This month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge took us on a trip to beautiful Brazil! Renata of ‘Testado, Provado & Aprovado!’ taught us how to make Pao De Queijo, tasty cheese buns that make the perfect snack or treat, and that will make your taste buds samba!
Gosh, I’m glad I tried this recipe – it was an absolute cinch to make and so quick! As for the result – I was stoked – SO different to anything I’ve tasted before – firm and crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside – if you love cheese, you’re gonna love these! And, best of all, they’re gluten free! You can freeze the dough balls until you need them, so your cheesy snack is just a moment away. I actually served them instead of regular buns at the dinner table and everyone loved them. You can also get a bit more creative with them – make double sized balls, bake, then slice each one in half and stuff with ham and extra cheese and serve as is, or grill them to make mini paninis!
TRADITIONAL PÃO DE QUEIJO
Servings: Yields about 40 balls
- 500 g (4 cups) tapioca starch
- 1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
- 2-3/4 tablespoons (1½ oz) (40 g) butter
- 1 teaspoon (3 g) salt (or to taste)
- 3 cups (9 oz) (250g) grated cheese of your liking (I used mild Edam cheese)
- 1 to 3 large eggs (lightly whisked)
- Heat milk, butter, and salt in a small sauce pan until it comes to a boil. Watch closely as it may boil over. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Sift tapioca starch into a large bowl. Pour the boiled (hot) mixture over the tapioca and start stirring with a fork. The milk mixture will not be enough to form a dough yet. You will have a lumpy mixture, that’s what it is supposed to be. Keep stirring with the fork, breaking down the lumps as much as you can, until the mixture cools down to warm.
- At this point, preheat your oven to moderately hot 200°C (400°F).
- Add the grated cheese to the tapioca mixture and mix well, now using your hands. Add the whisked egg in small amounts until the dough comes together into a soft but pliable dough. Give it a gentle knead (just a few times) to ensure the dough is smooth.
- Form balls with the dough* – I weighed mine to be around 30-33 grams each – and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon mat or lightly greased with vegetable oil. If necessary, you can oil your hands to make shaping easier.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until they just start to brown on the bottom (lift them up to have a look). You may have golden spots of cheese on the crust (this seems to depend on the type of cheese you use). Don’t over-bake as they will get hard and bitter. Serve warm.
*At this point you can freeze the dough balls until needed. It’s best to place them on a tray lined with baking paper and covered over top with silver foil.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting