If you have visited Brazil you are likely to have tried these tasty morsels known as pão de queijo, or literally translated, cheese bread. Pão de queijo is a popular snack all over Brazil, but especially in the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and Espirito Santo. Found in any coffee shop, lanchonete, or padaria, these are the perfect treat with coffee, for when you are feeling peckish, just want a little something to keep you going, or in my case can’t get enough of them.
On my first trip to Brazil in 2005 I, of course, ate my fair share of pão de queijo, and I have been addicted to them ever since. Not being in Brazil can be a big challenge when you crave these tasty morsels on a daily basis. Every time I visited Brazil I would bring packets of quick and simple pão de queijo mix back to the the USA. Unfortunately these never lasted long enough and I didn’t make the effort to learn how to make them from scratch myself (everyone had told me that they were very difficult, and silly-me, I believed them). So, I was usually without them for many months and had to manage my cravings!
Most Brazilians do not make pão de queijo from scratch. Instead, they either get them from their local padaria (bakery), or buy it frozen from the supermarket. Although buying them frozen is the quick and easy solution to making pão de queijo at home, I knew that I could make these scrumptious treats from scratch and meet the padaria quality.
Now, making pão de queijo in Brazil is easy because all of the ingredients are easy to find. Unfortunately, it is much more of a challenge in the USA. First, the recipe calls for polvilho azedo, which is a sour manioc starch, that is almost impossible to find. The best substitute that I have found for this in the USA is tapioca flour, or you can try searching for it in latin markets where it is sold as almidón agrio. The other ingredient problem you have out of Brazil is the cheese. The cheese that is used for pão de queijo is a half-cured cheese that is tangy and flavorful. Finding a substitute for the cheese is a challenge and I have usually resorted to a mix of parmesan and mozzarella.
Nevertheless, you can make these tasty morsels in your own home. And, I can guarantee that once you have tried these you will want to run back to the kitchen, make a huge batch, and store them in the freezer so you never run out!!!!
Anyway, I won’t keep you from these goodies anymore. Here is the recipe for the pão de queijo that I made this weekend. They turned out amazing as you can see from the pictures. Hopefully they work out for you as well as they did for me. If they don’t work the first time don’t give up! Remember, if the mixture is too runny just add some more flour until you can roll the mixture into small balls that will keep their shape on the tray.
I look forward to hearing and seeing pictures from your pão de queijo!
makes approx. 30
320g (or slightly more than 2 cups) polvilho azedo or tapioca flour
1/2 cup vegetable, canola, or sunflower oil
1 cup milk
2 tsp salt
2 cups finely grate queijo minas (or you can try a mix of 1 part mozzarella and 2 parts parmesan cheese)
Heat the oil and milk together in the microwave or stove. Do not bring to a boil. Mix the oil and milk with the polvilho azedo and salt until fully combined. Put in the fridge to cool to room temperature. Finely grate the cheese. When the mixture has cooled mix a little and then add the cheese. Make sure mixture is combined well. If mixture is too runny add more polvilho azedo until mixture is slightly firm and when rolled into a small ball it holds. Preheat oven to 375F or 180C. Cover hands with oil and roll balls approximately 2.5cm or 1inch (make sure not to make the balls too big, otherwise they will not rise). Place on a baking tray or cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until tops are slightly golden.
If freezing, place rolled balls onto wax paper and put in the freezer for approximately 8 hours, or until well frozen. Transfer to ziploc bag. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375F or 180C, when oven is hot retrieve pão de queijo from the freezer, place on baking tray or cookie sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until tops are slightly golden. It is important to remember to bake when still frozen.
Serve immediately. Pão de Queijo is best eaten straight out of the oven.
For a PDF of this Recipe CLICK HERE!