Sunday, May 7, 2017

Pao de Queijo

I was fourteen when I visited my cousins in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We would run down to the bakery across the street to buy fresh warm little cheese ball breads, and it was a little bite of heaven— crispy on the outside, soft, cheesy, and gooey on the inside.
One of life's best simple pleasures is hot fresh bread, add cheese to it, make it in little balls, and it’s been taken to a whole different level! 
These are essentially a version of the French gougéres, but made with tapioca flour instead of all-purpose flour. Both start on the stove top and have eggs and cheese, but these result as the chewier cousin.
Years later my son was born and my cousins called him a little Pao de Queijo! 
Fast forward a few more years and their friend posts some on his Instagram page, and it got me motivated to bake these for my children. Needless to say, the entire batch was polished off in minutes (a lot consumed by me too!)

Bonus to this recipe is that it calls for Tapioca Flour, which is gluten-free. Bob’s Red Mill makes it and you can find it at Whole Foods.

You can make the batter ahead, bring it to room temperature, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and bake it when you want to eat it.. Another option would be to portion the dough onto baking sheets and freeze until solid. Transfer to resealable freezer bags and freeze up to 1 month. Bake frozen for same amount of time.

Makes 24

2 cups tapioca starch / flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups cheese (parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar, gouda, feta, or a combination of these)


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a large bowl measure the tapioca and set aside.
  3. In a small pot, heat the milk, butter, and salt. Swirl and warm it until just before it boils. 
  4. Add to the tapioca flour. Mix and let it cool.
  5. Once cooled, add the eggs, one at a time. Mix to combine.
  6. Add the cheese. The batter will be soupy. Pour into greased mini muffin tin, until almost the top. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. 
  7. Alternatively, keep mixing and then kneading and it’ll form a thicker dough. Grease your hands, roll into balls the size of a tablespoon, line an inch apartment on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

    Store left over uneaten bread in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Re-crisp in a warm toaster oven.

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