Monday, October 10, 2011

pão de queijo

12 years ago, a Brazilian man waltzed into my life and swept me off my feet. Well...we weren't quite that graceful, but it has been happily ever after.  10 3/4 years ago I said "I do" to this man.  And, I still do.  Which means, for almost 11 years, I have made these little balls of Brazilian cheese bread...most unsuccessfully.  He is gracious and would tell me how good they were, but we knew better.  The kids would eat them up like they were candy, but we knew better.  I posted the recipe, but knew better.  Until one 4th of July when I watched a friend pull perfect, freshly baked pão de queijo from the oven.  I got her recipe to make them for Andy's birthday, and  They tasted good, but were flat - not at all like the perfect ones she had made.  Must. not. give. up.  Sure, it's been 11 years, but they're that good.  I tried, tried again - bought a gram scale, mixed up the dough, and peeked into the oven one day to see victory!  I may have broken out into Kristen Wiig moves.  Andy may have snapped some pics.  And now I share with you!!

The texture is crispy on the outside, gooey-cheesy on the inside.

pão de queijo 
"Brazilian cheese bread"
(Portuguese pronunciation: [pɐ̃w̃ dʒi ˈkejʒu])

500 grams tapioca starch (Buy the gram scale brotha!  It's worth it.)
2/3 cups water
2/3 cups milk
2/3 cups oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs 
100 grams grated Romano cheese 
(you can use other cheese - monterey jack or mozzarella work, but Romano is our fave)

Bring the water, milk, oil and salt to boil in a saucepan.  Pour measured tapioca flour into a large mixing bowl.  Pour boiling water mixture over to scald the flour.  Stir until mixed.  (this is so easy with a kitchen aid mixer, but can be done by hand)  Then knead flour mixture when it is bearable.  Add eggs and cheese and knead some more.  This is the part I messed up for 10+ years...If it's too sticky and you want to give up, drop by spoonfulls onto baking sheet.  Bake, and they will taste good.  But for that authentic texture, work with it.  You may need to add some more tapioca starch.  Don't get it too flour-y, but make sure it's plyable, but not sticky.  Butter your hands when you're getting close to the texture you want.  When it will roll into a ball and keep its shape, you are there!  Place on baking sheet and bake at 375.  This is where the Brazilian comes out in this recipe, 'cuz I don't know for how long.  They never put times with their recipes...maybe 20-30 minutes?  I haven't timed it yet.  I just always watch them.  You'll know when they're done - they'll be crisp on the outside, cheesy in the center, and a light brown on top.  
Makes 30.  I bake 15, then roll the rest into balls, and freeze for later.

Pão de queijo:  A staple in our home, along with rice and beans and smiling brazilians in the background.

P.S.  Happy 1 year Blogg-iversary!  
What I thought would be a place where I could share some GF recipes has become more about sharing our journey. 

Yesterday was the official day.  I thought about the post I could do. Instead, I spent the 83-degree day {in October!} characteristic of how I want this whole blogging-mama thing to be – choosing the faces before me on a gorgeous day {worshiping together, on bike rides, at the park, by the shore, listening to a sister living in Africa share, chatting late over tea} rather than a computer.  Recording our days, but first *living* them!

Tonight I'm back, wishing you a happy blogg-iversary {1 day late}!  
I hope you know my true appreciation for each and every one of you beautiful souls out there.


  1. I thought the other recipe was pretty good so can't wait to try this one! Love your blog, love your outlook, love your heart. Happy Anni, friend!

  2. Btw - I love your blog name. But being a name changer myself I totally understand the desire for simple. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

  3. gram scale??? i'll have to try it, cause after ten years i still haven't gotten them right myself. pav has been very polite over the years. does andy talk about pao de quiejo and chili?

  4. Ang - As always, your words brighten my day. Thank you for your encouragement!

    Kate - I love that you can relate! I think the key is in the gram scale. Had I known, I woulda spent that $7 *years* ago :) I had to ask about the chili - we've never paired the 2, but I'm thinking I need to try it now.

  5. haha...totally love your Kristen Wiig moves! hilarious.

    Congrats on a year and the cheese bread! I thoroughly enjoy sharing in your journey. You encourage me often. thanks, Sara.