Pão de Queijo is a Brazilian cheese bread that is really addictive. I ate them at every meal during my trip to Rio. Warm cheesy bread…what’s not to like? I learned how to make them when I took Chef Leticia’s Brazilian cooking class about 3 years ago at the Institute of Culinary Education. They are really easy to make; the only hard part for me was sourcing the manioc starches. If you live in New York, Kalustyan’s has manioc flour. You can find Chef Leticia’s recipe here. They were the perfect starter to my Brazilian night feast when I made chicken and plantain moqueca.
Pão de Queijo
Makes about 30 balls
- 2 cups finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese (or Pecorino Romano)
- 2 large eggs 2 egg yolks
- 11⁄4 cup sour manioc starch (povilho azedo)
- 3⁄4 cup manioc starch (povilho doce )
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1⁄2 cup whole milk
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 1⁄4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Place the grated Parmesan cheese in the bowl of a food processor.
2. Add the eggs and yolks to the food processor and blend until you have a smooth paste, about 1 minute. Set aside.
3. Place the two starches (I only had manioc flour and it tasted the same) and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Set aside.
4. Place the milk, water and oil in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil.
5. Immediately pour the milk mixture in one stroke into the starch mixture and turn the machine on at low speed. Mix until the dough is smooth and the starch is all incorporated, about 2 minutes.
6. Pause the machine and add the cheese and egg paste, scraping directly into the manioc starch mixture.
7. Mix the dough at low speed until it turns a pale yellow, about 10 minutes. You are trying to develop the structure of the dough by kneading it slowly, the dough will feel a bit sticky.
8. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight in the refrigerator.
9. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
10. Wet your hands with olive oil (alternatively, you can flour your hands with manioc starch) and use an ice scream scooper as a portion control to make 1- inch balls, rolling them with your hands. Place them on a sheet pan lined up with parchment paper or a silpat, leaving about 1 1⁄2 to 2 inches between each roll (you can freeze them at this point by storing them in a zip-lock bag and freeze for up to 3 months).
12. Bake the cheese rolls in the oven until they puff up and look lightly golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. To ensure even baking, rotate the pan once during baking time.
13. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the rolls in a basket lined with a napkin. Serve immediately while they are still at their warmest and chewiest.