I can't lie and say that I don't miss eating bread on my grain-free diet. I am Latino and Italian, both of which are great bread eaters. My family in Costa Rica made bread for the whole town of Puriscal for decades. Bread is in my blood. I've probably eaten enough bread for two lifetimes if I was honest about my previous consumption. Nonetheless, I experience health problems when I eat grains or foods made from grain flours. So I've had to adjust my life in order to feel better and live longer.
On my last trip to Costa Rica early this year I discovered that they make many non-grain flours there. I was suprised to learn that a traditional cheese bread eaten in many Latin American countries is actually grain-free! Pan de Yuca (yucca buns) are a delicious grain-free cheesey bread that can be eaten on a grain-free diet. It may not be for the strict Paleo Dieter because it is somewhat processed and does have cheese. But I've made adjustments to the recipe to make it healthier and less allergy provoking.
Yuca is another name for cassava. Cassava is a woody shrub native to South America. Its tuberous root is eaten whole. When it is dried to a starchy powdery extract it is called tapioca. For baking it is lightly processed into a flour (or starch). This is the form used for baking our yucca buns. While researching my topic I found that in Spanish it is spelled yuca, while in English many people choose to spell this food as yucca. However, yucca is a different species of shrub altogether and is typically not used for eating. For our purposes here and to avoid too much confusion, I will leave the spelling with a double c.
Yucca flour (or starch) can be purchased at Whole Foods under several brand names. Most health food stores should also carry this flour. Zocalo Gourmet, Bob's Red Mill and Chebe are three that I've used successfully in making these buns. Please note if you buy the Chebe brand, follow the instructions on the box as that has some ingredients already mixed in.
Most people that react to dairy containing foods are able to consume goat milk without remorse. Goats milk has far less of the allergy causing proteins than bovine dairy (cow dairy) and their fats are more easily digestible. There are several distinctions in goat milk that make it a better choice for the sensitive eater. In the traditional recipe for yucca buns bakers have used regular cow's milk cheeses, and lots of it. I have substituted the cheese in the traditional recipe with a goat's milk cheese and cut the amount in half. I have also substituted butter with coconut oil. It does have eggs in it, but you can make it without eggs if you double up the cheese again. I find these delicious, especially right out of the oven!
Yucca Buns Recipe
- 2 cups of yucca flour (also known as manioc, cassava or tapioca flour)
- 2 cups of goat milk hard cheese shredded
- 2 pastured eggs
- 2 oz of unrefined coconut oil (melted but not warm)
- 1 teaspoon of gluten-free baking powder
- a pinch of sea-salt
- 1-2 tablespoons of water if needed
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Combine the yucca flour, baking powder, cheese and salt in a mixing bowl (you may also mix in a food processor)
- Add the oil and eggs (make sure the oil is not warm from melting or you will have cooked eggs!)
- Mix by hand until you have a ball you can knead. You may have to add a little water until it's the right consistency.
- Make small round balls (about 16) and place on a cookie sheet over parchment paper, or grease the pan with a little coconut oil
- Bake for 20-25 minutes on 400 degrees. They should turn golden brown.
Yucca buns are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. They are delicious served warm. Enjoy!