Ecuadorian pan de yuca are small cheesy breads made with yuca flour (cassava/tapioca starch) and cheese. There are variations of these delicious breads in many Latin countries. They are known as chipas in Paraguay/Argentina, pan de queso in Colombia, cuñape in Bolivia, and pao de queijo in Brazil. The variations and exact ingredients vary from one place to another, my recipe for pan de yuca is made with yuca starch, cheese, butter and eggs. Yuca bread makes a delicious warm appetizer and the breads can be made in advance and baked minutes before serving. Leftover breads will get hard when they get cold, but can be reheated in the microwave (great for breakfast the day after). The flour is made from yuca root, and is also known as cassava or tapioca starch, the flour can be found in specialty stores.
Pan de yuca, also known as cheese bread or yuca bread, are yummy melt in your mouth warm breads made with cheese and yuca or cassava starch
- 2 ½ cups yuca starch (sometimes also called yuca flour) or tapioca starch
- 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 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
- Optional: 2-4 tbs water (or milk), if the dough is very dry
- Tree tomato hot sauce
- 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 500 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. I find that they turn out best if you do let them chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes before baking.
- Once the oven reaches 500F, turn on broiler, place the breads on the middle rack and bake until the breads are golden, about 5-7 minutes. Another option is to pre-heat the oven to 400F and bake at 400F for about 5 minutes and then turn on the broiler.
- Serve immediately, can be served alone or with tree tomato aji.
In Ecuador, pan de yuca is usually served with yogurt smoothies and there are several restaurants whose specialty is yuca bread with yogurt. I usually serve yuca bread as an appetizer, with tree tomato aji, but they are also great for breakfast or with an afternoon coffee or tea. My kids love yuca bread and I always let them have some dough so they can make their own shapes: ovals, triangles, spirals, etc. They get very excited as they watch the oven and wait for their bread to be ready.
I used to make yuca bread by hand, and it is probably one of the easiest breads to make by hand, the ingredients are easy to mix, but it is a little bit sticky, so I tried using the food processor instead and it works great. If you don’t have a food processor or prefer to make it by hand, just melt the butter to make it easier to mix the ingredients.
Photos of yuca bread or pan de yuca preparation: