Brazilian Cheese Bread - Pão de Queijo

Today's post will be about another relish from my country: Cheese Bread, one of the most traditional food in Minas Gerais State, where I was born and raised. They are little balls with crackly, crusty exterior and soft centermade mainly with cheese and tapioca flour. They are perfect in breakfast or lunch, or yet with juice, coffee or even a soft drink.

I could find tapioca flour (also named starch) looking at the organic foods session in the grocery store close to my home. But if you have problem to find it on the market closer to yours, you can easily order it on a Brazilian food online store. Probably, you will find two different types of flour there, sweet or sour starch. Well, we prefer the sour starch in Brazil, but the sweet starch works pretty well too. 

The challenge for this recipe wasn’t the tapioca flour, but the cheese. The original recipe uses a matured Minas cheese, which is almost impossible to find in US. So, to reproduce the cheese bread taste, I’ve tried a mixture using parmesan, mozzarella and cream cheese. The most flavorful and with the best texture was the one made with parmesan and mozzarella cheese. This Cheese bread was delicious!

Cheese Bread

600g tapioca flour
25 g of salt
30 g of butter
100 ml oil
500 ml of milk
5 small eggs
300 g of Mozzarella Cheese
400 g of Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two baking sheets with Silpat (silicone liners) or line with parchment paper.

In a bowl, place tapioca flour and salt.

In a saucepan over medium heat, place the butter, oil and milk
and simmer. Once boiling, remove from heat and throw
slowly over the mixture aside (flour and salt).

Mix until completely cool the dough (if possible, use
mixer). Add the eggs until incorporated completely. By
finally add the Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Make small balls of 30g each, using oil on your hands so that the dough won't stick, and place on sheet pans approx 1-1/2" apart. Bake for 25 minutes until puffed and golden. Test; if still very moist inside, turn oven down to 325°F and bake 10 more minutes. The cheese bread will taste best before cooling.