Pandebono, or pan de bono, is a delicious cheese bread, perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack with coffee. It's a simple recipe made with cheese and two kinds of flour -- tapioca flour (cassava or yuca starch) and cornmeal. The precooked cornmeal called masarepa used to make arepas works well, as does regular cornmeal. You can even order a special mix for making these rolls called harina de pandebono. The cheesiness comes from salty farmer's cheese, or any mild, firm cheese that melts well, such as quesillo, Monterey jack, mozzarella or a mixture of these cheeses with a bit of cheddar and/or Parmesan.
The dough is shaped into balls or rings, which puff up nicely in the oven even though there's no leavening ingredient. The pandebono are best when they're warm and soft, and they reheat very well in the oven.
Traditionally, pandebono is consumed a few minutes after baking while still warm with hot chocolate. If you'd like to serve them with a meal, the best entrees to eat with pandebono are savory foods like meats and other protein-rich foods; the balance of protein with the starchy bread is satiating and will leave you wanting more.
- 1 cup yellow masarepa (pre-cooked cornmeal)
- 1/2 cup tapioca (cassava or yuca) flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 cups grated farmer's cheese, Monterey Jack, or mozzarella
- 2 eggs
- Salt to taste
- A few teaspoons of milk or buttermilk, optional
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a cookie sheet.
- Mix the two flours and the sugar in a bowl.
- Stir in the grated cheese and the eggs. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Taste for salt, and add salt as needed.
- Knead dough until smooth. If the dough seems too dry, add a few teaspoons of milk or buttermilk. The dough should be soft and pliable. Let dough rest for about 10 minutes, covered with plastic wrap.
- Pull off sections of dough and roll into balls that are slightly larger than golf balls. To shape the dough into rings (rosquillas), first roll a piece of dough into a cylinder, then join the ends together to form a circle. The rolls do not have to be perfectly smooth - they will puff up during the last several minutes of baking.
- Place rolls on prepared cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden in color and puffed. Serve warm.