Let’s paint a bucolic picture? It’s a fresh sunny afternoon. The smell of fresh coffee is coming from the kitchen. Or the noise of a teapot announcing that tea time is almost here. Think about that fresh squeezed lemonade or a sweet orange juice (with or without plum, your call).
Now tell me… What’s missing from that portrait? Cookies? Crackers? Fresh bread? A cake? What if you tried something different for a change?
Cassava flour is super trendy nowadays because it’s gluten free and it’s rich in vitamins such as magnesium, manganese, copper, vitamin B9 (folic acid / folate) and vitamin C. Cassava flour is the main ingredient for “pão de queijo” a Brazilian cheese bread that’s getting more and more popular (you must try if you haven’t!! I have a super easy recipe here that uses tapioca pearls).
The original recipe for pão de queijo can be quite tricky. I have a strong child memory of my great-aunt making them at the beach house. You have to parboil the flour with hot oil and milk. It’s too much work.
I’m not saying you can’t make the original pão de queijo if you want it, but it’s nice to have a simpler option which is also vegan, because we already know that vegan food is not at all boring, right?
Here in Brazil, this vegan version of the pão de queijo is also called pão de beijo, or “kiss bread”. I find it to be quite a cute name.
The pictures you’ll see on this post are from a bread that I made using mandioquinha, which in free translation means ‘little manioc’, is a very popular South American plant with an edible root that’s similar in sweetness to a sweet potato, that’s why I’m suggesting you use sweet potato for this recipe. And, of course, because I have tried it and I know it works.
Oh! And let me say that my small crew (AKA my nieces) approved the little creamy breads, and we all know that kids don’t like food to be polite, right?
Vegan sweet potato bread
500g of sweet potato (or any kind of potato)
500g of cassava flour
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup of water (more or less)
1 tea spoon of turmeric powder
1 tea spoon of rosemary
Salt to taste
- Before anything pick the root that’s going to be the base for your bread. It can be plain potato, orange sweet potato… I’m dying to do it with purple sweet potato ‘cause I think it’ll be so pretty. Anyhow, chose you tuber and stick with it! Oh, and of course tried a recipe with pumpkin and will post the result here ASAP.
- Peel and slice the sweet potato and cook it in boiling water. Remember that the smaller the slice, the quicker it’ll cook. You know it’s done when you stick a fork on it and you feel it tender.
- Dry the water and smash the sweet potato with a fork or a potato squeezer in order to make a purée. It’s literally mashed potatoes! No mystery here. And don’t worry if you end up with a lumpy purée, we’ll knead the dough and you be lumpy free
- Wait for this mashed potato to cool a bit so you won’t burn your hands.
- When you feel it’s nice to the touch you can take a large bowl and, to this purée, add the cassava four and the olive oil. You can start by stiring it with a spoon until you have some sort of crumble.
- Add the salt, turmeric and rosemary.
- Now it’s time to get you hand dirty. Literally! Think about all your troubles and smash it up with your hands. It’s that meditation moment of the day. You’ll feel that you’re crushing all your worries away. Kneading can be therapeutic. Trust me!
- As long as the dough starts to form you start adding the water. Little by little because the amount of water you need to water will depend on how watery your potato will be. You may need the whole 1/3 of cup, you may need more than this, or you may need almost nothing at all.
- When the dough is no longer sticking to the pan you can go to your sink or work surface and keep kneading and exorcizing your problems until you end up with a silky dough.
- Make small balls of it (or big ones, it depends on how you want them, but I find that when using cassava flour, the ideal, is not to make such big balls) and spread them on a baking tray. No need to grease it.
- They will grow a bit, so spread them a bit apart.
- You want them to bake in a pre-heated oven (400°F) for about 30 minutes or until they are golden brown. Careful not to over bake them, otherwise they won’t be soft inside.
Don’t be alarmed for your breads will probably be more round and less puffed than mine. It’s normal. I made this batch in Brazil and here we have two different kinds of cassava flour (sweet and sour) and that’s what makes them look like this. The so called sweet cassava flour is the one we find worldwide and the sour one in pretty much the same but it goes through a fermentation process. Nonetheless, do not worry. I promise yours will taste just as good. They will be crispy on the outside and smooth and airy on the inside.
If you want to check how they turn out with plain cassava flour you can check my friend’s Creative in my kitchen blog for she tested the recipe in the USA.
And now, the best part of it. You can freeze them!
place the balls on a baking tray and put them on the freezer. No need to pre bake. Once they’re firm enough you can store them in freezing bags or a freezer safe Tupperware.
They go from the freezer straight to the oven and take about 40 minutes to bake.
It couldn’t be easier.