Chipa (or Paraguayan Cheese Bread) is a traditional savoury bread made with Cassava flour and cheese. The recipe shared here is for Chipa 4 Quesos which uses 4 cheeses. Naturally Gluten Free, easy to make and super-delicious.
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Introducing Chipa (or Paraguayan 4 Cheese Bread) – It’s a keeper!
Never heard of Chipa? You won’t be alone. Neither had I until I got hold of a copy of The Gluten-Free Cookbook (Phaidon Publications). But this Paraguayan Cheese Bread is absolutely delicious. Deep with cheesiness… Soft and a little gooey on the inside… Crusty on the outside… Easy to make… And dangerously moreish. Seriously… If you love cheese, then give this recipe a try. It’s a keeper and one that may just become a regular feature in your baking repertoire.
Heads up though… it’s not my recipe. It’s traditional Chipa 4 Quesos from Paraguay! But, after it received lots of attention when I posted a little video on Instagram, it seemed only fair to share. And Phaidon have kindly given me permission to post the recipe I used from The Gluten-Free Cookbook.
The Gluten-Free Cookbook – There’s more that Paraguayan Cheese Bread inside the covers
Although I own many gluten free cook books, occasionally I get one that really stands out… Not because it’s full of drool-worthy adaptations of standard ‘missed’ bakes, but because it’s unique. Different. Exciting!
For me, The Gluten-Free Cookbook stands out. Maybe it’s the wanton traveller in my personality. Or, the innate genes of a real foodie that adores eating beyond borders… But this particular cookbook got me genuinely excited. It contains around 350 recipes from more than 80 countries… All genuine, local cuisine that will have you drooling.
Compiled by Cristian Broglia, it’s a global collection of naturally gluten free recipes. There’s no gluten substitution or guess work… These are recipes sourced from around the world that are and have always been GLUTEN FREE! And what’s truly striking as a Coeliac (Celiac), is just how many recipes there are out there that are safe. Who knew that world cuisine could be that Coeliac-friendly without even trying!
What are Chipa?
Chipa are traditional and very popular small Paraguayan cheese breads. Often sold on the streets from stalls known as Chiperas, they hold great significance in Paraguay. The town of Coronel Bogado hosts an annual Chipa festival. And because these breads are both unleavened and meatless, they are particularly enjoyed during Lent.
There are in fact, at least 70 different variations of Paraguayan Cheese Bread. But these particular Chipa 4 quesos (4-cheese bread) are an extra-special treat. Indeed, because they are made with 4 cheeses, they stand out as quite unique, even among other South American cheese breads. But boy, are they delicious.
What are the traditional ingredients for Chipa 4 Quesos (Paraguayan 4 Cheese Bread)?
Although they need four different cheeses, Chipa 4 Quesos are actually really simple to make. But what ingredients are needed to make the traditional recipe?
Cassava Flour is a white starch flour made from the dried and grated root of the cassava (manioc/yuca) plant. It is neutral in flavour and has recently enjoyed a rise in popularity in the world of gluten free baking. Because of that, it is relatively easy to source online at least.
However, a couple of things are super-important to note…
- Cassava Flour is NOT the same as tapioca starch/flour. Do not try and substitute one for the other!
- If you are Coeliac or gluten free for health reasons, double check that the Cassava Flour you buy is certified gluten free. Like any other gluten free flour, if it has not been produced in a gluten-safe environment, it may be a source of cross-contamination.
The 4 Cheeses used to make Chipa 4 Quesos and suggested substitutions
- Paraguayan Cheese – a soft, slightly acidic cheese made from cow’s milk. It’s mild in flavour and slightly crumbly. Alternatives are a White Cheddar Cheese (which I used), Queso Fresco or (possibly) Greek Feta… Although Feta may be a little too salty.
- Mozzarella Cheese (shredded) – I used the pre-grated pizza variety.
- Pecorino (Italian) or Queso Sardo (Argentinian) – Both are very similar and quite salty.
- Blue Cheese – The type that has blue veins running through it and is quite crumbly and pungently flavoured. I used very British Stilton, because that’s what I had to hand.
Butter, Egg and Milk
To make Chipa, the cassava and various grated and crumbled cheeses are simply well-mixed with butter, egg and milk to form a dough.
Tips for making great Paraguayan 4 Cheese Chipa
Paraguayan Chipa are really easy to make… It’s one bowl and plenty of ‘welly’. But, here’s a few tips from my experience making them in a UK kitchen…
- Make sure the butter has come to room temperature… Because it is added and kneaded into the dough from a ‘solid’ state, it is really important that it has been allowed to soften before you start to create.
- Remember to reserve some of the mixed cheese… to top the Chipa before baking. This gives a super-cheesy and contrasting top to the breads.
- Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty… Mixing and kneading Chipa dough takes a bit of work. Be prepared to use your arm muscles and get your hands right into the dough to knead it really well.
- Keep kneading and don’t panic if the dough seems dry… Although the dough does come together in the end, it can appear a little dry to start with. Don’t panic or start adding extra liquid. Just keep kneading… and kneading some more. Eventually, the Chipa dough will form into a more pliable texture…
- Make sure the oven is HOT… Chipa need to be baked in a hot oven (220 C). So, be sure to preheat and that the oven has reached temperature before baking.
- To make even-sized Chipa… portion the dough into balls before flattening. I rolled the dough into a sausage shape and portioned from there.
How to eat Chipa
Paraguayan Cheese Breads are at their best freshly-baked and hot. Rip the crunchy crust open slowly to reveal the soft, gooey, cheesy interior. And eat them just as they are, being careful not to burn your mouth with impatience.
Because the recipe makes quite a few Chipa however, you may want to find other ways to eat them too… We’ve tested them fresh, but also warmed or split and toasted to make…
- Cheesy Bacon Butties
- As the bun for homemade Veggie Burgers
- Simply toasted until crisp and slathered with homemade butter
- As toasted cheesy garlic bread
- Topped with chutney and pickles. My absolute favourites for this were my Pear and Ginger Preserve (which marries to perfection with cheese); And Green Bean and Caramelised Chutney which offers some beany bite.
How to store and freeze Chipa
If you have left-over baked Paraguayan Cheese Bread, the best option is to wrap it well and store either at room temperature for a day or in the fridge for up to 4 days. Because they are at their best when just baked and go a little hard once cold, they probably need re-heating (although this is likely to be a matter of personal taste). We tried them both after popping in the microwave for a few seconds and after toasting. The latter was definitely our favourite re-heat method.
An alternative option, is to decide what you need to bake and freeze the rest in dough form. They can be frozen (for a couple of months) providing they are well-wrapped and airtight. When ready to eat, defrost and then bake as normal.
Have you made Paraguayan Chipa?
If you make these Paraguayan 4 Cheese Bread, let me know how you find them. We absolutely loved them… At least as much as the very much adored Pandebono already published on the site.
You can leave a comment and rate the recipe. Or… Better still, take a photo of your Chipa pics and share on social media, remembering to tag me in, so I can find them… #glutenfreealchemist. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
And don’t forget to check out our amazing Gluten Free Recipe Index for plenty of other baking inspiration… With literally hundreds of recipes shared for FREE, you’re sure to find something in our collection to tempt.
Other favourite travel-inspired recipes at Gluten Free Alchemist
- Fish Bolognese from the Maldives
- Baked Greek Feta
- Japanese Fried Tofu with Egg, Spring Onion and Bonito Flakes
- Greek Spanakopita Spinach Pie
- Caribbean Pineapple Coleslaw
- Indian Saag Paneer
- Guatemalan Guacamole
- Italian Focaccia Genovese
- North African Shakshuka
- Soft Indian Roti
- Egyptian Baba Ganoush
- British Cornish Pasties
- Italian Green Beans in Tomatoes
- Indian Red Lentil Dahl
- North African Houmous
- German Gingerbread Cookies
- Italian Tiramisu
- Quinoa Breakfast Bowl from Utah
- British Bakewell Tart (from Derbyshire)
- Christmas Lebkuchen (Germany)
- Ful Sudani – Sudanese Peanut Macaroons
- Italian Baci Di Dama (Hazelnut Ladies Kisses)
- German Marzipan Chocolates
Chipa – Paraguayan 4 Cheese Bread
- 200 g Paraguayan cheese or White Cheddar or Queso Fresco finely crumbled/grated
- 200 g Mozzarella cheese shredded (I used the pre-grated pizza variety)
- 200 g Italian Pecorino cheese or Argentinian Queso Sardo shredded/grated
- 120 g blue cheese crumbled
- 500 g cassava flour NOT Tapioca Starch
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 175 g unsalted butter softened
- 1 large egg at room temperature – lightly beaten (UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 240 ml/g milk
- Base-line a couple of baking trays with parchment/baking paper.
- Preheat the oven to 220 C/425 F/Gas 7
- In a large bowl, toss together the four types of cheese.
- Measure out about 60 g (½ cup) of the cheese mixture and set aside. This will be used to top the Chipa before baking.
- To the mixing bowl, add the cassava flour, salt, softened butter, egg, and milk and knead with your hands until a cohesive dough forms. The mixture may feel quite dry at first, but keep working it, until it becomes more pliable.
- Divide the dough into 15 equal portions.
- Roll each one into a ball, then gently flatten, before arranging on the lined baking sheet.
- Top each small bread with a generous teaspoon of the reserved cheese mixture.
- Bake until golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Serve hot and fresh for best enjoyment.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist