When walking through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo or pretty much any other Brazilian city, an intense cheesy smell will reach your nostrils at some point. The delicious scent comes from traditional balls of cheese bread. Pão de queijo or “chipa” is a typical snack and breakfast dish of the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais and Goiás. It is also common in Paraguay as well as northern Argentina.
Freshly made Pão de queijo is found in Brazil in every bakery or supermarket and can also be bought from the various street vendours in heat-preserving containers. Apart from the fresh version, supermarkets sell the cheese buns frozen or as a baking mix but most Brazilians would rather make it from scratch.
Many bakeries have different recipes and traditional family recipes vary in ingredients. Though, most of them suggest making the Brazilian cheese bread with a choux dough. The used polvilho starch arises as a by-product in the production of cassava flour.The origin of the recipe is not entirely clear. It is assumed that it has already existed since the 18th century. However, it only gained its great popularity in Brazil from the 1950s.
With no Brazilian bakery or street vendour in sight, you should try this simple but delicious snack for yourself. Here is our original, authentic recipe:
300 ml milk
150 ml vegetable oil
1.5 tsp salt
500 g tapioca (manioc or cassava)
250 g grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
Grease the baking tray and sprinkle it with tapioca flour.
Put the milk, oil and salt in a saucepan and make it boil.
Once the mixture begins to boil, turn off the heat and add the manioc flour at a time. Keep stirring until the dough forms a lump that separates from the rim of the pot.
Now remove the pot from the oven and let the dough cool down slightly.
Add the eggs and blend in the cheese.
Use oiled hands to form little balls out of the dough and place them on the prepared baking sheet with some space inbetween them.
Bake the Pão de queijo in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until the cheese balls have risen and become golden brown.
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