August 9, 2016

Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de Queijo)

Are you watching the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio?  Me too and it inspired me to bake something Brazilian.  So I present to you this cheese bread, Pão de Queijo.  I first tasted these delicious savories at a churrascaria, or Brazilian steak house.  While very similar to the French gougères, the main difference is that the pão de queijo are 100% gluten-free! 

I found this recipe on and tweaked it only slightly.  Tapioca flour is used in place of wheat flour which makes them perfect for anyone with a gluten intolerance.  You can easily find tapioca flour (sometimes called tapioca starch) at any Asian market for next to nothing.  

The dough is essentially a pâte à choux - milk and butter heated together in a saucepan, flour is mixed in and finally eggs are added.  It takes no time at all to make and the crunchy exterior and chewy interior of the cheesy puffs will have you making them again and again.  Make a big batch for your next Olympics viewing party! 

Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de Queijo)

Makes 24 mini-muffin size breads

2 cups tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups Pecorino Romano, plus extra for topping
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring milk, butter and salt to a boil in a medium sauce pan while constantly stirring mixture.  Once boiled, remove the pan from the heat and stir in tapioca flour with a wooden spoon.   [NOTE: Don't be alarmed if the dough gets super sticky.]  Let the dough cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until fully absorbed.   Stir in the cheese and black pepper until thoroughly mixed.

Spray a mini-muffin pan (capacity 24) with non-stick spray.  Portion out the dough evenly and sprinkle a little cheese over each muffin cup.  Bake until golden brown, about 22 minutes, rotating muffin pan halfway through baking.

The cheese bread is best served hot.  Leftovers can be frozen and reheated in a warm oven.


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