Our tour of Brazil continues. After posting the moqueca recipe, several of you asked if I had a recipe for Pão de Queijo, or Brazilian cheese bread, sort of like a chewy cheese puff made with tapioca flour.
As a matter of fact, I do! My friend Bill gave me this recipe years ago, a favorite from his Brazilian wife Silvia.
I've made it several times, each time with different cheeses. Talk about addictive! I've cut Bill's original recipe down to just a third, because if I actually made a full batch (48) I could conceivably eat them all.
Video: How to Make Brazilian Cheese Bread
Brazilian Cheese Bread
There are several ways to make Pão de Queijo. One method includes cooked potatoes. One method is sort of like a pâte a choux in which you cook the dough first.
The quickest, easiest, short-cut method is what I describe here (and the only way some of my Brazilian friends make it). You put the ingredients in a blender. Pour them out into a mini-muffin tin and bake.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can make a big batch of batter and just store it in the refrigerator (for up to a week), pouring out just as many mini-muffins as you want to eat. You can even cook them in a toaster oven.
The only ingredient in this recipe that you might have trouble finding is tapioca flour. Bob's Red Mill makes it, and you can find it at Whole Foods. Tapioca flour is gluten-free, so this cheese bread is great for gluten-free eaters.
Tapioca Flour Vs. Cassava Flour
While tapioca flour and cassava flour are both made from the cassava root, they are different and cannot be used interchangeably in this recipe. Cassava flour is made using the whole root, while tapioca flour only uses the starchy pulp. Look for flour clearly labeled as "tapioca flour" for the best results.
Using a Standard-Sized Muffin Pan
This pão de queijo recipe is best made in a mini muffin pan since it yields a good ratio of crispy exterior to chewy interior. However, you can make the cheese bread in a standard muffin pan. Use a greased, nonstick pan, fill the wells 3/4 full, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Easy Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de Queijo)
The recipe as presented is fairly basic. Feel free to dress it up a bit with herbs or spices of your choice.
This recipe calls for a room-temperature egg. If you don't plan ahead (that would be me, usually) you can put the egg in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes to gently take off the chill of the fridge.
Depending on the saltiness of your cheese, you may want to increase or decrease the salt in this recipe.
1 large egg, room temperature
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups (170 g) tapioca flour
1/2 cup (66 g) packed grated or crumbled cheese, your preference
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
Preheat the oven and prepare a mini muffin tin:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread a small amount olive oil around the insides of each well of a non-stick mini muffin tin.
Blend the ingredients:
Put all of the ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth. You may need to use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the blender so that everything gets blended well.
At this point, you can cover the batter and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Before baking, let the chilled batter come to room temperature and give it a whisk. Pour into the muffin tin and proceed with the recipe.
Pour into the mini muffin tin:
Pour the batter into the prepared mini muffin tin not quite to the top; leave about 1/8 inch from the top.
Bake at 400°F in the oven for 15-20 minutes until all puffy and nicely browned. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for a few minutes.
Eat while warm or at room temperature (they’re best when fresh). Note that Brazilian cheese bread is very chewy, a lot like Japanese mochi.
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day or in the fridge for 1 week. Reheat for several seconds in the microwave or for a 1 to 2 minutes in the toaster oven before serving. They can also be frozen for up to 1 month and reheated in a toaster oven or low oven until thawed and crisp.
When consulting my Brazilian friend Fernanda of Chucrute Com Salsicha for this post, she told me that although she makes the cheese bread the quick way in a blender, one of her favorite recipes comes from her friend Pat, which incorporates mashed potatoes and requires kneading by hand. It's extra work, but Fernanda says the results are great. You can find the original recipe in Portuguese on Fernanda's site here: Pao de queijo da Pat. And here is Fernanda's translation:
1 kg tapioca flour [polvilho azedo]
1 kg potato, cooked in water and mashed
250 ml milk at room temperature
250 ml vegetable oil
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 queso fresco or panela grated [1 pound]
6 free range eggs
Put the tapioca flour in a bowl. Add the potato still hot using a potato masher. Add salt. Mix very well using your hands. Add milk and continue working the dough with your hands. Add vegetable oil. Continue working. Add the grated cheese, and at last the eggs. Add 1 teaspoon of anise seeds for a special touch. The dough needs to get very silky and be moldable. If it is breaking, add one more egg. Make little round breads, and bake at 450oF for 20 minutes. The dough can be frozen.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 6 to 8|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 12g||16%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||15%|
|Total Carbohydrate 20g||7%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|