Natalie from Natalie Notions and I have joined forces through the coLAB project (which you can read about here). Since we are both passionate about culture and food, we decided to challenge ourselves to cook a dish from our cultural heritage. Natalie made biscotti and I decided to try making pan de yuca, or yuca (manioc) bread. Pan de yuca is also commonly called cheese bread and there are different versions in other countries like Brazil and Colombia.
I loved this challenge because I don’t know how to cook much Ecuadorian food, much to my dismay! My son and I cook often, but for some reason cooking Ecuadorian food has always intimidated me. After my trip to Quito last year I came back determined to try to learn to cook more, so this coLAB project was the perfect opportunity.
I reached out to the amazing food blogger and Ecuadorian cuisine expert, Layla Pujol, to ask her for some advice. I was hosting friends for brunch and I definitely wanted to show off my skills.
The panes de yuca were a SUCCESS! I couldn’t believe that I was able to do it and that it was relatively easy– this project has definitely helped me get more comfortable and want to explore cooking more traditional foods at home!
Here is the pan de yuca recipe, from Laylita’s site (reprinted with permission).
- 2 ½ cups yuca starch (sometimes also called yuca flour) or tapioca starch
- 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese (I used Ecuadorian cheese instead)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 stick of butter (4 oz or 113 grams), room temperature, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 large eggs (I used 3 medium ones)
- Optional 1-2 tbs water, if needed
What I loved most about this recipe was that it was so easy that my son was able to help! He had a lot of fun grating cheese, rolling the dough into balls and putting them on the sheet.
Note: Laylita’s recipe has an option to make the dough in the food processor, I chose to do it by hand.
The recipe below adapted from Laylita’s recipe:
- Combine the yuca starch or flour, cheese, baking powder and salt in a food processor, blend to mix well.
- Add the butter and eggs.
- Mix until small dough balls begin to form, if it’s too dry add 1-2 tbs of water.
- Remove the dough from the food processor and roll into a ball, you can make the dough ahead and store in the refrigerator for up to a day.
- To make the dough by hand, combine all the ingredients in large bowl, using melted (cooled down) butter, and mix until you have a smooth dough. It’s actually very easy to prepare by hand.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 F.
- Make small round shaped breads with the dough and place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Bake immediately or store in the fridge until ready to bake. Laylita says “I find that they turn out best if you do let them chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes before baking.” Personally, I made the dough and refrigerated until the next morning.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400F and bake at 400F for about 5 minutes and then turn on the broiler until golden on top (I calculate about 2 minutes, be sure to keep an eye on it).
Participating in the coLAB project with Natalie has definitely made me get out of my comfort zone and helped me get over my fear of cooking Ecuadorian food.
Natalie also whipped up something delicious! Check out her biscotti recipe!