Simple and gluten-free Brazilian cheese puffs or rolls, aka Pão de Queijo (literally translated to ‘bread of cheese’ or ‘cheese bread’).
There are several different methods to make these little balls of heaven. A lot of them involve lots of hard to find ingredients, and methods like heating a mixture on the stove, kneading big messy dough… but this, adapted from the one my friend Roseli Quarti has sent to me, is the quickest, easiest, short-cut method with an ultra Fast liquid batter that you just put the ingredients in a blender, pour them out into a mini-muffin pan, and bake. This version is definitely less dense than the kneaded dough variety.
This super easy and Fast recipe is fail proof and absolutely mouthwatering. Make a bunch of these; you will finish them all in no time because these cheese puffs are so addictive, delicious, and once you start eating, you just can’t stop… no kidding – they are just that wonderful. I dare you to just eat one.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can make a big batch of batter and just store it in the refrigerator (for up to a week), pouring out just as many mini-muffins as you want to eat. You can even cook them in a toaster oven.
If you’ve never had this type of Brazilian cheese bread, it’s tricky to explain. Just don’t expect an actual yeast bread “roll”. If you do, then you’ll probably think these are super weird and gooey. The outside is slightly crisp and browned and the inside is airy and chewy. Also have a very mild cheesy flavor thanks to the use of Parmesan cheese, though you could substitute any other cheese you’d like for a more pronounced or different cheese flavor.
Brazilian Cheese Puffs Fast2eat Recipe
- 1.5 cup Milk
- 1 cup Oil
- 3 Egg
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3 cup Tapioca starch (454g/1Lb) sometimes labelled tapioca flour - no substitutions
- 3/4 cup Mozzarella cheese (about 100 g/3.5 oz) grated
- In a Blender, combine the milk, egg, oil, Parmesan cheese and salt until combined. You should add the liquids first, and the tapioca last, otherwise the tapioca will gum up to the blades and be impossible to mix.
- Once combined, add the Tapioca Starch/Flour 1/2 cup at a time until all of the tapioca flour has been added.
- Add mussarela (or any other preferred cheese) and mix with a spatula. Tip: You can also add more or less cheese, it’s pretty flexible. It’s important to use one cheese that has a stronger flavor like Parmesan because it’s really the only flavor you’re putting in there and another mild one. I like a mixture of Parmesan and mussarela. But play around with it and find your perfect mix. You can also use, for example, Friulano or Pecorino Romano or Monterrey Jack or Swiss, and even Gruyere or cheddar. All great!
- Preheat oven to 375-400°F (190-200°C.).
- The batter will be very liquid, pour the batter into your greased mini muffin pan just until half full because it will double the side when cooking. It’s a very thin batter so pour slowly!
- Optional: sprinkle a little more Parmesan cheese on top.
- Bake until barely golden brown and puffed, About 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a Serving Bowl.
- Serve warm. They are at their crispiest best when they're still warm from the oven. Unless they are eaten warm, they will soften, so I recommend making and eating fresh. But they usually won’t last too long once they come out of the oven.
Batter can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for up to one week.
You can also try adding a variety of herb seasonings, such as Italian seasoning or oregano.
Don’t be concerned if the rolls sink in the middle. It’s perfectly normal for them to sink down in the centers and they taste exactly the same!
Pão de queijo is a typical Brazilian snack, originally from the states Minas Gerais and Goiás, they are usually eaten with “cafezinho”, a tiny cup of coffee (like expresso coffee), or with wine or beer, in most of all birthday parties and as appetizers preceding dinners. They are also served with with a glass of ice cold Guarana (Brazilian soda)!
Feel free to serve them with cream cheese, Requeijão (Brazilian Cream Cheese), butter or even some dulce de leche! Yum!
Tapioca Starch/Flour, and it’s actually easier to find than you might think. It’s really smooth, soft flour that feels much like cornstarch. It’s made from the ground roots of the cassava (also called yuca) plant and it’s gluten free for those of you that care about that. You can find Tapioca Starch/Flour on Amazon, for a relatively good price – or, check the gluten free isle of your well stocked local grocer. You can also find tapioca flour at Asian and Latin American markets as it’s used in a lot of their cooking, and also at health food stores and places like Whole Foods where you can find a good selection of wheat flour alternatives.
The only substitute you can use are: Sour Manioc Starch - Polvilho Azedo or Polvilho Doce as they are pretty much the same. You can NOT substitute any other type of flour, I would NOT recommend using Rice, Coconut or Almond Flour as that will change the texture completely. The tapioca flour is key, so when you find a good place to buy it, stock up!
If you don’t have a mini muffin pan, feel free to use a larger muffin pan – your final count will be significantly less.
You can also buy pre-packaged Cheese Bread Mix (Mistura para Pão de Queijo), they are delicious but they’re not quite the same as this homemade ones.
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