Girlichef announced this month's Bread Baking Day topic, and it's corn galore...... I've had my eye on these Columbian pandebonos for a while, and this is a great excuse to get busy!
If you are not familiar with Bread Baking Day, or BBD for short, it's a monthly event for bakers and wanna-be bakers that was created by Zorra of Kochtopf. A new theme is chosen by a different host each month. You bake and post your findings on your blog, send in the picture and the URL and hey presto! At the end of the month there is a roundup and your picture and your blog will be showcased for all to see.
It's a great way to get into baking, or to expand your repertoire, and it is fascinating to see what everybody's interpretation of the theme is. This group has some amazingly creative people! Bread Baking Day can also be found on Facebook.
Pandebonos are cheesy, corn-y little rolls that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or as a snack. Traditionally from Columbia, the story goes that an Italian street vendor would offer these for sale, announcing his wares with "pan del bono, pan del bono" ("the tasteful bread"). Over time, the rolls were called pandebonos.....
Whether it's true or not, who cares.....the cheesy rolls are pleasant to eat and easy to make. Now that's good bread!
I found the Harina P.A.N. at our local Hispanic markets and some larger local grocery stores have started carrying it as well. If you are unable to find it, use a finely ground corn meal instead and skip the two tablespoons of yellow corn meal in the recipe. The Harina P.A.N. that I used is the white variety and I wanted a bit more color in the rolls. If you use the yellow harina, you can skip that step as well.
As for the cheese, queso fresco or farmer's cheese is the cheese by choice. Taste the cheeese beforehand to determine how salty it is, farmer's cheeses tend to vary greatly in level of saltiness. If rather bland, you may want to add some salt to the dough. Personally, I'd prefer a bit more cheese flavor, so will probably replace one cup of the queso fresco with feta, or with a sharp cheddar or an aged Gouda. Not entirely traditional, but hey.....this Dutch girl likes her cheese!
1/2 cup of tapioca flour (also known as tapioca starch)
2 tablespoons of yellow corn meal
2 teaspoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
2 cups of shredded queso fresco
1/2 cup of milk
salt to taste
Mix the two flours, the corn meal, the salt if needed, the sugar and baking powder. Add the cheese and stir in the eggs, one by one. Add half of the milk and knead, if it's too dry use the rest of the milk. Knead for a good five minutes or until the dough comes together and the grittiness of the precooked corn meal has disappeared. Divide into fifteen pieces, roll each piece into a ball of about 2oz. Place next to each other, but not touching as they puff up considerably, on a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet, or grease a muffin pan and place a dough ball in each muffin space and push them down a tad so they fill the cup.
Bake at 400F for a good fifteen minutes or until slightly golden. Cool for a bit, if you can wait, and eat lukewarm......yummie!!
Makes about 15 pandebonos.