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52 Weeks of Baking: Brazilian Cheese Bread

When I dined stuffed my face at the Brazilian steakhouse, it was really difficult to not devour the complementary mini loafs of cheesebread. Known as Pão de Queijo, these little puffs are made from tapioca flour and are so light and fluffy and surprisingly dense at the same time. When we decided to highlight Brazilian food today, I knew I'd have to use the opportunity to dig up a recipe. It's pretty easy to follow, just make sure you don't underbake them (which would result in an uncooked/doughy middle). To knead up your own batch, check out the recipe, just

Pão de Queijo
Adapted from Recipezaar and Sonia-Portuguese

1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
2 cups tapioca flour
2-3 eggs (I had a cracking accident and used 2 eggs, 1 yolk and some white)
2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium-large sized pot bring milk, water, oil, and salt to a low boil. Remove from heat once boiling.
  3. Add in tapioca flour, stirring as fast as possible. Use a wooden spoon, not a whisk, as the dough will become very sticky. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
  4. Move dough to a large bowl and knead in eggs.
  5. When eggs are kneaded in, add grated cheese and knead until dough is smooth. Note: If your cheese is coarsely grated, it will appear a bit lumpy.
  6. Once kneaded, form into balls about 2 inches wide and place on parchment paper coated (or greased) baking sheet. Note: you may want grease your hands with vegetable oil before trying to form dough balls.
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.
  8. Serve warm! If you let them sit too long, reheat in the oven/toaster oven, the microwave will make them too gooey.

Note: Next time I'm going to go 2 1/2 cups of cheese!


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terri376 terri376 4 years
I want to make these but am in new mexico how do I adapt this to the altitude
Amanda73 Amanda73 5 years
Delish. My dough was crumblier than the pic...but was so yummy...I had to stop myself from eating them all! :)
jenncosmetix jenncosmetix 7 years
OMG! I wish she had mentioned how disgusting the dough smells when mixing. soooo gross! these came out soo wrong. Mine were so sticky and gooey and didn't bake right at all. They weren't cooked all the way through so I let them bake another 10 minutes and longer and longer and they got brown on the outside like the picture but stayed completely gooey and stickey on the inside. I'll be trying another recipe.
ChristineS ChristineS 8 years
Wow these look awesome! Going to give them a try!
auroraforever auroraforever 9 years
Thank you Thank you! I've been living in Brazil for the past year and a half and will be moving back to the US next month and one of the things I'll miss most is Pao de Queijo - now I can make it myself.
Mirrorball Mirrorball 9 years
I think manioc starch and tapioca flour are the same thing, but *sour* manioc starch has a different smell and taste. Here in Brazil we don't have cheddar, I just thought it might be adequate from what I read on the Internet, but I never tasted it as far as I remember. The cheese I use for my recipe is pale yellow and has a mild, salty taste, and I add a lot of it. I guess it's just my preference, because I only like Parmesan on pasta. So good luck to you! I wish I could taste your cheese bread.
Food Food 9 years
Mirrorball - your recipe looks great, thanks for sharing it, I'm going to have to give it a try. I'll have to see if I can find manioc starch for the next batch. Also, the parmesan actually didn't come out that strong (I really felt it needed more of a cheese taste) and I personally think the cheddar might be too strong, but that's probably because I love really strong aged cheddars!
Mirrorball Mirrorball 9 years
I'm Brazilian and I make great Pão de Queijo. I posted my recipe on eGullet with a picture, if you want to have a look at it. And I suggest you substitute another cheese for Parmesan, because the taste of Parmesan is too strong. Maybe hard Cheddar? And add a lot of it. Also try sour manioc starch (polvilho azedo) instead of tapioca flour if you can find it. Probably not.
Food Food 9 years
Hrmm... The oil content could be it, how did your batter look compared to mine? I definitely had to oil my hands and wash them several times because the dough was so sticky. Yours might also been a bit larger than the ones I made, if you touch your index finger to your thumb, that circle (about the size of a half dollar) is the size i made. I wish I could figure out what went wrong. It could be the ingredients, but I'm not sure. Sorry I can't help more!
Caseylh Caseylh 9 years
YumSugar - Thank you so much for your reply. The balls were about 1 3/4" to 2" big. Plus I did not have enough Parmigiano to grind so I used the cheap stuff, Kraft(That stuff is nothing like the fresh thing, I know!) and maybe that had more fat and oil in it? They secreted alot of oil during cooking?? But also you said in the recipe that you may need to put oil on your hands to roll, and there was definatlety no need to when I did it, they were already very oily!!
Food Food 9 years
caseylh- oh no! that's such a bummer! the lack of fat in the milk could be the cause. How big did you make the balls? And did you knead everything until smooth? They're definitely harder on the outside and chewy on the inside (like tapioca balls), but they shouldn't be super hard...
Caseylh Caseylh 9 years
OMG! I made these and they came out all wrong I beleive. I cooked them for 30 miuntes even and they were way too gooey inside, super hard on the bottom. They went all wrong for me. Maybe becuase I used Non-Fat milk you think??? Or was it the 2 1/4 cups of cheese??? So sad. Somebody help!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!
saffy1227 saffy1227 9 years
cool, looks delish!
miss-matilda miss-matilda 9 years
there is a mix you can buy to make these. its called CHEBE and its delicious! its a staple in our Gluten Free household.
christie christie 9 years
Those look awesome. My family members are complete bread addicts so I will have to make this soon. Thanks!
Fancy04 Fancy04 9 years
I love these. They are yummy.
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