Tapioca bread is a gluten-free bread made from tapioca flour. It is a light, soft bread, and it is usually eaten as an alternative to regular, gluten-rich bread made from wheat flour; gluten is a natural protein found in wheat, barley, rye and oats. Such gluten-free food alternatives are essential for people who have gluten intolerance; that is, they are unable to properly digest food products containing the gluten protein, and may suffer from allergies and health problems as a result.
The tapioca flour used to make tapioca bread is obtained from the roots of the cassava plant. The cassava roots resemble potato tubers, and are harvested, washed, peeled and ground into pulp to obtain a starchy liquid. The cassava root liquid is separated from the root pulp and subjected to repeated washings until the cassava starch settles at the bottom of the processing vessel. The moist starch is then removed and dried.
The dried cassava starch is next ground to obtain the tapioca flour. To make tapioca pearls, which are used to prepare a variety of tapioca desserts and drinks, the tapioca flour is first mixed with water and the resulting dough is cooked and then dried. The dried dough flakes are ground and pressed through a screen to produce small, large or extra-large tapioca pearls of uniform shapes and sizes.
Cooking with tapioca is quick and easy. To make tapioca bread at home, the required ingredients are tapioca flour, milk, butter, salt, cheese and eggs. The salt and butter are added to the milk and the mixture is heated until it boils and then removed from the heat. The tapioca flour is added to the hot milk mixture, stirring the flour in thoroughly. Then the cheese and eggs are added to the mixture and the resulting dough is kneaded well until it is smooth.
Sections of the tapioca dough are rolled into balls and placed apart from each other in a baking pan. The balls are baked at a high temperature for half an hour. When they have doubled in size and browned, the bread is ready.
Certain supermarkets and food stores sell bread mixes to make tapioca breads as well as various brands of tapioca bread. Some of these breads can have a rather chewy texture and may taste better when they are toasted. Aside from being free of gluten, these breads are generally low in protein. Some breads may contain toasted sesame seeds for flavor.