Traditionally associated with Easter, this cheese bread from Paraguay has a dense chewy texture similar to the classic wheat bialys New Yorkers are so fond of. This recipe was shared with us by Judy Haubert, who learned how to make it from a Paraguayan friend.
Note: Also called "cassava" or "manioc," yucca flour or starch can be found in many South American, African, Caribbean and Southeast Asian specialty markets.
- 2 1⁄2 cups yucca flour (see note), plus extra for rolling
- 1 cup corn meal, plus extra for dusting
- 1⁄2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1⁄4 tsp. salt
- 4 eggs
- 1⁄2 cup milk
- 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 tbsp. anise seeds, lightly toasted
- 3⁄4 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1⁄4 cup grated parmesan
- 1⁄3 cup crumbled feta
- 1⁄2 cup shredded cheddar
- Flake sea salt, to garnish
Whisk yucca flour, corn meal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Using your hands or a pastry cutter, blend butter into dry ingredients until mixture holds together in pea-sized lumps. Make a well in the center of the mixture and whisk in eggs and milk until a stiff dough forms. Fold in anise seeds andcheese until dough comes together into a firm ball. Divide dough into quarters, then divide each quarter into 4 equal sized balls. Cover and chill 20-30 minutes.
Heat oven to 400°F with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment and dust lightly with cornmeal. Lightly flour your hands and a clean work surface with yucca flour, and roll each ball into a rope approximately 7-inches long and 1⁄2-inch thick. Bring ends together to form a circle and press to seal. Place 3-inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle lightly with flake sea salt. Bake 12-15 minutes until puffed and lightly golden. Serve warm.