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.
Easy Brazilian Cheese Bread
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups (170 grams) tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup (packed, about 66 grams) grated cheese, your preference, we get good results with feta cheese (no need to grate), or fresh farmer's cheese (if using fresh farmer's cheese, you may want to add another 1/2 teaspoon of salt)
- 1 teaspoon of salt (or more to taste)
Pre-heat oven, prepare mini-muffin tin:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread a small amount olive oil around the insides of each well of a mini-muffin tin.
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 store the batter in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Pour into mini-muffin tin:
Pour batter into 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 oven and let cool on a rack for a few minutes.
Eat while warm or save to reheat later.
Note that Brazilian cheese bread is very chewy, a lot like Japanese mochi.
Colombian Cheese Bread - much like Brazilian cheese bread but with the addition of corn masa, from My Colombian Recipes
Mandioca starch and Brazilian cheese bread - includes a great story about the mythology around manioc, or tapioca, from The Perfect Pantry
Very Easy Pao de Queijo - a potato-based version from Maki of Just Hungry
Brazilian Pao de Queijo - my Brazilian friend Fernanda's quick recipe tested, translated and published on Bewitching Kitchen
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.