Flavors of Brazil published a post about a Brazilian snack or breakfast food called pão de queijo, usually translated as Brazilian Cheese Bun. To read that post, click here.
We didn't publish a recipe for pão de queijo at the time because the main ingredient, which comes from the root of the manioc or cassava plant, isn't readily available in many places outside Brazil. However, one of the blog's readers has asked for a recipe, a request we're very happy to fulfill in this post.
amigofoods.com. Click here to be taken to their polvilho azedo page. (By the way, this site also sells pão de queijo mix which just needs water and eggs. But if you're going to the trouble to order online, why not get the real thing and cook from scratch.)
Because there is no leavening agent in the recipe, it is the elastic action of the starch that creates the air pockets that make a light cheese bun. Therefore, for this recipe the easiest way to knead the dough is with a dough hook on a stand mixer. You can use your hands, but don't be lazy - you'll really need to "beat the starch out of it" to get the lightness you want. And make sure that you get the balls of dough in the oven as soon as possible after finishing kneading. It's important that the dough not sit once kneaded.
RECIPE - Brazilian Cheese Bun (Pão de Queijo)
17.5 oz (500 gr) sour cassava starch/polvilho azedo - normally one package
2 cups whole milk
1 cup neutral vegetable oil
4 whole eggs.lightly beaten
1 cup crumbled feta cheese*
1 cup grated parmesan cheese*
1 Tbsp salt
* you can substitute an equal quantity of any other grated or crumbled cheese or cheeses
In a medium sauce pan, combine the milk, the vegetable oil and salt, then bring the mixture just to a boil.
Put the sour starch in a large mixing bowl, then pour in the hot milk/oil mixture and mix with a wooden spoon. Mix until completely mixed, at which time you'll have something that looks like a gummy paste. Let it cool.
Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
Add the beaten eggs and the cheese to the mixture. Using your hands knead all the ingredients together. At this point you can continue to knead the dough with your hands, forcefully, for about 10-15 minutes, or you can transfer the dough to a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook and knead for about 5-10 minutes at medium speed.
As soon as the kneading is completed, using your hands, shape the dough into round balls just slightly smaller than a golf ball. Place them on a cookie sheet, leaving space between them as they'll grow about 25% during cooking.
Place the cookie sheet on the top shelf of the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 300F (150C) and cook for another 15 minutes, or until they are nicely golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and serve hot.