Pão de queixo / Cassava Bread / Cheese buns
One of my favorite South American breads, that can be found not only in Brazil but also in Colombia known as Pandebono and with some slight variations in the recipe, equally delicious, easy to make, no need for proofing as normal bread, and with a distinctive cheese flavour and unique chewy texture, that can be a stand-alone breakfast as is and a quick fix for any cheesy cravings.
The best part of this recipe is that is Gluten Free, as it is made out of Tapioca Flour, resulting of extracting the starch from the Cassava root (which of course is naturally gluten-free). I absolutely love Cassava root is one of the many wonders of South American native ingredients with many applications in the kitchen.
Brazilian Cheese bread or Cassava Bread is traditionally enjoyed as a snack or breakfast. It will take you half an hour to make once you become familiar with this technique and it will not disappoint. Unfortunately, I have not been able to come up with an acceptable version without dairy or cheese although I am in the testing process and as soon as I get a good result I will upload the recipe.
I called this version 2.0 as I have a previous version (1.0 posted in the blog) that was developed inspired by the way I learned how to make this recipe 20 years ago from a friend of mine who used a nontraditional technique which I realised later many years after.
In search for the correct way to make this bread I found a recipe that uses a similar technique to making choux pastry, precooking the flour to hydrate it before baking it in the oven and which yields a much softer and moist version of this bread which I absolutely love, it’s also a lot easier to make as with my previous recipe the dough tends to get hard to work out due to the texture.
If you need to know more about Brazilian Cheese Bread and the traditional ingredients you can check out my previous entry here.
Tips to make Brazilian Cheese Bread version 2.0
- Use room temperature ingredients
- Tapioca flour (starch) cannot be replaced by wheat or any other flour, you may try using corn starch instead or glutinous rice flour which has similar properties to tapioca starch, however, these ingredients have not been tested with this particular recipes so you may need to adjust quantities.
- Once you’ve hydrated the flour with the boiling water you should wait for the dough to reach room temperature before adding the rest of the ingredients to avoid scrambling the eggs and the cheese to start melting.
- You could use different cheeses, normally this bread is made with a traditional fresh cheese from Minais Gerais which is on the salty side, you can try adding a combination of cheese preferable with a high melting point like Australian feta, halloumi, parmesan, or provolone.
Brasilian Cheese Bread 2.0 / 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!
100ml of water (can use milk instead)
60ml vegetable oil (you can use shortening or melted butter)
1/2 tsp salt (adjust salt if using butter or a saltier cheese)
200gr of tapioca/cassava starch (make sure it is starch, not pearls)
1/2 tsp baking powder
60gr of grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
140gr shredded fresh or semi-aged cheese (mozzarella, feta, or halloumi cheese, even tasty could work here)
- Preheat the oven to 200 • C
- In a bowl mix the baking powder and starch.
- In a medium saucepan place water, oil, and salt and bring to a boil, remove from heat.
- Add hot water to the starch all at once and mix quickly with a wooden spoon, the mixture will be lumpy at first but it will come together in a rough ball.
- Let cool for about 5 min, when you can tolerate the temperature of the dough, knead a little with your hands to help it release a bit of heat, and proceed to add the egg and cheese.
- Continue kneading to achieve to a smooth consistency, normally at this point the dough should be elastic and not stick to the hands, if you get it a little sticky add a few tablespoons of tapioca flour and with your floured hands form small balls of about 4-5 cm, they will puff a little in the oven.
- Arrange the balls in a lined baking tray leaving some space in between , if your tray is non-stick just sprinkle a little tapioca so that they do not stick to the tray.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 min until you see that they get dry on top and slightly brown, they should not be too dark.
- Serve with herbs butter.
- I use tasty for this recipe which is a mild cheddar type cheese, if you prefer using mozzarella adjust the salt level.
- Herbs butter: 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, a bunch of finely chopped herbs of your choise, lemon zest, and salt to taste.