Brazilian Cheese Bread. The Cure to Your World Cup Hangover.


Brazilian cheese bread (aka Pão de Queijo) would’ve been culturally perfect to pop in your mouth while watching all the soccer in Brazil, but now they’ll help fill the void in your life that is the World Cup’s end.

One of our favorite restaurants is a Brazilian steakhouse. We don’t go often because they’re pretty darn pricey, but it’s a real treat when we finally splurge on the all-you-can-eat meats, gourmet cheeses, roasted sweet pineapple, and fancy-schmancy salad bar items. It’s pure meaty extravagance. Depending on the steakhouse, there are between nine and seventeen different cuts/types of meats brought hot off the charcoal grill to your table on big skewers by gauchos/servers, who carve the perfectly-seasoned meats right onto your plate. It’s luxurious.

We tend to fill up on meat and not get our fill of the goodness of the complimentary cheese bread. To counteract the feelings of cheese bread deprivation (an ultimate first world problem) in the future, I decided to learn how to make my own Pão de Queijo at home so we could have our fill of it before our next trip to meat heaven.
This recipe has become my latest obsession. (I mean look at them… can you blame me!?)

Finished Product.

So, as much as we love that skewered meat, we’re here to tell you about these crispy-on-the-outside, gooey-on-the-inside, warm, flavorful, airy, addicting puffs of Brazilian cheese bread that will make you want to dust off your mixer and give ’em a try.

What You Need

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 – 2 cups Parmesan cheese, depending on how strong you want it to taste
    (I’ve also used Asiago and Romano. All good choices.)
  • 2 cups tapioca flour or sour cassava flour
    (Sour cassava or sour tapioca flour is difficult to find … we’ve only ever been able to get our hands on regular tapioca flour, which lacks the slightly sour, fermented flavor, but it still gives you that gooey texture you want. You can find Bob’s Red Mill tapioca flour at most natural foods stores.)

What You Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment (or cooking spray) and set aside.
  3. Prepare a heavy-duty stand mixer with a kneader attachment.
  4. Grate the cheese and set aside.
  5. Combine the milk, oil, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat.
  6. Pour the hot milk mixture into your mixer and quickly add the tapioca flour (mixer on low). Scrape the sides of the mixer as needed.
    Tip: The dough is sort of gelatinous when it’s mixed well. It’s weird looking. Don’t get nervous.
  7. Beat the eggs into the dough (mixer on low).
    Tip: You’re kind of supposed to cool the dough off before you add the eggs, and whisk the eggs together in a small before before adding them, but I just crack them into the mixer when the dough’s hot and it’s always worked out wonderfully for me. I’m always a fan of fewer steps if the result is the same level of delicious.
  8. Beat the cheese into the dough (mixer on medium) until evenly incorporated.
    Tip: The dough is now super-sticky, stretchy, and gooey.
  9. Use an ice cream scoop or spoon to portion the dough into small balls about an inch apart on the baking sheet/muffin pan.
    Tip: You can dip your scoop in water or spray it with cooking spray occasionally to prevent the dough from sticking to it.
  10. Bake those bad boys!  Immediately turn down the heat to 350°F and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the balls are puffier and the outsides are JUST starting to color.
  11. Let them cool for a couple minutes and then eat ‘em while they’re warm… they’ll never taste better than fresh out of the oven!

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