Daring Bakers: Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)
This challenge was so simple, so fun and so delicious! As always I was given the opportunity to try something I’d never tried before, and something I’d never even heard of! These little light and airy cheesy Brazilian bread balls are something special and I’m excited to share them with you.
This month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge took us on a trip to beautiful Brazil! Renata of “Testado, Provado & Aprovado!” taught us how to make Pao De Queijo, tasty cheese buns that make the perfect snack or treat, and that will make your taste buds samba!
Pão de queijo are almost like popovers. Their airy texture combined with their rich cheese flavor makes them super addictive, especially when eaten warm. They’re great right after coming out of the oven just cool enough to handle. But I rewarmed room temp ones in the microwave for about 8 seconds with great success 🙂 If you’re gluten free, then you’re in luck! Instead of wheat flour you use tapioca flour here, which I found without any trouble at my grocery store with all the other specialty flours. The texture is different than a bread made with all purpose flour, of course, but it still has a nice bready chew that would’ve fooled me if I didn’t know they were gluten free.
Renata gave us the option of using any cheese we liked. When I searched recipes I found Parmesan to be a popular choice. So I went with 6 ounces of a goat cheddar and 2 ounces of Parmesan. I liked the way it turned out, but she says any cheese or combination of cheeses would work, so get creative!
The dough is very easy to make, but a little messy since you get in there with your hands and it is a bit sticky. You don’t need any fancy equipment and your mixer doesn’t have to get dirty. The recipe I used calls for 1-3 eggs and you may or may not use them all. I did use all 3. She recommends whisking all 3 eggs together and then adding what you need as you begin working the dough together. Once it’s all together it rolls quite easily into balls and bakes up beautifully.
Since these are best eaten fresh from the oven I just baked half of the dough, then shaped the rest of the dough and froze it. I haven’t tried it, but apparently you can bake them straight from frozen! And that is what I plan to do the next time I need a last minute appetizer or snack for guests. Bam.
Something I wish I’d tried was making this dough in a waffle iron. I cannot begin to imagine the deliciousness of using this as the bread for a breakfast sandwich!
Thanks for the great challenge this month, Renata! I really enjoyed it and am excited to experiment more with this terrific bread.
Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)
From Renata of Testado, Provado e Aprovado
- 4 cups (500 grams) tapioca flour/tapioca starch
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- pinch of salt (or more if your cheese is not salty)
- 9 ounces of coarsely grated cheese (I used a goat cheddar and Parmesan)
- 1-3 large eggs, beaten
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Sift tapioca flour into a large bowl.
- Combine milk, butter and salt in a saucepan and heat over medium until mixture boils, then remove from the heat.
- Pour hot milk over tapioca flour and begin stirring with a fork, working the mixture until the milk is evenly distributed. It will look crumbly. Let it cool off a bit.
- With clean hands, work in the grated cheese.
- Add in the eggs, a little at a time, working the dough together with your hands. Once the dough holds together, you’re done.
- Line cookie sheets with parchment.
- Roll dough into balls about the size of ping pong balls. They puff a little during baking, so don’t crowd them too closely on the pan.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes. until tops just begin to brown. Remove from the oven and cool just slightly before eating.