Pao de Queijo

You’ve probably heard of those really fancy Brazilian BBQ restaurants like Fogo de Chao or Fire of Brazil. Well, if you haven’t, or have but never been to one, they serve this really amazing cheese bread. They bring it out, unlimited might I add, fresh out of the oven. I tend to eat more bread than meat (and trust me, the meat is AWESOME). So, as a blooming chef, I searched the internet for the name of little delicious cheese puffs and a recipe to go along with it.

It turns out that they are a traditional Brazilian bread called Pao de Queijo. The uniqueness of these rolls comes from the type of flour that is used. The cassava plant, also known as the yucca or manioc, is originally from South America but can be found all over the tropical regions now.

Recipe:

  • 2 1/4 cups of tapioca flour, aka tapioca starch or manioc starch
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup of freshly and coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese)
  • 1 tsp of salt

1. In a bowl combine the tapioca flour and salt.  In a small pot, heat the milk and oil until scalding and turn off the heat. Combine the two mixtures.  At this point your dough will be very dry and lumpy and a bit rubbery.

2. Let the dough cool down. Add the eggs and knead them into the dough.  Mix until incorporated, then put the dough onto a clean surface and with oiled hands knead the cheese into the dough.  The dough should be very lumpy.

3. With oiled hands, pinch off little ping-pong ball-sized pieces and roll them between your hands so they are smooth.  Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. They won’t expand much so you don’t need to space them out a lot.

4. Bake them at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the outside is starting to become firm and looks a bit dry. Bring the temperature to 325 and bake for another 15 minutes so the inside is cooked through. Enjoy them while they are fresh out of the oven!

**These don’t keep well and will become gummy and chewy. You can always freeze the raw dough and when you want them just pop a few into the oven. Enjoy!

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