Brazilian Cheese Bread/Pao De Queijo

DSC_0370I am so excited to share this amazingly simple, super scrummy, gluten free (yes, we’re right on trend with that one), cheesy bread balls!


This is a recipe from a lovely friend who lived in South America for a brief stint where she discovered these beauties.  Instead of usual bread flour, they’re made using tapioca flour.  

I’m not going to lie; before making these I’d never come across tapioca flour and thought tapioca was the reserve of slightly strangely textured puddings you used to get in school.  Do poor unsuspecting school children still get served this sort of thing for dessert?? Or are desserts banned altogether in schools these days??


Anyway, a bit of googling revealed that tapioca is actually made from cassava root so isn’t a grain based flour at all.  It’s incredibly starchy meaning that the resulting bread is deliciously chewy and squidgy in the middle but with a satisfyingly crusty outside.


And because they aren’t made with traditional bread flour, no resting, rising, kneading or patience is required.  These little balls of cheesy deliciousness come together almost immediately and take just over 20 minutes to bake to perfection in the oven.  Definitely one to try this long weekend!  Happy Bank Holiday UK!


Brazilian Cheese Bread/Pao De Queijo

Makes about 16

2 cups/200g tapioca flour
1/2 cup/125g full fat milk
1/4 cup/60g vegetable/canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup/125g grated mozzarella/cheddar/parmesan (I used about 100g cheddar and 25g parmesan to give them an extra cheesy punch)

To make:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºc/180ºc fan/400ºf.  Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Put the milk, oil and salt into a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Stir in the flour and mix well.  Leave to cool slightly then add the egg and cheese, mixing well (I found it easiest to use my hands at this stage).
  3. Shape the dough into small balls – I made 16 balls the size of Pizza Express dough balls if you are familiar with those, otherwise a little bigger than golf balls.
  4. Place on your baking tray leaving small gaps in between (they don’t get bigger) and bake for 20-22 minutes until golden and cracking very slightly.  Serve warm.
In advance:

These cheese bread balls are best eaten straight from the oven.  They do freeze beautifully though:  place the uncooked dough balls on a greaseproof paper lined baking tray and pop into the freezer.  After a couple of hours transfer to a freezer bag.  Bake from frozen, adding 5-7 minutes to your bake time.


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