A friend posted a website displaying this “Brazilian cheese bread” indicating they are kosher for Passover. My problem is the website, from Brazil, is in Portuguese. Sleuthlike, I found the recipe for Pao de Queijo (cheese bread) in several of my usual suspect sources.
The first recipe used a combination of sweet manioc (Polvilho Doce) and sour manioc (Polvilho Azeri) flour, found at your local Brazilian market (Seabra Market, Military Rd and Sample.) This flour is made from tapioca or yucca which is used in place of wheat flour in Northern Brazil where wheat is almost impossible to grow. The sour manioc is made by fermenting the plain manioc. The recipe also called for minas cheese, freshly grated. Minas cheese is sorta a softer Parmesian, maybe mixed with a little Provolone. Amazingly, Seabra had this cheese, also amazingly, when baked, these rolls puffed up as if they were a yeast based bread.
The second recipe only used tapioca flour (found at Fresh Market) or Polvilho Doce, and butter instead of vegetable oil. Both versions are good but the second was definitely sweeter, perhaps more “American.”
AMERICANIZED BRAZILIAN CHEESE ROLLS
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups tapioca or povilho doce flour
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2/3 cup freshly grated Minas or Parmesan cheese
- 2 beaten eggs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Pour butter, water, milk, and salt into a large saucepan, and place over high heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat immediately, and stir in flour and garlic until smooth. Set aside to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Stir the cheese and egg into the tapioca mixture until well combined, the mixture will be chunky like cottage cheese. Drop rounded, 1/4 cup-sized (I used an ice cream scoop) balls of the mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven until the tops are lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
TRADITIONAL BRAZILIAN CHEESE ROLL RECIPE
- 2cups finely grated fresh Parmesan (or Pecorino Romano)
- 2large eggs
- 2large egg yolks
- 1 1/4cups sour manioc starch (povilho azedo; see source in headnote)
- 3/4cup manioc starch or sweet manioc starch (povilho doce; see source in headnote)
- 2teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2cup whole milk
- 1/2cup water
- 1/4cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Pinch of black pepper
- Place the Parmesan in the bowl of a food processor. Add the eggs and yolks and blend until you have a smooth paste, about 1 minute.
- Place the two types of manioc starch and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Place the milk, water, and oil in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Immediately pour the milk mixture into the starch mixture, all at once, and turn the machine on at low speed. Mix until the dough is smooth and the starch is completely incorporated, about 2 minutes.
- Pause the machine and add the cheese-egg paste, scraping it directly into the manioc starch mixture. Add the nutmeg, cayenne, and black pepper, and mix the dough at low speed until it turns a pale yellow, about 10 minutes. You are trying to develop the structure of the dough by kneading it slowly. The dough should feel a bit sticky and moist.
- Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Lightly coat your hands with olive oil (or flour them with manioc starch), pinch off walnut-size pieces of dough, and roll them between your palms. Alternately, you can use an ice-cream scooper to make 1-inch balls. Place them on the parchment, leaving 1 1/2 to 2 inches between the rolls.
- Bake the cheese rolls in the oven until they puff up and are lightly golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. To ensure even cooking, rotate the pan once during baking time.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the rolls in a basket lined with a napkin. Serve immediately, while they are still at their warmest and chewiest.