Saturday, January 26, 2008

Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

We found this recipe for Pao de Queijo (pow jee kayjo) a few years back, and have been enjoying it regularly ever since! The end result is just like my husband remembers from his two years living in Brazil. They're easy to make, and can be frozen. We're not sure how long they'd last in the freezer- we've never gotten past a month without eating them all!

The recipe comes from an online Portuguese school created by a lovely woman named Sonia. There are Portuguese language lessons, cartoons, phrases, and lots of great recipes. Go check it out! The recipes are well-organized and easy to follow. We've been eying a couple others- coxhina are out of this world, if you can find someone to deep fry them for you (one of my cooking phobias.) Maionase (may-o-nay-zee, or potato salad) is one of my favorite side dishes -- and yes, it translates as "mayonnaise." The dessert "pudims" (puddings) are so rich and delicious- you've got to try them to find out for yourself!

The recipe below is not word for word- I've added a few of my own notes, learned over the course of making these many times.

The recipe is great for celiacs, as it doesn't contain any wheat. Makes about 75 walnut-sized breads. Allow 3-5 per guest.

Pao de Queijo

1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 package tapioca starch (450 grams)
2 to 3 eggs, depending on size
about half a pound of parmesan cheese, grated (that's our favorite, but I think other kinds would work well.)

1. In a large pot bring to a boil the water, milk, oil, and salt.

2. Remove from heat, and stir in tapioca starch with a wooden spoon. Stir quickly because once the tapioca starch hits the liquid, it becomes an incredibly stiff goo. Let cool.

3. Put the mixture in a large bowl and knead in the eggs.

4. Add the cheese, and keep kneading till the dough is smooth.

5. Roll the dough into small balls (about 1 tablespoon each.) You don't want them very big- just bite size. You may need to grease your hands for this.

6. Bake about 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven, on a parchment lined or greased cookie sheet.

6. Place on a large baking sheet and flash freeze. Pop off the sheet and store in an airtight bag in the freezer. You can bake them directly from the freezer, 350 degrees and about 20 minutes. I like to bake them on parchment paper or aluminum foil as they tend to weld themselves to the cookie sheet.

These will be light golden in spots when they are done, but still rather pale. The outside will be almost crispy, while the inside stays stretchy. They're addictive, and unfortunately you can't really use less oil- I've tried.


  1. "Allow 3-5 per person"

    hmm...Can't say there's ever been a time where I've only eaten 3-5! They're just that good!

  2. Yeah...I'm with jnw. Allow 10 per person, preferably eaten while watching a good Jane Austen flick. Yes, they're that good, too!

    Thanks for posting this, prego!

  3. Alright, I allow 3-5 per person...and have no idea what happens to the extra 20 I cook. Now I know!

  4. Thanks for pointing me to this Aunt Lolo! Exactly what I'm looking for!!

  5. Stupid question, but how do you flash freeze?

  6. I found your blog when looking for a Pao De Queijo Recipe today and have been enjoying looking through it all day! My Pao De Queijo would have turned out better if I didn't have to use some really old old tapioca flour (the shop had none left) that I had to pick bugs out of! They tasted rather stale - so I'll have to make them again with fresh flour...!!! Great blog.