I adore Brasilian cheese bread since I tried it many years ago at a friend’s place which family was Brasilian, they are to die for. They can be found in different parts of Latin America called with different names but in the end mmmm the same delicious result!
As I said I am crazy about them but now almost 3 years (after I moved to Australia) I haven’t tried one!
I started the day with cravings of Brasilian Cheese breads! So here I bring you this recipe adapted from Laylita’s blog. This is my second attempt, the first ones I did a year ago and I had to throw them away hahaha. But this time I tried to carefully remember its consistency and, well, they were not bad at all!
They are also easy and quick to make … And they are gluten-free yeii!
“This entry was moved from my old blog miexperienciaculinaria.com, translated and updated on the 27/09/2020. The original post was made in March 2014”
What are Brasilian Cheese Breads?
Brasilian cheese bread is a small baked bun similar to French Gougère, popular in Brasil as street food, generally eaten as a snack or breakfast, they are original from the State of Minas Gerais in Brasil.
There are many versions of this cheese breads, varying in the cooking method as well as ingredient ratios, some recipes might mixed the ingredients differently and other recipes call for a precooking step of the dough, however the method the recipe calls for few ingredients and simple preparations to achieve a very particular looking and tasting piece of bread.
The beauty of these buns is the contrast between their outer crispy layer and their internal soft chewy cheesy core, they are amazing especially when eating them warm.
I call this version of Brasilian cheese bread my version 1.0 which was developed back in March 2014, since then I’ve been using this recipe until I decided to try the traditional recipe from Minas Gerais which includes the pre-cooking method, I will post my version 2.0 soon. However if you want to skip precooking the dough you can perfectly make this recipe and achieve delicious results with it.
What ingredients do you need to make Brasilian Cheese Bread?
Simple ingredients however it can be confusing sometimes as the main ingredient is a Tapioca starch, few are familiar with, however, if you use gluten-free ingredients you may have some of this flour in your pantry. Other ingredients include eggs, baking powder (use GF), butter (lard, oil or margarine can be used as well), and cheese. I am going to describe the main ones only.
TAPIOCA STARCH (CASSAVA STARCH / MANIOC FLOUR)
Tapioca starch is a starchy flour extracted from the roots of the cassava plant, which is a starchy root vegetable popularised throughout Brasil and most Latin countries, it has a powdery white look and is very fine. It can be used in gluten-free cooking in addition to other grain flours and is also used as a thickening agent. Do not confuse this with Arrowroot flour as it is not the same. It may be substituted in some cases by Corn Starch but I haven’t tried this myself.
Nowadays there are many brands being imported and produced in Australia, the cheapest and trustworthy brand I used is Erawan Tapioca Starch (the blue one) which you can find in regular supermarkets in the Asian aisle or in Asian Groceries, you could also try McKenzies brand or Bob mills. It ranges between $1-$4 for 500g. Once opened store it in a sealed container so it doesn’t turn rancid.
The bread uses a mix of cheeses like mozzarella and parmesan and traditionally Minas Cheese which is a type of Brasilian fresh cheese made in the State of Mina Gerais, the cheese is what gives the distinctive flavour to this bread, which needs to be slightly salty and matured. I’ve used a mix of Tasty and pecorino cheese which appealed to me very much, but you could even use a Mozzarella and parmesan or experiment with other cheeses, what I recommend is including at least one type of cheese that is aged similar to the parmesan or pecorino and that is on the salty side.
Tips to make Brasilian Cheese Bread version 1.0
- Use room temperature ingredients
- Add the wet ingredients first
- Work the flour progressively
- If you find the dough too hard to knead add extra tablespoons of water but don’t add too much or your cheese bread will collapse
- If you find the dough too wet (which is unlikely) just in case you find is too runny add extra flour
Brasilian Cheese Bread 1.0 / Pão de queijoCourse: Breakfast, SnacksCuisine: Latin American, BrasilDifficulty: Easy
Delicious chewy in the centre and crispy on the outside, you can’t go wrong with these easy and quick Brasilian Cheese Breads, and they are gluten-free as well!
2 1/2 c of tapioca starch
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt (this depends on how salty the cheese is)
100 gr of margarine melted
300 g of grated cheese (tasty, or mozzarella)
100 g aged cheese (pecorino or parmesan)
3 tbsp of water more or less depending on how dry the mixture is
- Pre-heat the oven at 250C. Place baking paper in a baking tray.
- In a bowl mix the tapioca, baking powder and salt.
- Melt the butter and let to cool at room temperature.
- Whisk the eggs, add the melted butter and the cheese and give it a mix.
- Start adding the flour and working into a dough, it will get harder as you add more flour, add water to help you work the dough, continue working avoiding to add to much water. The dough should be firm and not stick to your hands.
- Form little balls of around 3-4 cm, rolling some dough in your hands and placing them in the prepared tray with some space between them as they can grow a little bit
- Cook in preheated oven for 12-15 min or until golden brown
- Freezable: Yes you can freeze these, just place the balls in a sealed container prior to baking. To cook: Bake them from frozen for 20-25min or until cooked through and golden browned
- Variations: Add spices or herbs to flavour the base, try chives, garlic or onion powder. Try adding veggies like a baked potato or sweet potato for added nutrition.
- Sweet variations: Sweet and savoury combinations are widely used in Latin American cuisine, try filling these with a square of chocolate in the middle, quince or guava paste, you could use a chewy caramel block as well, cook for 5 min longer to allow for the centre to melt.