Are you looking for a new ingredient to add to your cooking repertoire? Look no further than fermented cassava flour!
This traditional Latin American product is made by fermenting moist starch extracted from the cassava root, resulting in a deliciously sour and versatile flour.
While making your own cassava flour may seem daunting, it’s actually a relatively simple process that can save you money and provide a sense of satisfaction in creating your own ingredients.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps of making fermented cassava flour at home. So roll up your sleeves and let’s get started!
How To Make Fermented Cassava Flour?
Step 1: Wash and Peel Cassava
Start by washing and peeling the cassava root. Cut it into small cubes and blend it with water. As a general rule, use about 400-500ml of water per kilo of cassava. Once blended, pour the mixture into a large bowl and cover it. Leave it to ferment at room temperature for 24 hours.
Step 2: Sieve the Cassava
After 24 hours, the cassava broth will be bubbly and smell sour. Don’t worry, this is normal! Use a clean kitchen towel to sieve through the blended cassava. Keep both the starch and the juice. You now have your fermented product.
Step 3: Use the Fermented Cassava
The fermented cassava juice can be used in cooking to make tucupi or to add savory vinegar notes in broth or stews. The cassava starch can be used for baking. If you let the water sit for an hour or two, you will get a sediment of fresh cassava flour (tapioca flour) which you can also use to bake or to thicken sauces.
Step 4: Ferment the Cassava Flour
To ferment the cassava flour, mix sour raw milk or sauerkraut juice at room temperature into a batter or dough recipe. Let the batter sit in the fridge for 3-5 days. The probiotics in the sour milk or sauerkraut juice predigest the antinutrients in the cassava, resulting in a deliciously sour dough.
Step 5: Soak and Ferment
To make fufu, soak peeled cassava in water (you can use frozen cassava). Make sure to cover it completely with water and leave it covered outside for a couple of days to ferment covered. Drain and cover it with fresh water daily.
Step 6: Blend Until Smooth
Cut the cassava into small pieces to facilitate blending if it’s not too soft. Pulse or blend in batches with a little bit of water in a blender or food processor until it turns into a puree.
Step 7: Squeeze the Excess Water
Using cheesecloth, squeeze the water from the cassava puree; this helps storage.
Step 8: Wrap and Freeze
Wrap in portions and freeze until ready to use—thaw before cooking.
Step 9: Cook and Shape
Place the desired amount of fufu in a saucepan on medium heat. Add a little bit of hot water as needed. Keep stirring vigorously until cooked through. This takes about 10-15 minutes, depending on the quantity. Then shape them into round or ovals and wrap them with thin plastic.
What Is Fermented Cassava Flour?
Fermented cassava flour (fercaf) is a type of cassava flour that is produced through a fermentation process using lactic acid bacteria. This process enriches the flour with protein, making it a suitable substitute for wheat flour in certain recipes, particularly in pasta production. Ordinary cassava flour lacks gluten, which makes it unsuitable for certain baked goods that require elasticity and a chewy texture. Fermented cassava flour, on the other hand, has a strong and elastic texture that makes it an ideal ingredient for pasta recipes. Additionally, fermented cassava flour can be used to make traditional Latin American products such as cassava bread and fermented starch. Fercaf has a sour taste and smell due to the fermentation process, which adds a unique flavor profile to dishes. Overall, fermented cassava flour is a versatile ingredient with many uses in the food industry, particularly for those with gluten sensitivities or allergies.
Benefits Of Using Fermented Cassava Flour In Cooking
Fermented cassava flour is a traditional product of Latin America, especially Columbia and Brazil, which is produced by fermentation of moist starch extracted from the cassava root. This process makes cassava flour more nutritious and easier to digest. Fermentation breaks down the complex carbohydrates in cassava, making it easier for the body to absorb and use its nutrients. It also increases the availability of certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12 and iron.
Using fermented cassava flour in cooking has several benefits. First, it has a unique sour flavor that adds depth to dishes. Second, it has a lower glycemic index than regular cassava flour, which means it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels as quickly. This makes it a good option for people with diabetes or those who are watching their carbohydrate intake.
Fermented cassava flour is also rich in resistant starch, which has several potential health benefits. Resistant starch can improve digestive and colon health, promote weight loss, and improve insulin sensitivity. When bacteria in the gut digest resistant starch, they produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which trigger the release of hunger-reducing hormones. This can help regulate appetite and reduce fat mass.
In addition to its nutritional benefits, fermented cassava flour is also versatile in the kitchen. It can be used to make bread, pancakes, tortillas, and other baked goods. It can also be used as a thickener for soups and stews.
Equipment And Ingredients Needed To Make Fermented Cassava Flour
Making fermented cassava flour is a simple process that requires basic household equipment and ingredients. Here are the items you’ll need:
1. Cassava root – Also known as yuca, this is the main ingredient for making cassava flour. Make sure to wash and peel the cassava root before using it.
2. Water – Water is crucial for the fermentation process to soften the cassava. Change the water daily during the fermentation process to prevent spoilage.
3. Blender or food processor – A good quality food processor is recommended for a very fine and powdery cassava flour, but a blender will also do the job.
4. Strainer or cheesecloth – Use a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth during the cassava flour-making process to sieve through the blended cassava.
5. Jute or sisal sack – A jute or sisal sack is needed to dry out the grated cassava before grinding it into flour.
6. Electric food dehydrator or oven – An electric food dehydrator or oven is needed to dry out the grated cassava after it has been soaked in water.
7. Grinder or blender – A grinder or blender is needed to grind the dried cassava into a fine powder.
8. Sour raw milk or sauerkraut juice – This ingredient is used to ferment the cassava flour batter or dough recipe, resulting in a deliciously sour dough.
By having these basic household equipment and ingredients, you can easily make fermented cassava flour at home without needing any special machinery or equipment.
Step-by-step Guide To Making Fermented Cassava Flour
Step 1: Wash and Peel Cassava
To make fermented cassava flour, start by washing and peeling the cassava root. Pack all the peeled cassava into a bowl and wash it with water. The primary aim of washing is to remove sediment from the outer layer of the cassava cortex, as well as stone, sand, weeds, leaves, and other debris that may have gotten attached to the cassava after harvesting. Although simple in principle, this method is essential to get the best quality cassava flour possible. It involves washing away any dirt accumulated around the cassava before grinding it, which results in a whiter final product.
Step 2: Cube and Blend Cassava
After washing and peeling the cassava, cube it and blend it with water. As a general rule, you can use about 400-500ml of water per kilo of cassava. Put your blended cassava out in a large bowl, and cover it. Leave it to ferment in room temperature for 24 hours.
Step 3: Sieve the Cassava
After 24 hours, the cassava broth will be bubbly and smell sour. But don’t panic, this is as it should be. Use a clean kitchen towel and sieve through the blended cassava. Keep both the starch and the juice. You now have your fermented product.
Step 4: Dry the Cassava Starch
To dry the cassava starch, spread it out on a flat surface like a tray or baking sheet. Place it in a well-ventilated area or under direct sunlight for a few days until completely dry. Stir occasionally to ensure even drying.
Step 5: Grind into Flour
Once dried, grind the fermented cassava starch into flour using a food processor or a mortar and pestle. You can also use a flour mill if you have one.
Step 6: Store in an Airtight Container
Store your fermented cassava flour in an airtight container to prevent moisture from getting in. This will ensure that it stays fresh for longer.
By following these simple steps, you can make your own fermented cassava flour at home. This nutritious flour is gluten-free and can be used in a variety of recipes like bread, cakes, pancakes, and more. Give it a try and enjoy the delicious flavor and nutritional benefits of fermented cassava flour!
Tips For Storing And Using Fermented Cassava Flour
After making fermented cassava flour, it’s important to store it properly to ensure its longevity and quality. Here are some tips for storing and using fermented cassava flour:
1. Store in an airtight container: After drying and grinding the fermented cassava, store it in an airtight container to prevent moisture from getting in. This will help preserve the quality of the flour and prevent it from going bad.
2. Keep in a cool, dry place: Store the container of fermented cassava flour in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This will help prevent the flour from clumping or getting moldy.
3. Label and date the container: It’s important to label and date the container of fermented cassava flour so that you know when it was made and how long it has been stored. This will help you keep track of its freshness and quality.
4. Use in baking: Fermented cassava flour can be used as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour in baking. It has a slightly sour taste, which can add depth of flavor to baked goods.
5. Use in soups and stews: Fermented cassava juice can be used as a savory vinegar substitute in soups and stews. It adds a tangy flavor that can enhance the overall taste of the dish.
6. Experiment with different recipes: Fermented cassava flour can be used in a variety of recipes, from bread to pancakes to pizza crusts. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different recipes and find your favorite way to use this versatile ingredient.
By following these tips, you can make the most out of your homemade fermented cassava flour and enjoy its unique flavor and versatility in your cooking and baking.
Recipes To Try Using Fermented Cassava Flour.
Fermented cassava flour is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various recipes. Here are some recipes you can try using fermented cassava flour:
1. Paleo Cassava Flour Sourdough Waffles: These waffles are made using fermented cassava flour and sourdough, making them a nutritious and delicious breakfast option.
2. Tape and Yoghurt Pancakes: This Indonesian-inspired recipe combines fermented cassava slices with yoghurt to create a unique and flavorful pancake. Serve with sweet condensed milk and chocolate sprinkles for an indulgent treat.
3. Ghanaian Gari Biscuits: These light and crispy biscuits are made using fermented cassava flour, which gives them a unique texture and flavor.
4. Cassava Flour Flatbreads: Cassava flour is great for making flatbreads and tortillas that can be toasted or grilled. Use fermented cassava flour for added nutrition and flavor.
5. Farofa: This Brazilian dish involves toasted cassava flour and is similar to couscous. Use fermented cassava flour for added nutrition and flavor.
6. Thickening Sauces: Fermented cassava flour can be used to help thicken sauces, gravies, or pie fillings. Its unique texture makes it a great alternative to traditional thickeners like cornstarch or flour.