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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Chebe focaccia

chebe focaccia

I first tasted this lovely gluten-free focaccia on a bitter cold night in Breckenridge, Colorado. Lovely as the Chef's small hometown is, it didn't strike me, at first, as the hotbed of gluten-free eating. How wrong I was. Even the tiniest grocery store stocked items new to me on their spare shelves. We picked up a package of this and took it to the Chef's sister's house to make with dinner.

I've been buying packages ever since.

Chebe makes wonderfully decent mixes of gluten-free bread products. Their main flour is manioc, and the bread is meant to remind us of the Brazilian "pao de queijo" (the little cheese puffs I first encountered in New York, at Puff and Pao). With a slightly coarser texture than most gluten-free flours, manioc has a distinctive taste: slightly nutty, with a tiny tang. I love that Chebe has dedicated itself to only making mixes with this flour. They've cornered the manioc market.

I like the breadsticks. I haven't had the courage to try the cinnamon rolls yet, but other people have told me to stop being so silly. And the original bread mix, the one that makes the cheese puffs, works every time.

But I like the focaccia best. Yesterday, I spontaneously stirred up some batter from the package sitting in the cupboard, on the shelf above the coffee. When I pulled it warm out of the oven, the Chef remarked how good this chewy bread with a solid crunch on the edges would taste with a couple of eggs over easy. But we never made it that far. We just ate the entire little focaccia bread over the time it took us to read the newspaper, tearing off hunks of the fragrant herby snack and talking slowly. "This reminds me of good sausages," he said.

He's right.

I might just make some more tomorrow.



Blogger Katie said...

I discovered some amazing products just today made with the same manioc flour, and it's DELICIOUS!! will ship to anywhere in north america. I can't have sugar or dairy either, the sundried tomato is my favorite, toasted with some avocado and sesame seeds!

I'm going to keep my eyes out for this chebe too, thanks for the info! Looking forward to all the posts to come!

August 19, 2008 at 9:49 PM  
Blogger MrsMama said...

We love Chebe. They make a pizza crust so yummy that my GF teenager feels like she's not missing out on her favorite food. The rest of us keep sneaking little bites - it's that good.

I also love that you can buy Chebe in bulk from their website.

August 19, 2008 at 10:53 PM  
OpenID easstone said...

I have tried their pizza dough mix. It's awesome.

August 21, 2008 at 6:04 AM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

I also buy Chebe in bulk - cases at a time! We use it for pizza, calzones, pasta, dumplings, pretzels, turnovers, pita, naan - you name it.

My favorite method right now is to simply roll it out and grill it!

Chebe is the celiac's best friend!

August 21, 2008 at 6:41 AM  
Anonymous CeliacChick said...

Just in case you didn't know...Puff & Pao closed. :(

I guess that is another reason to celebrate having Chebe mixes readily available.

August 21, 2008 at 7:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

drat there are only 2 locations selling this in Canada (one in BC and one in Windsor - both too far from Toronto) and they don't ship to Canada.

August 21, 2008 at 12:40 PM  
Anonymous MaryG said...

Sorry, going against the grain here.

I haven't tried these mixes in the past because I read labels and saw that they contain no nutritional value other than calories (except for added ingredients like eggs). At the time I did some research and discovered that the exotic sounding manioc flour is really just tapioca flour--same plant source (Manihot esculenta). As a whole food, the manioc root lacks protein but has some calcium and vitamin C and thus has value. But as a processed flour it is essentially just a thickener, like tapioca starch (although I have to say I love tapioca pudding--I'm just not fooling myself that the tapioca itself is anything but a vehicle for sugar, milk, fruit, and whipped cream).

I hate to see a site like this promote a product that costs almost $4 for less than half a pound of something that can be had at an Asian market for pennies.

August 21, 2008 at 1:43 PM  
Anonymous michel said...

Can one of you answer a question? At my local store, I was told it was safe for me to eat bread with flour once it was sprouted. Being new to the GF world and living where my options are very limited, I am not sure if this advice is true? Thanks and I appreciate every comment and blog!

August 22, 2008 at 9:01 AM  
OpenID glutenfreeislife said...

We love the Chebe mixes, especially the Foccacia and the roll mix, which I make buns out of. DS, Jon, likes when I use the leftover foccacia to make pepperoni sandwiches the next day. I split open the pie shaped slices and slide in some marinara, pepperoni, mozzerealla and parmesan. Then I wrap in foil and bake until warm & melty. :)


August 25, 2008 at 5:25 PM  
OpenID glutenfreeislife said...

We love the Chebe mixes, especially the Foccacia and the roll mix, which I make buns out of. DS, Jon, likes when I use the leftover foccacia to make pepperoni sandwiches the next day. I split open the pie shaped slices and slide in some marinara, pepperoni, mozzerealla and parmesan. Then I wrap in foil and bake until warm & melty. :)


August 25, 2008 at 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Sho said...

A comment up there said that this flour is good for dumplings. Maybe now I can start making matzo ball soup again.


August 26, 2008 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

The mixes are good and interestingly difficult to duplicate, although they have few ingredients. The pizza mix did inspire me to make my own pizza dough out of plain old tapioca flour (2 cups) mixed with italian herbs and salt, then add the ingredients the package calls for (first, two eggs and a tablespoon of oil. Then, about two cups of parmesan cheese and a splash of milk). It may take a few tries to get the perfect, not-runny dough. But it is worth it!

The unique thing about the crust is you can make it thinner than any other gluten-free dough. I roll mine out between a sheet of parchment (to bake on) and saran wrap. Last night, I made a crust that was cracker thin. I like it better than crusts made from wheat!

August 27, 2008 at 7:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVE the Chebe products... especially the garlic and onion breadsticks. I just follow the garlic rolls recipe on the back and then top it with Zahtar (or Zat'r) and sometimes a slice of Port Salut cheese. YUM! My husband, who doesn't have Celiac, begs me to make these rolls at least once a week. It's nice to be able to enjoy bread products again after avoiding most gluten free mixes we had deemed to dense and tasteless.

August 27, 2008 at 4:21 PM  
Anonymous Sho said...

Is manioc flour the same as tapioca flour?


August 27, 2008 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger Shirley said...

I am always reading about how wonderful Chebe products are, but hadn't heard of this one. For the most part, I don't miss bread (I occasionally make corn bread and muffins though), but I'd like to try this.

Michel-IMHO, I would not eat that bread. Often times, the same people that say sprouted bread is safe also say spelt is safe. Neither is safe for celiacs. Some people don't have a reaction, but they still are ingesting gluten.

September 7, 2008 at 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Sho said...

I have to mention that I went to the Latin American section of my grocery store today. I purchased tapioca starch (manioc starch,) rice flour (harina de arroz,) and extra fine yellow corn meal (harina de maiz.) If it were not for your sites and this post on the manioc flour, I never would have thought of this!!!!!

Thank you and "YES!"


September 8, 2008 at 7:34 AM  
Anonymous Dale said...

I use chebe for pizza crusts and like it (tho now I'm into the Mariposa crusts). Yesterday I made the cinnamon roll mix...and wasn't impressed. I didn't dress it up much so I could see what the base taste was, and it wasn't bad, but I won't be running out to get the mix again. I'll just make my own!

September 8, 2008 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger asiajane said...

I just found your web site so I'm a little behind the times but I wanted to say I LOVE LOVE LOVE Chebe! I live in a terribly deprived region of the US at the moment (MS Delta!!) so I must order most gluten-free items on line. I just ordered a case of the Chebe and now pizza night in my family is fun for me again!

I can't wait to read more of your site and look forward to acquiring your book as well.

January 26, 2009 at 12:19 PM  

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