You know how bread just seems to love you?
These Brazilian bread rolls are love with all the benefits – warm, tasty, cheesy, light, golden, and guilt-free. In fact once word got out, they disappeared before we could even serve them with dinner. And that was only the first, experimental batch.
After I made that batch, I felt like they’d be even better with a savory herb. Maybe because it’s holiday season, or maybe because at that time I was surrounded by wild, medicinal herbs in the Santa Monica mountains… In any case, it was rosemary I heard singing.
If you do include fresh rosemary, give it a little pan fry, with a splash of olive oil and a dash of salt, to firm and flavor it up before adding to the dough. Dried sage or thyme would give it a pop as well.
You can usually find tapioca flour at a large market, or you can order it from Bob’s Red Mill.
1 1/2 c cassava flour, or tapioca flour
2/3 c coconut milk
1/3 c coconut oil
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 t baking powder
1 T yogurt (can be non-dairy)
2 eggs or flax gel (recipe below)
1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese
a small handful of rosemary leaves
optional: 1/2 c finely ground macadamia nut
Baking Tray or Muffin Tin
Preheat the oven to 450F, and oil the baking tray or muffin tin generously.
Put all the ingredients, except the eggs, cheese and rosemary, into a blender and mix thoroughly. Let sit for anywhere from an hour to overnight. Break in the eggs and mix well. Add the cheese and pulse until blended. If you are including macadamia nuts, add them now, followed by the rosemary. Pulse lightly.
Lightly oil your hands with coconut oil. Spoon a scoop of dough and roll it in your hands to make a round. Lay these out in rows on your baking tray. Or, spoon into the muffin tins. Keep a bowl of water close by to dip your spoon or scooper, and fingers, to prevent sticking.
Put the tray or tin in the oven, and immediately turn down the heat to 350°F. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the puffs barely begin to turn golden.
Flax Gel, also called Flax Eggs
Substituting for 2 eggs
2 T flaxseed meal (freshly ground raw flaxseed)
5 T water
In a small bowl, mix together the flax and water. Let sit five minutes to gel and it’s ready.
Btw, “Flax eggs” don’t bind and stiffen during baking the way eggs do, so your bread puffs may not come out as round, light and airy as the traditional. But they do taste great, and I think they’re rather handsome in their own right.
This is how they look with flax instead of egg. It shapes a bit like a cookie – pretty, with those flaxy flecks offsetting those cheesy amber veins.
Brazil gets credit for these delightful little rolls, but I am in Hawaii now, where thee recipe is resonant of indigenous island pacific foods.
1. Root Vegetable Flour
To start, Hawaiians have made breads with taro flour traditionally. The flour in this bread roll is cassava, the same root that gives us tapioca. Using roots to make flour not only makes it gluten free, it also makes it rooting and grounding.
Yes, tapioca! Called yuca or cassava, it is eaten as a root, fried or steamed, and also ground to make a flour for bread. Kumu Aina Organic Farm on Lanai shows you how to grow your own, and offers recipes like Yuca Enchilada, and Yuca Hash Browns.
To make these healthier I swapped out milk and vegetable oil for coconut milk and coconut oil. More Hawaiiana…
3. Minerals from the Sea
The Hawaiian sea floats you. And it’s soft. It doesn’t feel like water. It feels like love. What makes it so floaty and dreamy? The rich minerals. Harvested – you’ve got Hawaiian sea salt.
Ayurveda describes the salty taste as supporting, soothing, softening. So what mineral-rich sea salts do for you when you swim, they do for you on the inside too. Think of your organs, tissues and cells getting to float in balmy waters.
4. Macadamia Nuts
You could go for the full Aloha with ground macadamia nuts. It would add color, richness and depth.
5. Healthy Living
Like Hawaii, this is I love you, Mahalo, healthy. First, it’s gluten-free. Second, it’s high in fiber (unlike most breads that take up residence in your gut, with no payout for the privilege).
Just as Hawaii is a tri-doshic paradise, meaning it offers health and healing for all, this recipe offers health however you define it. With egg, it’s Paleo. Substitute the egg for flax, the parmesan for nutritional yeast, and it’s Vegan.
As the Sanskrit saying goes, Vasudeva Kutumbam – we are all members of God’s family. Our family is our earth; it is our foundation, our support, the ground we walk on, live on, rely on. Earth is our mother, who nourishes with vibrant, plentiful bounty.
Whatever food culture it may be – Brazilian, Hawaiian, a savory splash of European by way of California – and however we mix it up, if it comes from our “mother,” it will have that love in it.
So, let’s get into the kitchen, or the studio, or our schools, or workplace, and use what confronts us to create. Let’s find the love that is always there – like cassava or taro sometimes hidden underground – even if it means digging deeper to find it. It’s love our world needs now more than ever.
Speaking of love, I have two tickets to the San Diego Yoga Festival to give away for free. Two tickets absolutely for free, thanks to the generous Festival Producers Shawna and Melanie.