My favorite type of bread has always been focaccia. AND My Paleo Version Was PURE Accident.
Foccacia is a fluffy Italian bread, thicker than pizza dough but similar in taste and texture. It is typically made with high-gluten flour, oil, water, salt and yeast and flavored with fresh herbs like rosemary (bake in or sprinkled on top). It’s often used as a base for thick crust pizza or dipped in olive oil and eaten as an appetizer or snack.
My focaccia hits the spot when I am craving a carb-laden, comfort breakfast.
My gluten-free focaccia is made mostly from yuca pulp, tapioca flour and eggs. I didn’t set out to make focaccia, but was mostly experimenting with yuca pulp, ever since discovering some frozen and shredded stuff in a neighborhood shop. It’s also called cassava.
The amazing properties of yuca
Yuca might sound exotic but you’ve most likely tried it before if you’ve ever baked with Tapioca Flour, which comes from yuca. Through experience I’ve found that the properties of tapioca flour bake and taste differently than fresh yuca. The fresh stuff has a mild taste and bakes into a slightly harder texture.
Amazingly, freshly mashed yuca is starchy enough to make a dough with no additional ingredients other than oil. I didn’t believe it would stick together without eggs but it does beautifully. That’s why it’s so popular among the egg-free crowd (ie: people on the Paleo Autoimmune protocol).
My focaccia does have eggs in it, but you can leave them out. The eggs make it slightly fluffier and spongier, but this dough sticks together and tastes good without them. But if you eat eggs, I do recommend them for this recipe.
Feel free to sprinkle dried or fresh rosemary (or your favorite herbs) in the dough for added flavor. I didn’t do this because I wasn’t intending to make focaccia, but to my delight, that’s what this strongly reminded me of.
Of course it doesn’t taste exactly like the real thing, but for a Paleo version, it’s pretty darn close. And looks a lot like it too.
This bread tastes best fresh out of the oven or freshly toasted with a bit of salty butter. When I have those rare bread cravings it definitely satisfies.
**I have read that sometimes yuca can cross react in people with celiac disease as the body mistakes the proteins in yuca for gluten. This happens rarely but I wanted to be upfront about all the possible yuca risks.
6 tablespoons of tapioca flour or arrowroot flour
1 Teaspoon of salt
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of baking powder or baking soda
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into a glass baking dish lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
***Note on using Tapioca flour: sometimes the bread turns out a bit gummy in the middle. If this happens, cut it in half so it is half as thick/tall. Toast the bread or bake it at 350 for 10 minutes. The tapioca may turn light brown as the starches in it caramelize. But watch it so it doesn’t burn.
It’s delicious toasted and with butter spread on it. Or tear off a piece and dip it in spiced olive oil.
Substituting arrowroot flour instead of tapioca will make it a bit less gummy. But it’s the gumminess of yuca that perfectly mimics the sponginess of real focaccia.
While I mostly enjoyed this for breakfast it was a delicious accompaniment to tilapia with cherry chutney and a bacon cabbage stir fry . Recipe for coming to the blog next week.
- 1 cups of shredded or mashed yuca (if you can't find it frozen check out this video on how to peel, boil and mash fresh yuca)
- 6 tablespoons of Tapioca Flour or arrowroot flour.
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder or baking soda
- Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into a glass baking dish lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
- ***Note on using Tapioca flour. Sometimes the bread turns out a bit gummy in the middle. If this happens, cut it in half so it is half as thick (tall). Toast the bread before you eat it or bake it at 350 for 10 minutes. The tapioca may turn brown as the starches in it caramelize. But watch it so it doesn't burn.
- It's delicious toasted and with butter spread on it. Or tear it off and dip it in olive oil.