Published Friday, July 3, 2020

Put your hands in the dough

By the Melissa Pette

Before putting your hands in the dough, I would like to thank the readers for their kind messages. Also, thank you to Dan Brack Chieppo for his tip on the Gallo Pinto recipe, which I mentioned in my previous article. According to Dan "a mixed cup of rice and beans (1/2 & 1/2) is a complete protein." Another reason to love Gallo Pinto.

Now tell me, what could be better than the smell of fresh homemade bread? Bread is a very important food especially for children since it provides a wide variety of nutrients, including vitamin B.

I invite you to make easy and nutritious finger-licking types of traditional homemade bread in Costa Rica. Here are recipes for all tastes and of course for people allergic to gluten.

Let's start with the recipe that Rose Wright has kindly shared with us. Her Canelitas are delicious cupcakes, an excellent gluten-free bread.

By Rose Wright,
Puerto Viejo, Limón

Me and my three boys are allergic to gluten. Can you imagine how difficult it is to plan food for a gluten-allergic family? My boys are spending these days complaining of boring quarantine, watching TV or playing on their devices. But when it is time to make the Canelitas, they literally run toward the kitchen.

The ingredients are:

• 1 kg of cornflour

• 1/2 kg of gluten-free white cheese

• 1 bar of butter

•1 Tapa Dulce.

This is a kind of giant candy made of sugar cane. Take a look at the photo. Buy it at the local fruit market in your community. 

• 1 cup of crème fraîche or sour cream

• 2 tablespoon of cinnamon powder

• 1 cup of water

• 2 tablespoons of refined sugar special for baking

In a bowl, add the water and Tapa Dulce. Stir until the candy is completely melted. Add the cornflour, butter, cheese, sour cream and one tablespoon of cinnamon. Mix until all ingredients have blended.

For baking, use a cupcake pan previously greased with butter. Spray butter works too. Add the mixture. Bake for 30 minutes.

Then let it cool for 30 minutes. Remove the cupcakes and sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon and baking sugar. My boys love it!

Guanacaste Perreque bread

I couldn't translate what Perreque means. It is bread made for the holidays and for any family reunion. I first had this bread in the Nicoya community fair in Guanacaste. The following quantities will provide enough bread for one week.

The ingredients are:

• 4 cans of sweet corn

• 1 kg of striped white cheese

• 500 grams of sour cream

• 2 kg of sugar

• 10 stick or bars of butter

• 1 teaspoon salt

Blend 3 of the sweet corn cans in a blender. Then, in a saucepan, add sugar, sour cream, cheese and mix the ingredients. After that, add and mix the dissolved corn and the last canned corn. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until you form a dough.

Preheat the oven at 230 Celsius for 20 minutes. In a baking pan previously slathered with butter, add the dough. Bake for 20 minutes. When it is ready, let it cool down for 20 minutes.

You made it! Tasty cornbread Guanacaste Perreque bread to eat throughout the quarantine.

Homemade Pancito rolls

This "Pancito Casero" which roughly translates to homemade bread in English, is a popular folk food throughout Costa Rica. You will always see these small bagel-looking breads in the panadería or bakeries everywhere in the country. This recipe is not for the gluten-free people. But for the rest of us, cast-iron stomach people, it is a delightful bread!

The ingredients are:

• 1 kilo of wheat flour

• 1 cup of white sugar

• 1 bar of butter

• 1 cup of water

• 3 tablespoons of instant yeast

First, mix the flour with the butter, sugar and the yeast. When the dough is ready, cut it in little pieces, like the size of your palm.

Form a ball with each piece, like the size of a Ping-Pong ball. Then, stretch the balls into strips. Roll each strip into the dough bonnet bagels. Similar to sea snail shell shape. There were too many sssssssss in the last sentence!

Place each bonnet dough in a previously greased pan. Let them rest for an hour to allow the yeast grown process. After that, bake for 10 minutes.  When the pancitos are ready, let them cool down for 10 minutes.

Are you ready for a meditation time? Take one pancito, a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy the evening's rain. Delightful!

Editor's note: Email your comments or inquiries to Melissa Pette,

Do you want to share your recipes with AM Costa Rica readers? Send your homemade recipes with a photo of the dish to