Pao de Queijo Recipe
Cassava flour is more widely available these days since it’s being marketed now as the new gluten-free alternative flour. Cassava or manioc flour can also be found in health food stores and specialty markets. If you are unable to fine cassava flour then you can use tapioca flour (aka tapioca starch). It will be the most similar in both texture/consistency & also the best substitute since the two flours are very closely related but not exactly the same. Basically, cassava flour differs from tapioca flour in that the tapioca flour is made from the starch of the cassava plant whereas cassava flour is made from the actual ground root of the cassava plant itself. So using regular all purpose flour as a substitute just will not work well in this particular recipe.
Naturally, I have made some subtle & tasty adjustments to the basic recipe by adding my Indian touches here & there ☺.
PAO DE QUEIJO (Brazilian Cheese Bread Rolls)
3 cups cassava flour
1½-2 tsp salt, to taste
¼ tsp baking powder
2/3 cup whole milk
½ cup oil (vegetable or canola)
1½ tbsp butter, softened
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely grated
3-4 small green Thai chilies, finely minced
½ cup finely minced cilantro leaves
½ tsp ajwain (or owa), or use cumin seeds
¾ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a small saucepan, combine the milk with both the oil & butter. Bring to a gentle boil.
In the meantime, while waiting for the milk to come to a boil -- blend the cassava flour with the salt and baking powder using an electric stand mixer (with a paddle attachment) at low speed. Next, as soon as the milk comes to a boil, quickly add it into the mixing bowl with the cassava flour. Keep the mixer running on low for about 3-5 minutes or until all of the ingredients are well combined and a smooth dough has formed.
Now slowly add in both of the eggs along with the ginger, green chilies, cilantro leaves & ajwain. Then mix again on low speed for another 8-10 minutes or until a sticky dough has formed. Remember to actually stop the mixer & scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl every so often during the mixing process.
Stop the mixer again briefly to add in both the cheeses and mix again on low speed for just about a minute or so to make sure the cheeses are evenly distributed within the dough. Then cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap & refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. When you are ready to bake, lightly dust your hands with a little cassava flour and make small 1” size balls. The buns will almost double in size during baking. Arrange the dough balls on a baking sheet at least 2” apart from each other and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. These are best eaten warm, so enjoy!
You can also use grated Asiago cheese, grated Pepper Jack cheese or grated Colby cheese if you like.
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