I’ve been baking gluten – free for quite some time now, but compared to years and years of regular baking I still consider myself a newbie in this area. Gluten – free baking gives me an opportunity to learn, try out new recipes, methods, and flour combinations, which I like. I’d even say gluten – free baking is somehow more interesting to me than regular baking – there is this sense of uncertainty and anticipation I rarely have when baking wheat – based goodies anymore, and I love it. Gluten – free baking keeps me on my toes constantly. I still can’t be sure how a new recipe for bread will turn out, so I sheepishly put it in the oven and then keep peeking through the steamed – up oven window what is it doing in there. I haven’t had to throw out anything in a long time, which is good, because gluten – free flours aren’t exactly cheap. Nevertheless, some of the goodies have been better than others, and it’s still very much a learning experience for me. When the effort turns out to be a success, it makes me very happy, much more so than when I pull out (yet another) wheat cake from the oven. And these wraps I’d definitely call a success – when I took the first one off the griddle, I actually did a little happy dance in the kitchen!
I realize that for someone who isn’t gluten – challenged it might seem silly. Everybody knows there are all kinds of wraps at every corner in every supermarket. You might think I haven’t accomplished anything dance – worthy and that I should just get a life. But if you think so, you probably haven’t had a chance to taste any store – bought gluten – free wraps. They do exist, of course, made of brown rice or other gluten – free grains, but we’ve tried couple of them and decided not to bother. To me, wrap is something you can actually, you know, wrap around other ingredients, but these wraps were bland, and so tough and stiff that even warmed up, you were lucky if you’ve managed to fold one over without breaking it.
Not the case with these babies! Looking at them, they kind of remind me of potato lefse, with their brown speckles scattered all over… but there are no potatoes in them, just loads and loads of cheese. The recipe is similar to Brazilian Cheese Puffs, but has even fewer ingredients. The cheese is what makes them super flexible, so you can roll, roll, roll your wrap and don’t even have to be that gentle about it! My men wolfed them down with just some ham and cheese rolled in, and gave them a thumbs up. They work well as an alternative to sandwiches, but with their superb rolling capacity, I see many possibilities in our future: quesadillas, hummus and veggie wraps, even various meat and veggie fillings tucked in. It is without a doubt my new favorite gluten – free recipe!
Tapioca Cheese Wraps (makes 10 wraps)
(adapted from http://www.glutenfreeonashoestring.com)
- 1 cup (250 ml, 8 oz.) whole milk
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ cups (300 g, 10.5 oz.) tapioca starch/flour
- 3 tablespoons (42 g, 1.5 oz.) mild tasting oil (I used mild tasting olive oil)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 200 g (7 oz.) grated cheese (the original recipe called for part-skim mozzarella; I used medium cheddar)
- 55 g (2oz.) grated Parmesan cheese
- In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and salt to a simmer. Remove from heat and immediately mix in all the tapioca flour and oil. The mixture will look “shaggy” and you won’t be able to make it uniform; but that’s ok. Let it cool for about 15 minutes before proceeding.
- Transfer the tapioca mixture in a bowl of the food processor fitted with an S – blade. Pulse couple of times to smooth out the dough. Add the egg and mix to combine. The dough will be very stretchy. Add both cheeses and let the machine work to smooth it out (about 1 minute).
- With a wet spatula, remove the dough from the food processor. Divide it into two equal parts and wrap each one in a saran wrap. Place the dough balls into the freezer for 30 minutes or chill them in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (up to overnight).
- Unwrap one dough ball, place it on a work surface sprinkled with more tapioca starch or gluten – free flour, and divide it into five pieces (each about 3 oz., or 85 g). Dust the dough with more tapioca, and roll it out into an 8 inch (20 cm) circle. (When rolling, move the dough often, and sprinkle it liberally with tapioca or gluten – free flour to prevent sticking.)
- Heat a 10 inch (25 cm) non-stick skillet over a medium heat. Place the rolled-out wrap onto the hot skillet and cook for about 2 – 2½ minutes, until one side is cooked and the wrap can be moved easily with a spatula. Flip the wrap and press it down with the spatula. Cook for another 40 – 50 seconds. Remove the wrap onto a plate and cover it with a moist dish towel. Make the other four wraps in the same way, and stack them up under the towel. Repeat the same process with the other cheese dough ball.
- Serve immediately, or wrap the wraps in a saran wrap/Ziploc bag and store them in the fridge for up to a week. To warm them up, place them onto a preheated skillet for a minute, or just nuke the in a microwave until they’re soft and pliable again.
The original recipe says to only use tapioca starch from one specific manufacturer, and specifically warns NOT TO USE tapioca from Asian food stores, because the recipe won’t work. I only buy tapioca at Asian food store ($ .79 versus $4 is a big difference!) and I’m happy to report their tapioca flour worked just fine and the wraps were easy to roll out. If you are just starting your gluten – free journey and you’re suffering from a sticker shock looking at the price of gluten – free flours, please check out your local Asian/Indian food stores! They often carry many different gluten – free flours/starches at a fraction of a price of your regular grocery/health food store. But be careful and always check where/how the flours were made to avoid cross – contamination. That way both your tummy and your wallet will be happy 🙂