I love love love this Brazilian cheese bread. I originally discovered it at a restaurant called “Tucanos Brazilian Grill”. Every time I go to Tucanos I seriously have to try to limit myself to only a few of these little cheese rolls or I will completely go to town on them. I could probably go to Tucanos and eat just these cheese rolls and their mashed potatoes and I would be completely happy (if you have eaten there, you know exactly what I am talking about)! Anyway, ever since I have eaten there I have been determined to figure out the recipe. The closest I have found to perfect is from a blog called The Kitchn. The only thing I did differently was add some sharp cheddar to bring out the cheesiness. I have tried recipes where you put the dough in a muffin tin and it just didn’t turn out quite right. I definitely prefer this method. If you haven’t had these rolls before– now it the time! Oh.. and did I mention they are GLUTEN FREE?! So this one is for all of my gluten-intolerant friends out there. You know who you are!
Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo)
1 c. whole milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
2 c. (10 ounces) tapioca flour (I used Bob's Red Mill -- I found mine in the gluten-free section of the grocery store)
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese (get a small block of Parmesan and shred it yourself... it makes a BIG difference)
3/4 c. sharp or medium cheddar cheese, shredded (shred yourself.. just like the Parmesan)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the milk, oil, and salt in the saucepan, and whisking occasionally, bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. Remove from heat as soon as you see big bubbles coming through the milk.
Add all of the tapioca flour to the saucepan and stir until you see no more dry tapioca flour. The dough will be grainy and gelatinous at this point.
Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. (Alternatively, you can do the next few steps by hand. Be prepared for a work-out.) Beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed until it smooths out and has cooled enough that you can hold your finger against the dough for several seconds.
Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl. With the mixer on medium, beat the eggs into the dough in two additions. Wait until the first addition has been fully incorporated into the dough before adding the second. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
With the mixer on medium, beat in the cheese until fully incorporated. The resulting dough will be very sticky, stretchy, and soft with a consistency between cake batter and cookie dough.
Using an ice cream scoop, a tablespoon measure, or a dinner spoon, scoop rounded portions of the dough into mounds on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Space the mounds an inch or two apart. Dip your scoop in water or spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Transfer the sheet with the puffs to the oven and bake for 25-28 minutes, until the puffs have puffed, the outsides are dry, and they are JUST starting to color. Do not over bake! Cool briefly and eat.