BRAZILIAN PAO DE QUEIJO: Love at first bite!

cheesebread1

If you happen to know any Brazilians leaving abroad, ask them to name the five foods that they miss the most. I’m willing to bet that “pao de queijo” (little cheese bread) makes the list. Some might even shed a tear or two thinking about it.

Want to say it as a native? The nasal sound of “pao” is a little tricky, listen…

Originally from the beautiful state of Minas Gerais, they are made with a farmer’s type cheese, quite unique (Minas’ cheese, read about it here).   Brazilian cheese bread  is so popular that nowadays you can buy it in stores all over the country called ‘Casa do Pao de Queijo” (Home of the Cheese Bread),  or as a dry mix, in colorful bags available at most grocery stores. I’ve lost track of how many such bags we’ve stuffed in our luggage coming back from annual trips to visit family and friends.

Last year I found a recipe for pao de queijo  published by Fer,  in her blog Chucrute com Salsicha. She is  a  Brazilian-American like myself, and she raved about them. When things like pao de queijo are on the line, Brazilians attentively listen to each other… At least three Brazilian bloggers back this recipe.  Try it, you’ll love it

BRAZILIAN CHEESE BREAD
(adapted from Fer, original recipe from Neide)

1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup farmer’s cheese (see comments)
1 T Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt

for topping (optional)
fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
kosher salt

Add all ingredients, except those for the topping, into a blender.  Blend very well at full speed, stopping a couple of times to scrape the surface of the blender’s cup, making sure no bits of tapioca starch are left unmixed.

The mixture will be a little thinner than pancake batter.  Pour the batter in mini-muffin tins, to no more than  3/4 of their capacity,  as shown here.  The recipe makes 24 little cheese breads.

tray

Add a little bit of salt and rosemary on top, place in a 400F oven, and cook for 20 minutes.

outofoven

Most will come out right away without sticking.  If some stick slightly, allow them to cool for a few minutes and probe them out gently with the tip of a knife.

ENJOY!


to print the recipe, click here


Comments: In the original recipe, Neide was trying to mimic little cheese breads she had at a restaurant in Rio de Janeiro. She used exclusively Parmiggiano cheese in the batter.   I’ve  made this recipe many times,  and now settled on a combination of two cheeses: a melting type, preferably Mexican, and a small amount of Parmiggiano to sharpen the taste.  Of course, depending on the type of cheese, adjust the salt.  In this batch I did not add any rosemary, but please do so, it is perfect with it.

They resemble popovers in texture, but are gluten-free, so folks with gluten allergies can still enjoy them!

Now, allow me to share a couple of photos sent by Mia, a reader of my blog who just made a batch!  In her version, the mixture ended up with a firmer texture, so she was able to roll them as little balls, which I must say made them a lot more “authentic-looking”.   Awesome job!

image

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Mia, thanks so much for trying one of my favorite Brazilian recipes, and for sending the photos and allowing me to publish them…   Now I am craving “pão de queijo” again…..

37 thoughts on “BRAZILIAN PAO DE QUEIJO: Love at first bite!

  1. I tried pao de queijo in a Brazilian restaurant here in Firenze and wondered how it was made. (but forgot to search the recipe once back home :) ). Thanks for sharing this recipe, I’ll surely try it.

    • Mmmmh! Brazilian barbecue is awesome… what the hell do you do to meat to have it so juicy? We have a pay-per-weight Brazilian restaurant in Firenze. You stuff your dish with any kind of delicacy at the buffet and you pay a fixed per gram rate.

  2. Hi, Barb…

    I would use a Monterey Jack type… melts well, clean taste.

    Mozzarella might work well too, but I would use the low moisture kind, not the fresh one, packed in liquid.

    Hope you will love these!

  3. Sally..They are delicious! My only problem was getting them out of the pans..my muffin tins are old..should I grease them lightly? A friend is going to lend me her non stick pans..I used the jack cheese as you suggested. My only problem is going to be keeping a few for dinner as samplers are passing through the kitchen. Many thanks. Barb

  4. Hi, Barb

    mine are non-stick and almost brand new (they have been sitting in my cupboard for a long time together with the hundreds of gadgets I cannot resist buying… :-)

    If yours stuck too much, grease the tins a little bit, should work fine. Glad that you enjoyed them!

  5. I just made this and it did not come out as pretty as yours! I will try the blender technique next time.

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  7. Hi! My parents are Brazilians and have several Brazilian friends living here in Canada. I have a slightly different recipe for pao.

    Oven 400 degrees.
    Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

    3C tapioca flour
    4 eggs beaten
    1 C Parmesan cheese
    1 t salt
    1/2 C water
    1/2 C milk
    3/4 C vegetable oil

    Put tapioca flour into a mixing bowl. Heat the wet ingredients (excluding the eggs) until they reach a full boil. Pour over the tapioca flour and mix well to form a sticky dough. Mix in the cheese well. Allow the mixture to cool slightly before adding the eggs as you do not want the eggs to cook in the hot batter. When the batter is cooled enough mix in the eggs. With greased hands form 1/4 cup sized balls and space evenly on cookie sheet.
    Bake 20 minutes or until golden and puffed up.
    Delicious!

    • Thanks for posting your recipe, I am going to try it as soon as possible and let you know how it goes….

      one can never have too many recipes for something as delicious as pao de queijo! ;-)

  8. Just a quick note to let you know that ever since we made these (and it’s been twice already!), I absolutely crave these little gems. I was craving them tonight, so I thought I’d say thank you for the recipe. :)

  9. I really missed Pao de Queijo after leaving Brazil and had to come up with my own recipe but I never thought to use any water and I’m not sure you haven’t got it nailed here! Incidentally, have you ever tried adding a little chopped tarragon to the batter before baking? It goes superbly with the cheese!

    Dan

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  13. I’ve come across pao de queijo twice. Once, unsurprisingly, at the pay-by-weight Brazillian barbecue buffet in Woburn, MA. They’re really good as part of mini-steak sandwiches with their spit-roasted beef.

    The second, more surprisingly, is at The Reel Club (http://www.reel-club.com/) in Oakbrook, IL, where their gluten-free nature seems to be a big plus. They may be served at the bar only. There’s oddly no acknowledgement of their Brazilian heritage.

  14. I just bought a box of tapioca flour though the bulk food store also had tapioca flour starch loose. Are they the same thing? Do I have to take the tapioca flour back and buy the starch? Help please … :)

  15. Sally, I made a batch today and if they’re supposed to be a cross between a popover and a gougere, they were a success. Not the pretty rounded balls that yours are, unfortunately.

    I had to bake them an additional 5 minutes as the inside was a bit ‘gummy’ after only 20 minutes. Not bad but they reminded me of Chinese mixed meat dumplings that you get on the dim sum menu or the sesame seed balls filled with sweet bean paste in texture. The additional baking time helped quite a bit. I’m sure the next batch will be even better after I do some fiddling with my baking technique. :)

    Thank you for the recipe and advice.

    • Awesome, but I must tell you that they are indeed a bit “gummy” in the center – it is part of their unique nature – in fact, in Brazil, if you get one that is completely baked, people will say it’s a “bad pao de queijo” ;-)

      it can be a bit of an acquired taste, though – and because the cheese used in Brazil is not the exact same, you won’t get the real authentic “gummy texture” – now that I completely confused you, you should definitely bake them longer if you prefer the drier texture… Go for it! ;-)

      • I tasted both the 20 min version and the 25 min one and they were both gummy, but the bottom of the batch with the shorter baking time has a softer bottom which I think meant that it was a bit under baked. I removed the mini muffin tray from the larger baking sheet that it was sitting on, in case of overflows etc, before baking for an extra 5 minutes, and the result was a nice crispy and somewhat more golden base. As you can see if you go to my LJ, the picture of the inside shows that it’s still ‘moist’.

        http://bewitchingkitchen.com/2009/10/24/brazilian-pao-de-queijo-love-at-first-bite/

        I’ve seen pictures of inside of these breads and some of them seem quite bready so I was concerned that I had done something wrong when I saw the empty space in the middle. Or is it because of the blender batter technique/recipe compared to the recipes which end up with balls of dough which you bake on a baking sheet?

  16. I’ve been all over the place on bread sites today, beginning with the bread in 5 minutes, which is where I found your site..! When I was making Chili for lunch, my husband suggested ‘Pão de Queijo’ to go with it..! Delicioso..!! A primeira vez fazendo ‘Pão de Queijo’..! Estou tão orgulhosa..!! LOL (how can I post a pic?)

    • Awesome! You have two options to post a picture, one would be to upload it to a public site and include the link in your comment, but if you like, I can edit the post to include your photo, just send it my way! my email is sallybr2008 at gmail dot com

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