Brazilian Cheese Bread

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.

Brazilian Cheese Bread
Adapted from experiments with recipes from Emma Christensen at The Kitchn & Simply Recipes

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.

2. Coconut
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.

If you make this recipe, please snap a pic and hashtag it #myfoodlovestory — I love seeing your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter.




55 thoughts on “Brazilian Cheese Bread

  1. Lauraji~
    omg this bread looks divine and I can almost smell it through the screen! As always, mahalo for sharing and shining your bright light!
    Love and aloha,

  2. Excited to try this bread for my gluten intolerant friend! Happy to hear you are back in San Diego – would love to see you at the San Diego Yoga festival!

    • Happy to hear I might see you in January at the SD Yoga Festival. Meanwhile, I send you big love and big hugs. Thanks Marcelle.

  3. These look really delicious Laura. They remind me of Yucca Buns I’ve made before, which I think came from a Mexican recipe. So maybe there’s a Mexican version as well?! But I love the addition of macadamia nuts especially. Enjoy Hawaii and wishing you a lovely holiday season!

    • Thank you Katie. My friend Alina wrote that her family makes “Pan de Yuca” in Ecuador. I am curious about how many traditional cultures have something like this… Blessings to you too for these beautiful holidays.

  4. I will definitely be making these. Thank you!
    And the festival looks fantastic. Best of luck to everyone.

  5. What a wonderful Christmas present! Thank you Laura – can’t wait to try this healthier version of my homeland’s favorite bread. Guilt free pan de yuca here I come! 😀

    • Thank you Alina. I would love to have your homeland’s original “pan de yuca” recipe too. Hope you like the GF version. 💛

  6. So happy to hear you will be teaching at the San Diego Yoga Festival in January! I’ll try this recipe. It looks so good!

  7. Guilt-free bread!?!? Count me in and thank you so much for the vegan options! I finally got around to making the The Life-Altering Loaf of Bread right before Thanksgiving and loved it. I am looking forward to trying this one when I am back in my own place next week. <3

    • Thanks Cheryl. I hope you do like this. It is almost the opposite of the life-altering bread, in that it is so light and breezy cheesy. Good luck with your home return. I hope to see you at the SDYF. 💛

  8. Look forward to making this tasty bread … hope you are doing well Laura and would love to win tickets to the yoga festival for me and my friend Sarah.

  9. I am very
    happy to hear you are in Hawaii! And I’ll be even happier to see you at the San Diego Yoga Festival (Ocean Beach?) in January. <3

    Sally Morgan

    • Sally, It is too hard to have to pick only one winner – so I picked two to double everyone’s chances.This one, though, is for only one ticket. And your name was pulled! Congratulations!

  10. Hi Laura, I just saw you in a short film on The Science of Yoga via UpliftConnect. It was cool and I was happy to see you:) Please include me as possible Festival goer and thank you for the opportunity. PEACE p.s. The Bread sounds delicious

  11. Laura thank you so much for sharing the love! Can’t wait to try these😍 Me and Pieter would truly appreciate the chance to go to the SD yoga fest☺️ And we are looking forward to our big day thanks to your amazing Jyotish readings can’t say enough 🙏🏻💕Merry Christmas 🎄

    • Thank you Jenna! I am looking forward to your big day for you both as well! You are a divine couple. Your marriage is a union of true souls. Hope to see you at the San Diego Yoga Festival!

    • Congratulations Jenna! You and Pieter are going to the San Diego Yoga Festival! I look forward to seeing you there!

  12. Hi Laura, definitely going to try these, they sound and look delicious. I would love the opportunity to return to San Diego for the Yoga Festival. And of course see you! Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas and New Year!

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