Almojábanas (Colombian Cheese Bread)

by Erica Dinho on August 11, 2009

This post is also available in Spanish

Almojabanas

These Colombian Almojábanas are delicious for breakfast or for an afternoon snack with a cup of coffee.

Well, to tell you the truth I am always scared of baking, but sometimes I crave my favorite Colombian “parva”, so I bake. Parva is what we call our baked goods in the region of Antioquia. Although this recipe is very easy to make, the problem I have is that in the USA, I don’t find “cuajada”, a fresh white cheese made with non-pasteurized milk, and this is the base for Colombian Almojábanas. So, I have tried this recipe at least 4 times with various kinds of cheese and although the bread is not quite the same as I make in Colombia, it is pretty close and delicious!

Almojabana007

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Ingredients

(8 Almojábanas)

Receta de Almojabanas

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Mix the cottage cheese and masarepa in a food processor.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  4. Divide into 8 equal-size portions and shape into a ball.
  5. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until they are golden. Serve warm.
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{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Danielle August 11, 2009 at 5:41 PM

You had me when I saw bread and cheese in the same title! These look and sound sooo good!

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2 zerrin August 11, 2009 at 6:33 PM

They look so soft and appealing to me. I bet they smell so tempting. We generally put the cheese inside such balls and then bake in Turkish cuisine. But this one sounds easier. I can try this with cottage cheese here.

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3 Tangled Noodle August 11, 2009 at 8:04 PM

I’m still looking for masarepa! Now, I’m even more determined to find it – these looks delicious. I’ve had pão de queso (Brazilian cheese bread) before; I would love to try these to add to my list of cheese bread favorites!

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4 Velva August 11, 2009 at 8:51 PM

This cheese bread looks divine!

We are part of a cooking club and each member (12) gets the opportunity to host 1-2 a year. I think you have me convinced that when our opportunity comes around again, that Colombian will be the theme.

note: A friend of ours who is in the cooking club is an American who grew up in Columbia and although he may not be a registered follower is following your blog.

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5 Empar August 12, 2009 at 2:22 AM

Ummm! Erica. este pan tiene una pinta estupenda! y tiene que estar buenísimo.
Me apunto la receta.
Una pregunta, ¿El queso lo pones rallado?.
Un beso.

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6 Erica August 12, 2009 at 7:18 AM

Hola Empar,
El cottage cheese es cremoso, entonces no tienes que hacer nada con el.

Gracias por visitarme y por el comentario!

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7 Sophie August 12, 2009 at 2:53 AM

MMMMMMMMM,…Erica!!

These little cheese breads look so tasty & must be light & yummie with the cottage cheese in it!

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8 Erica August 12, 2009 at 8:11 AM

Thank you all very much for the comments!!!

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9 Bunny August 12, 2009 at 8:52 AM

This looks so nice and fluffy! I would love this bread!

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10 rebecca subbiah August 12, 2009 at 9:37 AM

yummy cheesy bread give me some !

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11 Felisha August 12, 2009 at 2:56 PM

Yay!! Can’t wait to try them! I have the same problem…I can find queso fresco, and queso blanco…but no cuajada. When I was in Florida I found it, but that didn’t help me much!

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12 Soma August 12, 2009 at 3:42 PM

sounds really good & easy to make. & i like the way they look so cute & soft.

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13 Oysterculture August 12, 2009 at 4:34 PM

Baking is not my first choice either, but I always seem to surprise myself in a good way with how it turns out. I may have to have another one of those attempts with this yummy looking bread!

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14 Natasha - 5 Star Foodie August 13, 2009 at 9:28 AM

Mmm… cheese bread! Those look so light and fluffy, super delicious!

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15 Diana August 13, 2009 at 10:52 AM

Looks delicious!! Erica, can you use any kind of raw white cheese? Raw meaning unpasteurized? Would raw white cheddar be too strong? Check out azurestandard.com. They sell various raw cheeses that you can order online or join a group in your area.

Besos!!
diana

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16 Erica August 13, 2009 at 3:50 PM

Thank you for the info Diana!

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17 Joan Nova August 13, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Looks like it might be similar to Brazil’s pao de quejo. P.S. Baking scares me too but it looks like you were very successful.

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18 nora@ffr August 13, 2009 at 2:43 PM

mmm.. sound delish yet simple to make.. will give a shot!! love cheeese!!

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19 Allison Lemons August 14, 2009 at 4:49 PM

We had these at our wedding. There are a ton of Colombian bakeries in Jackson Heights, Queens, and one day we walked up and down the neighborhood trying each and every one until we found the perfect cheese bread. We had them delived to our reception and served them with the appetizers. So so good! I’m going to surprise Alejandro and make these for him

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20 Felisha August 15, 2009 at 9:01 PM

What should I do if my batter is too soft to form into a ball? :(

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21 Erica August 15, 2009 at 9:31 PM

Hi Felisha,

The batter should be soft:)

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22 Erica August 21, 2009 at 1:17 PM

Thank you for visiting my blog!

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23 Veronika Rojas September 6, 2009 at 10:36 PM

I am so grateful that you share your recipes. My grandmother always measure “al calculo” which makes it so hard for me to cook Colombian food. But your exact measurements give me so much confidence in trying Colombian recipes.

I made this recipe yesterday and the flavor was very close to the real thing. However, I will try it with both Queso Fresco and Queso Cotija next time. My step mother says both cheeses are available in Mexican Markets. If it turns out well, I’ll post it on my blog: http://thehorttshearawho.blogspot.com.

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24 Erica September 7, 2009 at 9:25 AM

Thank you Veronica.
I made them with queso fresco, but next time I am going to use queso cotija, sounds great :)

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25 Charles November 12, 2009 at 3:49 PM

Gracias, Estoy en Francia y a pesar de la variedad de quesos, tampoco he encotrado cuajada, solo “Fromage blanc” que es una crema, tuve que adicionar mas harina porque la masa estaba muy liquida :), quedaron deliciosas, Muchas Gracias

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26 Erica November 12, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Charles-Thank you for your feedback!

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27 Courtney November 12, 2009 at 5:30 PM

What type of cottage cheese? Dry? 1%? 2%?

I want to make these for a Colombian friend!!

Your website is wonderful!

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28 Erica November 12, 2009 at 8:10 PM

Courtney- Regular cottage cheese.

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29 Samo November 19, 2009 at 4:36 PM

I Will try the recipe and get back and let you guy know how it turned out

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30 SCruz November 21, 2009 at 7:07 PM

These are just as delicious as bunuelos, especially if you love cheese like me!!!!

Thanks for the recipe, Erica!!

Saludos,
SC

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31 Misha December 9, 2009 at 2:00 AM

Erica, what a fantastic blog! My boyfriend and I (un pereirano) have been trying out all number of recipes, but ingredients and substitutes are even more difficult to find in Australia than in the US. In the US I was often able to find good substitute ingredients, such as non-pasteurized milks, cheeses and dairy products, in health food stores. You might want to try one of those, and if near a Whole Foods suggest that they start stocking them. Gracias para las recetas!

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32 El Paramedico January 2, 2010 at 2:32 AM

Erica,
i just got an email from my sister and she brought up something I overlooked earlier…this recipe calls for “Cottage Cheese”… My family has always used Ricotta instead.. I have never tried it with cottage, does it make a big difference in taste??? Still loving your site!!

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33 Erica January 2, 2010 at 8:31 AM

El Paramedico-

I did not use ricotta before, but I would try it next time. They taste delicious, but nothing like cuajada :)

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34 GIna Stires January 3, 2010 at 7:47 PM

Bueno las hice no salieron tan mal jajaja eso si si les falto un poquito de sabor no se que me falto pero deliciosas!!! gracias por compartir tus recetas pues a traves de la comida se siente cerca de la tierrita!!!

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35 Erica January 3, 2010 at 7:57 PM

Gina- Gracias por el comentario. Yo pienso que la proxima vez que las prepare, voy a usar queso fresco y queso cottage.

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36 Charity January 10, 2010 at 9:12 PM

I have a recipe for cuajada if you can find raw milk. I milk my own cow, so it is not a problem for me. I have not tried this cheese recipe yet, but it looks like others that I have tried, and seems fairly accurate. Try to find raw milk from pastured cows, it will taste more similar to those in Colombia – they have such a nicer way of doing things, more natural, with their livestock and agriculture. Thanks!

Cuajada
5 1/4 quarts fresh raw milk
1/2 rennet tablet (junket rennet will not work)
1 tbs salt (cheese salt or kosher)
sieves and cheesecloth

Place milk in large stainless steel pot near a heat source (fireplace, warm oven). Take 1/2 cup milk and warm it to 110 F. Mash rennet tablet with back of spoon and stir into warm milk. Add to larger pot, add salt. Stir gently in up and down motion for 30 seconds. Place in warm spot but not over heat for 3 hours until curd sets.

Cut the curd and mix with a fork to break up curd completely. Set aside for 1 1/2 to 2 hours more. Ladle the curd out into five portions (5 seives lined with cheesecloth. Drain whey out over bowls for 4 hours. Discard whey. Fresh cheese should keep 5-7 days refriderated in zip bags.

For info on cheesemaking, go to cheesemaking.com

Also, know your source for the raw milk. Make sure the milk is handled properly and the cows have been tested for disease. See realmilk.com for details.

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37 Erica January 10, 2010 at 9:37 PM

Charity- Thank you so much for the recipe.

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38 Baking is my Zen January 20, 2010 at 11:54 AM

My sister-in-law loves this bread. She is from Columbia. Now I can make them!

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39 JenniferD December 14, 2010 at 6:24 PM

Hi Erica! My boyfriend is caleno and I tried to make almojabanas…but they didn’t taste like the ones I’ve had before. The masa was really runny so I couldn’t make them into balls. I am going to try regular cottage cheese next time, but do you have any other recommendations so that the masa won’t be so runny? Thanks!

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40 Marian December 18, 2010 at 4:32 AM

No veo la hora de hacer esto para el desayuno!!! Espero que me salgan bien porque desde ya tengo la baba chorriada. 4 hours to breakfast:)

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41 Marian December 18, 2010 at 3:50 PM

oh mine didn’t come out so good…la masa estaba muy aguada:(

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42 Erica December 18, 2010 at 4:26 PM

Marian- La masa es un poco aguada por lo del queso…..por que normalmente se hacen con cuajada, pero si cuelas el cottage cheese la proxima vez a lo mejor te salen mejor. Esta receta me dio mucha dificultad la trate como 4 veces con differentes quesos y esta fur la mejor aunque no igual que con cuajada!

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43 Marian December 21, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Gracias Erica. Hoy voy a intentar otra vez:)

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44 amanda February 3, 2011 at 8:42 AM

Hi Erika: thank you for the information! I would like to make these and found a company here in the east coast that sells cuajada! it is called tropical . how would the recipe change if you had cuajada? thanks!

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45 Liz February 10, 2011 at 8:07 PM

I love all of these recipes and I am so excited to make these! I was able to find cuajada today, would all the measurements be the same?

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46 Erica February 11, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Liz-Yes!

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47 conny March 25, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Hi Erika, i’m will be going to try la almojabana, el pandebono y banana orange bread, I really like cooking and baking, thanks for the recipes , I’m from Colombia too y ahora vivo en un pueblito pequeño en Alabama, no se si voy a encontrar yuca flour o cassaba starch, pero quiero intentar los tres, puedo preguntarte si tienes la receta de la arepa de choclo? gracias, felicidades

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48 Erica March 25, 2011 at 7:57 PM
49 conny March 27, 2011 at 10:41 PM

Hola Erika estuve intentando las almojabanas con maseca y cottage cheese, pero me quedaron muy aguadasy aqui en este pueblito no encuentro masarepa ni cuajada, yo estoy a3 horas de Panama City y no se si encuentre esos ingredientes alla, pero mi familia quiere que yo haga almojabanas y pandebonos, tambien arepa de choclo, gracias por tu ayuda, tienes una receta facil de empanadas de dulce de leche? y de guayaba? yo estoy haciendo de carne y de pollo y los americanos estan felices, pero me pidieron de dulce, perdona si te molesto mucho ,gracias

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50 solene soto July 2, 2011 at 6:41 PM

hello,
i am a frenchy married to a colombiano !!!
In France everyone cooks, and we don’t really have a particular food ( except for breads, cheeses and wines ^^). I, like millions other frenchies, love cooking !!!
i have introduced my hubby to our french cuisine, and he loves it but i decided it might be time that i try to “take him back home”.
I don’t have my mother in law around to help me with Colombian delicacies so i was happy to find your website.
i have just tried to make almojabanas for my husband, and happily i found cuajada.
Unfortunately it turned out pretty bad. In fact the almojabanas were very dry !!! nothing like the ones we buy at the colombian bakery. I used the same measure for cuajada than cottage cheese… maybe there is the mistake ??? i want to try again, do you have any advice ?

thank you

solene

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51 Erica July 2, 2011 at 7:13 PM

Solene- Maybe the cuajada was dry.

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52 Billy January 13, 2012 at 4:54 PM

Used to eat these all the time in Bogota and Medellin. I also miss natilla and bunuelos at Christmastime!!! AY La vida PAISA

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53 Pablo April 11, 2012 at 2:38 PM

I made these yesterday and they were delicious and very easy to make!

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54 Scott April 13, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Erica –

So do you find cottage cheese the best substitute for cuajada. My sons love arepas boyacenses, which also requires cuajada and which I also cannot find in the United States. I have substituted many different cheeses with great failure. I have never tried cottage cheese though.

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55 Lucia April 13, 2012 at 9:40 AM

Could we use feta cheese instead?

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56 Erica April 13, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Lucia-Yes, but add more milk.

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57 Gloria November 21, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Erica what is the difference between Colombian almojábanas and Pande Bono? In Jackson Heights and other Colombian bakeries in NY they always used both names for the same product.

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58 Erica November 21, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Almojabanas are made with masarepa and Pandebonos are made with a mix of yuca starch and masarepa. The taste and the texture is different.

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59 miriam November 28, 2012 at 2:58 AM

hi i want to make these ..any cottgae cheese you would recommend?

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60 miriam November 28, 2012 at 4:37 AM

i made them anyway..very good..but they stuck to sheet pan…even though i greased it..do u use parchment paper?

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61 miriam November 28, 2012 at 5:06 AM

one more question sorry,,what is the crumb texture supposed to be like…dry and light or a bit wet soft?

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62 Random Creativity November 29, 2012 at 9:33 AM

These were amazing! I used a soft cheddar cheese, that I shredded and then stirred some sour cream into to make the texture of cottage cheese. The constancy reminded me of a drop cookie dough, so I used my small disher to make 50 small balls instead of 8 large rolls. I’ve never tried the ‘real’ thing, so I don’t know how these compare, but we really enjoyed snacking on them, and my husband asked me to ‘definitely repeat this recipe.’ Thank you so much for sharing!

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63 Emily Renate December 31, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Hey Erica- I had some trouble with this recipe…I had to nearly double the masarepa in order to be able to make a consistency that would give me a ball (and it still seemed quite wet). Also, I cooked it for 30 minutes at 400…the outside was quite dark, but the inside still was slightly undercooked (again seeming to indicate the dough was still too wet). Is there a specific type of cottage cheese you use? Small curd vs large curd….4%, 2%, 1%…It’s the only thing I can think of that would make a difference. My husband said the flavor was definitely there, but obviously it wasn’t quite right. Thanks for your help! (I’ve made many of your dishes quite successfully for my Colombian husband- he’s always happily surprised; but, this one gave me trouble).

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64 Jacquie February 28, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Querida Erica,

Me encanta tu blog pues tienes las recetas de platos colombianos acomodadas a lo que uno encuentra por aquí en Estados Unidos y eso ayuda bastante.
Quería hacerte una pregunta: mi hijo de seis años tiene que hacer una presentación en su colegio sobre Colombia. Yo estaba pensando mandar algo de comer típico y pensé en almojabanas. Que opinas sobre esta receta? Será que les gustaría a los niños de esa edad o podrías recomendarme algo más? No se me ocurre nada…. Te agradezco la ayuda desde ya!

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65 Erica March 1, 2013 at 8:54 AM

Jacquie, a mis dos hijos (2 y 6 años) les encantan las almojabanas y los pandebonos.

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66 Alan Bowman June 7, 2013 at 11:18 AM

We don’t have any problem getting sqeaky cheese – we just use fresh goat’s cheese. Our problem is getting the right flours although we can get Maizena.

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67 Richard May 26, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Al; you can order Masarepa from Amazon.

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68 Dianita June 14, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Hola Erica, trate la receta hoy pero mi procesador está muy pequeño e intente varias veces, entonces creo que no me van a quedar muy bien…. Te estaré contando

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69 Kathy Paul July 13, 2013 at 10:01 PM

Oh! I have made these twice – once with cottage cheese only, and one with 1 cup cottage cheese and 1 cup cotija cheese. The 2nd way seems closer to what I remember when we used to go into the panadería and say “Qué hay caliente?” early in the morning! Thanks for this wonderful website….

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70 rebecca September 4, 2013 at 10:09 PM

these look so good, fun for kids to snack on too

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71 Ivonne December 30, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Erica, I tried this recipe, but the dough was very liquid. I wonder if I overused the processor. I added more Masarepa, so the almojabanas turned into kind of arepas. Flavor was delicious, but not the almojabana flavor that I was expected. Do you have some advice? I enjoy your website, thank you and have a very Happy New Year.

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72 Hope chen January 15, 2014 at 10:54 PM

thank you for your cheese bread recipe!

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73 Nohra March 22, 2014 at 8:47 AM

Hola Erica, tienes una receta para cuajada que se pueda hacer con leche sin pasteurizar como dices para usar en esta y otras receta? Gracias!

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74 Asdru May 13, 2014 at 1:54 PM

If wanting to prepare a Gluten free version just use Tapioca flour which is sold at most natural supermarkets like Sprouts.

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75 Richard May 26, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Erica;
I sort of like to fool around with recipes. I tried a local Mexican cheese named Cotija. 1/2n1/2 with Cottage cheese. It was really good. I halved the salt because Cotija is pretty salty. Came out nifty. I am going to up the baking powder a bit and add 1 tbsp. sugar in the next batch.
Richard

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76 Richard May 27, 2014 at 4:34 PM

Erica;
I tinkered with the recipe a bit. I have Colombian friends who are familiar with the flavor of the Almojabanas and the first batch using the Cotija/cottage cheese was a bit salty. For batch two, I used Ricotta. For the lady (Ivonne) who thought her dough was too liquid, Ricotta is the answer. I brought the second batch to my Colombian friends and they agreed that I had nailed it. Ricotta is the answer.

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77 Erica Dinho May 29, 2014 at 9:02 AM

Thank you, Richard!I am going to try it with ricotta next time!

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78 Richard June 25, 2014 at 11:23 PM

Erica;
I note that many who wish to make this recipe can’t find, Masarepa. Almost any market in an area where there are Hispanics have a precooked corn flour called Maseca. It is the same flour that is used to make tortillas and tamales. Just check in the Hispanic foods aisle of your local supermarket

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79 Alan Bowman June 1, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Could you use queso campesino (squeaky cheese)? If so a good substitute is fresh white goat’s cheese.

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80 Richard June 25, 2014 at 11:31 PM

Alan;
You have to be a bit careful with the Mexican cheeses. Most of them are either too dry ,don’t mix well, are too salty,&etc. For these rolls, I have found the best sub to be Ricotta. My Colombian friends agree. They even say they taste better than the ones made with cuajada which really doesn’t have much in the way of character.

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81 Catalina August 10, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Can I use baking sods instead baking powder?

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82 Erica Dinho August 10, 2014 at 9:14 PM

No.

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