My passion for “pao de queijo” started when I joined university. I used to eat it every morning at the uni coffee shop accompanied by a cup of coffee. It is the perfect marriage.
Pao in Portuguese means bread and Pao de queijo is sold in almost every bakery or airport waiting area. We love these cheesy bites. They are very easy to make, are crispy outside and chewy inside.
They are made with tapioca/ manioc starch (polvilho) also known or labelled outside of Brazil as tapioca flour. In Brazil tapioca flour or manioc flour ( yucca flour) has a different texture and is used to make farofa.
In terms of starch we have 2 types of tapioca starches: the sweet (polvilho doce) and the sour (fermented, polvilho azedo). The sweet type has a finer and delicate texture and is more commonly used for baking cakes or bread and is the one I use in all my recipes (except where I have specified otherwise). The sweet starch is the same as the Bob Red Mill tapioca flour. The sour starch has a different texture, it is more coarse and has a different taste. It cannot be used in cakes or bread recipes but some people mix both of them to make cheese bread.
Every Brazilian shop in London sells tapioca starch and most of them display both the sweet and the sour starches so my advice is if you buy from a Brazilian shop ask for the sweet version.
- 500 mg sweet tapioca starch
- 1 cup whole milk
- 125ml / ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 200g cheddar cheese
- Add the tapioca starch into the mixer bowl with a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- In a saucepan, combine the milk, oil and salt and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and pour the liquid into the mixer bowl, mixing for a few minutes at medium speed until it reaches a smooth consistency. Add the eggs one by one and keep mixing until they are thoroughly combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the grated cheese and mix again for 3 minutes.
- If the batter is too soft wait until it is cold or leave in the fridge for 20 mins so it will be easier to make balls.
- Grease the palm of your hands with olive oil and with a teaspoon scoop the mixture and make walnut-size pieces of dough rolling them between your palms.
- Line two baking trays with parchment paper and arrange the balls making sure they are evenly spaced.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
- Bake for 25 - 30min or until they start to colour.
- Serve the cheese balls warm, straight from the oven.