In my opinion, Pão de Queijo is one of the best foods Brazil has to offer.
Pão de Queijo translates simply as “bread of cheese”, but it is so much more. Imagine the rolls from Red Lobster (TM), but more moist, and with a soft exterior.
Pão de Queijo is very common in the region of Minas Gerais in Brazil, but can be found anywhere. It is not made with wheat, as its history comes from a time and place where wheat was in short supply. Instead, it is made with a base mostly of Cassava and Tapioca – both staple crops in Brazil. The actual cheese used varies from place to place, but brand name stores, such as the Casa de Pão de Queijo (TM) will be the same across locations.
Pão de Queijo used to be more difficult to make in Canada due to the difficulty in finding Tapioca or Cassava Flour, but the increasing number of individuals with gluten sensitivity (celiac disease or otherwise) has created more of a market for wheat flour alternatives, so tapioca flour can now be found at places like Walmart.
500 g of Tapioca Flour or Sour Cassava Flour
250 ml of water
250 ml of milk
125 ml of oil
100 g grated Parmesan cheese
salt (as desired)
1. In a pan, boil the water and add the milk, oil and salt.
2. Add the flour, mix well and remove from the heat. This is also a good time to begin to preheat the oven to 350 F.
3. Begin to knead the dough.
4. While the dough is warm, add the parmesan cheese, the eggs and mix well.
5. Using your hands, create small balls of approximately 2 cm in diameter.
6. Place the balls on a non-stick baking dish, leaving a small amount of space between them.
7. Bake in the oven (at 350 F) for about 40 minutes.