Friday, 24 September 2010

pão de queijo: brazilian cheese bread

pao de queijo
I have mentioned before that I have a fondness for South American stuff, and it's because I train capoeira, which is a Brazilian martial art. I have wanted to make something Brazilian for a few months now and finally stopped procrastinating recently with a venture into pão de queijo, a Brazilian cheese bread, simply because it seemed like it would be pretty easy. So I made some last week, using a recipe I found online and halving it, but it wasn't quite as easy as I thought - even though I followed the recipe, the mixture was too fluid and impossible to knead - I ended up pouring them into moulds to bake. The feedback was still great, but I wanted to see if I could do it better a second time.

I gave it another go this week with some adaptations based on my first try, and with the benefit of experience, it was a success! The first time I made it, I added tapioca starch to the liquid mixture. This time, I did it the other way round and gradually poured the liquid into the tapioca starch (this tip is thanks to the recipe from a book called Street Cafe Brazil by Michael Bateman), and stopped once I got the texture I wanted. As always, the recipe is just a guide. Feel free to individually adjust the amounts of each item during the process to achieve a dough you can work with. My end result was soft, but still workable.

my little golf-ball-sized creations: pao de queijo in the oven

Ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup oil (I used rice bran oil)
1/2 teaspoon salt
225g / 1/2lb tapioca starch (also known as manioc starch, cassava starch etc)
1 egg
100g / 1/4lb finely grated parmesan (or similar) cheese

- In a saucepan, combine milk, water, oil, salt and bring to boil.
- Remove pan from heat and slowly pour the liquid on to the tapioca in a bowl while stirring it with a wooden spoon to a dough texture. (You may not need all the liquid mixture - stop pouring if the dough starts to become too soft and moist.)
- Stir in the egg, and lastly, the cheese.
- Grease hands, knead and make approximately a dozen little balls - mine were about the size of golf balls or a bit larger. (I had to shape rather than roll mine because my mix, while not liquid, was still quite mushy - and as you can see they're more like little lumps. They did end up puffing up nicely in the oven though!)
- Arrange on a greased baking tray, leaving enough space between each ball for expanding. Bake in an oven that has been preheated at 200°C (392ºF) for 20 minutes or till they transform into golden puffs.
- Best served hot or warm.

fresh pao de queijo after i bit into it. the interior is sticky when it's still warm, and more bread-like after it cools down.


And there you have it. A nice little batch of pao de queijo with crispy crusts that concede gratifyingly into a warm, chewy softness as you sink your teeth into them. Mm-mmm!

Note: Not having had the ones from Brazil, I'm not sure if these are true to the original, but I'm really satisfied with this batch and Simon loved them, eating about five in quick succession. So I'm putting this down as a triumph!

Update: My capoeira instructor, a Brazilian, has eaten my day-old pao de queijo and given me his high-five of approval. Yay!!

37 comments:

  1. that looks absolutely lovely. never been to brazil, but i'd say you did a great job!

    cheers,

    *heather*

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  2. carbo is lovely, cheese on carbo?? bring them on!! the photos are great, I can almost taste them....

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  3. Thanks squirrelbread and thepleasuremonger! If you like cheesy and starchy, these are a good bet. :D

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  4. Oh my!! I LOVE CHEESE!
    I wanna try it~~ XD

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  5. hi there...not only I am brasilian as I come from the same area as Pao de queijo! LOL and I have to say WE ARE ALLLL addicted to it!!! yours looks great and I'm it tasted great too...for he lill problem u had with the mushy dough you might want to lose the water and reduce the oil..my regular recipe had 100ml of oil for 500gr of cassava flour and your seams to be mine halved hehehe..only I don't use water. Other trick, since the real cheese used for this recipe can only be found in Brasil, is to use half cheddar and half Parmesan cheese, that changes the texture as well. Lastly you really need to work the dough and don;t feel afraid of adding a bit more starch in the end if you find it too mushy. I am not expert but as that is one of my favorites food in the world I thought I would share my secrets!!! Hope it helps! and well done for trying, it took me more than an year after I moved out from Brasil to even attempt making one of those!!!
    http://thecosmicgirlinenglish.blogspot.com/

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  6. Melissy, try making it! :)

    Aidinha, yay I'm so happy someone from Minas visited and commented on this post, thanks for the tips! I'll try half cheddar and half parmesan next time. :D

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  7. I have never tried cheese bread like this before. Thanks for introducing it to me :)

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  8. Hey tigerfish, that means now you can make it and try it for the first time. :D

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  9. I'm totally looking forward to baking these. I live in Mexico, and there's a really nice sharp Dutch cheese (queso de gallo) over here that's a bit like a cross between cheddar and parmesan - so I think it will work well. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Thanks Patty, I hope they turn out well for you!
    P.S. - Thanks also for the feature, love your site. Baking IS Hot. ;D

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  11. They look perfectly gooey inside!! yum yum yum!!

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  12. Wow, that looks fantastic. It kind of looks like it has the texture of mochi? Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Thanks the dainty baker and aimee! Yes they are sticky and chewy inside when hot or warm, which is when they are usually eaten.

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  14. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I've been meaning to try some Brazilian recipes recently. I made these to accompany a soup, and they complemented each other quite well. I followed the directions mostly to form, although I used a bit less water. Parmesan made them a bit saltier than I prefer, so I'll use a cheddar/parmesan mix next time or a milder cheese. All in all, though, it's a great recipe. My family really enjoyed them!

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  15. Thanks for sharing your experience, Brian! I'm glad that you and your family enjoyed it. :D

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  16. i just made these but i used mozzarella cheese cos they were the only cheese i had on hand so they tasted pretty blanddd. would use cheddar+parmesan definitely for my next batch! my dough was mushhy too but puffed up ok too! hahaha. thanks for the recipe:)

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  17. Thanks for the feedback chocolatecup! Hope the second time turns out tastier. I know some people also add spices, and though it's probably not traditional to do so, it's something you can consider. :D

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  18. Have not tried making them yet but they look delicious and I love different foods. Could not find it on Food TV. Thanks. will try it soon.

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    1. Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment! :)

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  19. I just made a batch and I used Aidinha's suggestions and all I can say is "I've died and gone to heaven". They are amazing. I made them into little bite sized balls, and it made about 3 dozen. I reduced the cooking time to about 10 min. I am experimenting with freezing the dough so that I can put a batch in the freezer. I have been buying these in the freezer section in our specialty grocery store for years they call them cheese buddies. I've been paying nearly $10 a bag and there's not a lot in it. I am so happy I found this recipe, thanks so much. You've made my 3yr old very happy.

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    1. Thank you so much for leaving your feedback, great to hear it worked out so well for you (and yay for Aidinha's helpful tips)! I am so happy too. :D

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  20. Finally bought some tapioca flour - I'm making these tonight! Milwaukee has an awesome Brazillian steakhouse - Sabor! We love the cheese bread almost as much as the constant stream of gauchos bringing us grilled meats on long skewers! : )

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    1. Awesome! Hope this works fantastically for you. :D

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  21. Is soy milk okay to use instead of regular milk?

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    1. Hi Natalie, I haven't tried it so I can't say for sure. I imagine it should be okay. Perhaps try a smaller batch just to test it out?

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  22. PLEASE tell me you are on Pinterest. Your recipes are to die for.

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    1. Aw thanks so much for the compliment! I do have Pinterest, but I'm still new to it and not very active. Hopefully I'll improve. ;)

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  23. They look delicious! I am definitely going to try these. Does almond milk work instead of regular milk?

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    1. I don't see why almond milk wouldn't work, but I can't guarantee it as I haven't tried it myself. If you do, let me know how you go.

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  24. Well done!! I am Brazilian, and these look perfect!!
    Pao de Queijo is such a delicious savory snack/treat, we love them at our house!!
    Ana

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    1. Yay thanks! Happy to have the Brazilian seal of approval! :D

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  25. I tried to make these but when I opened my box of tapioca they were like little balls and although they smelt great, they didn't look anything like your picture and came out all lumpy. sad face

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    1. Sorry to hear that it didn't turn out great. Not sure what you mean about your box of tapioca being like little balls - did you purchase tapioca pearls instead of tapioca starch by mistake?

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    2. @leaf - tapioca balls and tapioca starch are two entirely different things. Tapioca starch can usually be found in the USA at health food stores or in the health food section of your local grocery store. Ask the folks at your grocery if they carry a brand called "Bobs Red Mill" who makes lots of different kinds of flour/starch products and you should find the tapioca starch in that section. Good luck!

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    3. I know they're different things, I am Asian after all. ;) I was responding to the other Anon up there. But thank you for your suggestion, it should be helpful for quite a few people methinks!

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  26. Could you use corn starch (flour)??

    Ian

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    1. Hi Ian, it seems there are people who have tried making pao de queijo with cornstarch instead of tapioca starch, so I guess it's possible, just not exactly the same. Try to find tapioca starch if you can, as that seems to be how it's most commonly done.

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