So I’m just gonna take it into manageable sizes. So normally I shape it into like these little rolls, but since I’m in Jamaica, I want to do the traditional loaf and It’s like folded over. So I’m gonna form it into my ball, and you want to like claw a little bit like that. That way, a perfect ball forms. And I’m just gonna press down on that. You can use a rolling pin to help you out if you want. Like this. I’m gonna put a little butter inside. This way, I can peel it open. Just gonna fold it over, just like that. So while this sitting here, I don’t want it to dry out. I wanna put a moist towel on it. This way. Have fun with your food, all right? I’m rolling them all in different shapes. Brush this with a little butter. Might as well. And repeat. Let’s keep going. So have my coco bread. It’s gonna proof. I’m gonna put it to the side while I work on my beef patties. And you can see, you know, It’s pretty warm in here. So the first ones are already starting to proof. So now we’re gonna roll out our beef patties. I’m gonna get my dough that’s been chilling for at least 24 hours. You want it to be cold, so you want this butter still to be hard. This is gonna create those layers in between the dough and puff up and create that reaction that makes flaky dough. All right. The dough is now completely hydrated. Before, you saw some like dry spots in there. There’s nothing like that there now. I’m gonna dust this with some flour. Place my ball right on there. I wanna work this a little bit. And I’m gonna work one piece at a time. You can see all those layers of that butter in there. It’s beautiful, absolutely stunning. And as I work it, It’s gonna get a little bit more malleable, but I want to flip it as I’m doing it. And then as I push it, you’ll see the butter started to stretch. The butter starts to stretch into these long striations. It’s gonna create this beautiful flaky dough. Now I’m gonna cut out some rounds. So I’m punching out some rounds, and you can use anything that’s round in your kitchen. This is a bain-marie that I’m using here. And you can also reuse this dough. So don’t throw it out. So I’m gonna get my filling, a scoop. I’m gonna fill this beef patty dough with that mixture. Don’t need too much, and then flip over. It’ll just hold together. I’m gonna take my fork and crimp it down. If it doesn’t stick when you use your fork, just seal it with a little bit of water and kind of go back over it. All right, so I’m gonna put these in the fridge to cool back, so the butter is really cold when it bakes. So I have my coco bread that’s proofed. It’s looking beautiful. I’m gonna just brush it with some butter one more time. And I have a sheet tray in the here that’s hot. I’m just gonna add a little bit of water and that’s gonna add some steam to it as it cooks. So I’m gonna cook this for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until It’s golden brown. So this bread is beautiful. Has a nice golden brown tinge to it. I’m gonna just brush it with a little bit more butter, and we’re gonna let this rest while the patties bake. So I’m just making an egg wash. A little bit of water and a whole egg, and you just wanna whisk it so it all incorporates into one homogenous liqui. And now I’m gonna take my beef patties, brush it with this wash and place it right in the oven. And this is gonna help make it a little bit shiny. So we’re gonna bake these from 12 to 15 minutes until they’re golden brown. So the beef patties are flaky. They’re perfectly cooked. I’m gonna take ’em out and eat ’em with a coco bread. Wow. Look at that. You can see the places where the butter was, and it created these beautiful flakes in the dome. The way that they’re done, like in a lot of shops, you know, they’re done with these machines. This is how it looks when you do it by hand. And I think they’re equally as beautiful, but I love the process of making these by hand. So I’m gonna take the coco bread, see how easy it is to open ’cause of the layer of fat that I put there. I’m gonna place this right in there. It’s so flavorful. All the ingredients are fresh. I mean you can see all of the different layers in this beef patty. This coco bread is nice and sweet and pillowy. It just cuts the heat from the patty. And then, you know, It’s a perfect vessel so you can eat it. Your hands don’t get dirty. Mm. This is so worth the time it takes to make it from scratch.

About the Instructor

Kwame Onwuachi started peeling shrimp and stirring roux at 5 years old in his mother’s catering kitchen in the Bronx. The James Beard Award-winning chef has received many accolades since then, including FOOD & WINE’S Best New Chef, Esquire Magazine’s 2019 Chef of the Year, 30 Under 30 honoree by both Forbes and Zagat, and has appeared on Bravo’s Top Chef as both a contestant and judge. In his class, Onwuachi embraces the richness of Afro-Caribbean culture and cuisine, and teaches students how to cook his favorite Jamaican recipes.

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