Pão de Queijo – Cheese Bread

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In Brazil, we have a very famous “snack”. It is called pão de queijo (pronounced pown-deh-kay-zho or, if you are familiar with linguistics, [pɐ̃w̃ dʒi ˈkejʒu]). Originally from Minas Gerais, a state in the southeast of Brazil, these little cheese breads are very tasty and addictive.

Although my whole family loves pão de queijo, I’ve never seen them making the recipe from scratch. This is because in Brazil, people are very used to buy them frozen at the supermarket. Or they buy the mix and bake the breads at home. Even frozen, the cheese breads were absolutely amazing once baked. It’s funny to think that in Brazil some frozen foods taste very good, like lasagnas and cheese breads.

Since I live in California now, I can’t simply go to the grocery store, buy some frozen cheese breads and eat them in the afternoon, with some coffee (so good). No, wait. It is not true. Once I went to a Portuguese market nearby and found delicious frozen pães de queijo, and some mixture too. Of course it’s already gone, so now I had to make them from scratch.

In Brazil we use a specific kind of cheese, it’s called queijo de minas. I couldn’t find it here, but queso fresco can be a good substitute. It is also a creamy, soft and mild white cheese.

This time I just used what I had in hands. I had some fresh parmesan cheese and decided to grate it to use in this recipe. It’s not ideal, but it’s also good.

Also, this recipe is gluten-free. It doesn’t call for flour; instead, we use sour tapioca flour. It can be a little tricky to find, but you can buy it on Amazon or at specialized grocery stores.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 50 ml vegetable or soybean oil
  • 50 ml water
  • 250g sour tapioca starch
  • ½ tbsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 250g grated queso fresco or grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°F

2. Put milk, water and oil in a sauce pan and heat this mixture until it starts to boil.

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3. Meanwhile, put the sour tapioca starch and the salt in a bowl and mix it well.

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4. Put the hot mixture in the bowl with the starch and salt, and mix it well with a wooden spoon.

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5. Let it cool down a bit and add the egg and grated cheese. Make sure to mix all the ingredients very well. The dough is going to be very sticky.

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6. Grease your hands with butter or oil and make little balls out of this mixture.

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7. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until all puffy and just lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for a few minutes.

Let them cool on a rack for a few minutes and, if possible, eat them while still warm. They’re very chewy, so they’re more soft and yummy after they come out of the oven.

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The pictures are not so good because I was in a rush. I made these for a sewing meeting with the girls and I was already so late!

Eat the cheese bread with some coffee or tea, it is very good! 🙂

Gabriela

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