Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DB: Pão de Queijo

What is Pão de Queijo?  Well per our hostess, here is a brief description. Pão de Queijo ( Pão = Bread; Queijo = Cheese) is a non-yeasted bread, the main ingredient is not wheat flour instead it uses tapioca starch, but it is referred to as "bread". It dates back to the eighteenth century (I had to research that!) it became popular in the 1950's in Minas Gerais (a state of Brazil). You can find Pão de Queijo everywhere now in Brazil, from specialized snack bars that sell them hot out of the oven, to packages of frozen dough balls, sold in supermarkets, ready to bake at any minute in the comfort of your home. However, most Brazilians who like baking have a favorite recipe to make from scratch.


This month's Daring Bakers' Challenge took us on a trip to beautiful Brazil! Renata of "Testado, Provado & Aprovado!" taught us how to make Pao De Queijo, tasty cheese buns that make the perfect snack or treat, and that will make your taste buds samba!


You know me, I'm a carb craving, carb loving fool.  So when I saw what this month's Daring Bakers' challenge was I was over the moon.  What's my next favorite thing, besides bread?  Well, trying new recipes and learning about the traditions, cultures and recipes of other areas.  This time we were taken to Brazil to learn about their traditional cheese bread.


This bread was amazing.  But how could it not be when it's packed full of delicious, stringy, melty cheese?  Not only was is delicious with a little schmear of butter, but we also made toasted sandwiches too.  This challenge has not only opened my eyes to this one Brazilian dish, but has made me want to expand my knowledge of the region even more by researching and making more traditional Brazilian dishes.


Traditional Pão de Queijo


Ingredients:


4 Cups tapioca starch
1 Cup whole milk
2 3/4 Tbsp butter
1 Tsp salt
3 Cups Monterey jack cheese, coarsely grated
1-3 Large eggs


Directions:


Heat milk, butter and salt in a small saucepan until it comes to a boil.  Watch closely to avoid scorching.  Remove from heat and set aside.


Sift the tapioca starch into a large bowl.  Pour the hot butter mixture over the tapioca and start stirring with a fork.  The milk mixture will be a lumpy, but not quite wet enough to form a dough. 


Continue stirring with a fork, breaking down the lumps as much as possible, until the mixture cools slightly. 


Preheat oven to 400.


Add the grated cheese to the mixture and mix well, using hands if needed to really work the mixture together.  Add eggs to a small bowl, one at a time, whisking before adding to the tapioca mixture. Add the whisked eggs, one at a time, to the tapioca mixture mixing with hands between each addition until the dough comes together, but may still be sticky. 


Form Ping-Pong sized dough balls and place on a silicone lined baking sheet.  Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the bottoms just start to turn golden.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Be sure not to over-bake as the bread will become hard and bitter.   


Serve immediately.

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