I recently discovered a new Brazilian food shop in London and on display was several street foods from Brazil. Upon looking at the display, I saw these amazing looking cheese like puffs and piped out loud “I’ll have one of those please”. I found out that these balls were in fact Brazilian Cheese Breads and is a national street food of Brazil.

I must confess I was extremely impressed by this snack and on doing my usual googling on the bread, discovered that it’s made from tapioca and as such is a fabulous gluten free snack! I am very very lucky that my Brazilian friend Mari (who is a fabulous personal stylist please check her out on www.mari-azevedo.com) has kindly allowed me to share her mum’s recipe.

History of the Brazilian Cheese Bread

Brazilian Cheese bread (Pão de queijo) comes from a state in Brazil called Minas Gerais. The exact origins is unknown but from my research, it appears that this bread came about in the 18th century as locals turned to using cassava (by making tapiaca flour) for bread making as their land was not suitable to grow wheat for flour. Mari’s mother comes from the region of Minas Gerais so I do think this is a super authentic recipe!

The Magic of Tapioca Flour

The secret ingredient to this recipe is the tapioca flour. It creates this lovely texture which is a little chewy but delicious and you don’t feel deprived that it’s made from tapioca flour rather than wheat flour. A real bonus for those that need a gluten free diet! Mari’s recipe calls for two types of specialist tapioca flour which you can get at a Brazilian store or on amazon and I have a picture below of the brand that is most used in Brazil. The difference between the two tapioca flours is the taste, one tastes more sweet (doce) and the other more sour (azedo). I agree with Mari that having both flours creates a lovely balance and flavour to the cheese breads.

Best brand of tapiaca flour

The Cheese

So in Brazil there is a special cheese called meia cura from Minas Gerais which is used to make this cheese bread. I’ve also taken a look at some recipes online which call for parmesan cheese as the cheese of choice. However in this recipe, Mari recommends using cheddar cheese for the recipe and she recommends mixing both a mild and mature cheddar to get the right balance of cheesiness. That being said, cheddar has quite a high fat content and can weigh the balls down. Mari being based in Italy at the moment used parmesan and her cheese bread had a more spherical shape. See pics below for a comparison. So I guess my tip to you is that it’s best for you to experiment what cheese texture you like and go with that.

Batch cooking and freezing

The beauty of this recipe is that it makes very generous portions! The recipe quantities I’ve supplied below is actually half of Mari’s original recipe. If you use her full quantity (ie double the recipe) you can make over 100 cheese breads! The good news is that depending on the quantity you make, you can always freeze the remainder and pop them in the oven as and when you need them and they freeze well for three months. Perfect working parent recipe to have up your sleeves for hungry children or for when guests decide to pop by unexpectedly.

AuthorKarenDifficultyBeginner

A tasty snack made out of tapioca flour and is gluten free. Great for batch freezing for another day and for parties and entertaining too.

Yields1 Serving
Prep Time30 minsCook Time15 minsTotal Time45 mins

 250 g Polvilho Doce
 250 g Polvilho Azedo
 500 ml whole milk
 50 ml vegetable oil
 2 eggs
 400 g shredded cheddar (mix with both mild and mature chedder). Parmesan works too
  tsp table salt or to taste

1

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

2

Mix milk and oil in a pan and bring to boil.

3

Once the mixture is boiling, mix with both polvilhos in a bowl and mix with a big spoon. The heat will change the polvilho temperature and this is the key to the recipe.

4

Once it is cool enough, mix with your hands to complete the mixing.

5

Beat the eggs and add to the dough - but make sure the dough is cold enough so it does not curdle the eggs. Suggest waiting about 10-15 minutes before adding the eggs.

6

Add the cheese and some salt to taste and continue to mix.

7

Use an ice cream scoop to get perfect sized portions and squish the mixture to remove air pockets.

8

Use your hands to make balls - the size can vary based on your preference. It can be little bite sized balls, two-bite sized balls or even big enough to add as a sandwich filling. Mari's preference is medium sized balls.

9

Put the balls on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden in colour

10

You can also batch freeze these breads. They go straight from the freezer to the oven at 180 degrees celcius for about 20-30 minutes.

11

Great news - they are vegetarian and gluten free!

Ingredients

 250 g Polvilho Doce
 250 g Polvilho Azedo
 500 ml whole milk
 50 ml vegetable oil
 2 eggs
 400 g shredded cheddar (mix with both mild and mature chedder). Parmesan works too
  tsp table salt or to taste

Directions

1

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

2

Mix milk and oil in a pan and bring to boil.

3

Once the mixture is boiling, mix with both polvilhos in a bowl and mix with a big spoon. The heat will change the polvilho temperature and this is the key to the recipe.

4

Once it is cool enough, mix with your hands to complete the mixing.

5

Beat the eggs and add to the dough - but make sure the dough is cold enough so it does not curdle the eggs. Suggest waiting about 10-15 minutes before adding the eggs.

6

Add the cheese and some salt to taste and continue to mix.

7

Use an ice cream scoop to get perfect sized portions and squish the mixture to remove air pockets.

8

Use your hands to make balls - the size can vary based on your preference. It can be little bite sized balls, two-bite sized balls or even big enough to add as a sandwich filling. Mari's preference is medium sized balls.

9

Put the balls on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden in colour

10

You can also batch freeze these breads. They go straight from the freezer to the oven at 180 degrees celcius for about 20-30 minutes.

11

Great news - they are vegetarian and gluten free!

Brazilian Cheese Bread
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