Learn about the main ingredients for making Paraguayan chipa. Ingredients that you can use whether you're in Paraguay or in another country and get the same delicious chipa you can find on any Paraguayan street.
We are just a few weeks away from Easter. Here in Paraguay, it is very common for people to come from the city to the countryside to visit their relatives and part of that visit involves making and eating chipa.
Chipa is a gluten-free bread. It's made with cassava/manioc/yuca starch, cheese, eggs, milk, and anise. It's a simple bread, often made in a donut shape and it's served with a cup of hot cocido (a tea made with yerba mate). With a crunchy crust and spongy in the inside.
In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing with you 4 different chipa recipes. Some traditional and others not so traditional, but all very yummy. For these recipes, I have my friend Jazmín Schmidt from Lo de Jaz sharing her favorite chipa recipes with us. An amazing and very creative baker.
Ingredients for chipa
Today we talk about the ingredients and how to knead chipa. I hope it will help you and encourage you to participate by making one or all four recipes with us.
Paraguayan cheese: it's a fresh cheese, with a mild flavor. Depending on the brand, it's creamy or with a slightly firm texture (I used Trebol)
Alternatives: some fresh cheese would be the most similar. But I have also used mozzarella and other people cottage cheese. Cheddar cheese. Half feta cheese and half mozzarella.
Butter: butter or lard? this recipe was made with unsalted butter, but people in the countryside (where I live) swear it's better with lard ? (I used Trebol)
Eggs: in the countryside, people use fresh eggs, but these eggs tend to be smaller than the store bought ones and you need to increase the amount of liquid to one or 2 tablespoons. These recipes were made with eggs weighing 59 grams.
Milk: use whole milk, better yet, sour milk. To make sour milk, add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to your milk and let it rest for 5 minutes before using.
Salt: Paraguay cheese contains very little salt. Depending on your cheese, you need to increase or decrease the amount of salt. How do you know if your dough has enough salt? just try a little bit of the dough before you continue kneading.
Corn Flour: The cornflour in Paraguay is fresh. The corn is boiled for a short amount of time and then passed through the mill. This flour is a little bit hard to get in other countries. But since our recipes use a small amount of corn flour, you can use whatever you can find in your country.
Cassava starch: Having baked in different countries, I can tell you that some starches are dryer than others. Some seem to absorb more liquid and you're left with a very wet dough. If your dough does not come together, add a little more milk, always starting with 1 tablespoon. If you have never baked with cassava starch, you will realize that it absorbs the liquid very quickly, that is why it is important to have extra starch.
Anise: It is not chipa if it doesn't have anise seeds. But the seeds have a strong flavor that not everyone likes. I used only ¼ teaspoon in my recipes, but if it's something you like, use 1 teaspoon.
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Dough for chipa
What happens if my dough is too wet? your chipa won´t rise. The flavor is the same, but it won´t look like chipa ?
Dough: The texture of the dough is playdough-like. If the dough cracks a lot and doesn´t want to come together, add a little bit more liquid. After kneading, let the dough rest for half an hour. If you have an electric mixer with a dough hook, use it and mix it for 3 to 4 minutes.
Oven: It´s very important that the oven is very hot, especially for chipa licuadora. Your chipa will rise and brown nicely.
I hope this has helped you and encourages you to join us next week. See you on Tuesday!
Note: this post was first published on March 3rd., 2018.
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