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Brazilian Cheese Bread

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I was out to lunch a few weeks ago with some homeschooling mom friends that I haven't seen in ages, and as usual, the conversation turned to food. Our little homeschool group has a number of members with food allergies and sensitivities, including several of us who are currently avoiding gluten. We discussed the pros and cons of various gluten free flour blends, options for avoiding the need for flour altogether (I've been eating a lot more veggies recently instead), and what to do for a gluten free hamburger bun option. “Look up Brazilian Cheese Bread”, said my friend, Robyn. “That's become our go to recipe for gluten free buns or bread.” 

brazilian cheese bread

Since I hadn't found a gluten free bun recipe that knocked my socks off to date, I checked it out. I'm glad I did! Gluten free or not, these little cheese rolls are tasty. They're sturdy enough to hold up for use as a hamburger bun, but with a light, tender crumb. I've eaten gluten free buns at a couple of restaurants, and frankly, I'd rather just skip the bun. The ones I've had have been terribly dry and chewy. The Brazilian cheese bread buns were so good that I had to make a double batch the next time around to have any left over for taking photos. 🙂

With a simple recipe like this, ingredient quality counts. Please use freshly grated cheese, not the pre-grated stuff in a can with mold inhibitor and cellulose to prevent caking. (More on that at the bottom of this post.)  With the garlic included, these remind me somewhat of a particular garlic cheese biscuit recipe at a well known eatery, but they're a bit chewier. Do take note that the recipe is mixed in stages, like cream puffs. If you dump everything in a bowl right away it makes a strange soup that can only be baked by pouring it into muffin tins. (Yes, I mixed without reading the directions the first time, but they were still good. They're just much better baked the correct way.)

Brazilian Cheese Bread Recipe

Also known as Pao de Queijo
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter or olive oil
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup milk or soy milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups tapioca flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I use the fine side of my Oxo box grater.)
2 beaten eggs

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Place 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 tapioca flour and garlic (if desired) until smooth.

cheese bread dough

Set aside to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. While the dough is resting, you can grate the cheese if you haven't already.

grated parmesan cheese

Stir the cheese and egg into the tapioca mixture until well combined, the mixture will be chunky like cottage cheese.

gluten free cheese bread dough

Drop rounded, 1/4 cup-sized balls of the mixture onto an ungreased baking sheet. I use a small kitchen scoop to portion out the dough. A double batch is pictured below.

brazilian cheese bread before baking

Bake in preheated oven until the tops are lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.

brazilian cheese bread after baking

Move to wire rack to cool, or serve piping hot, fresh from the oven.

Brazilian cheese bread

Store in a sealed container. Best if used within a day or so of baking. Recipe can be doubled or tripled. You can see in the photo above how they bake up with little air pockets inside, like a cream puff or popover.

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Brazilian Cheese Bread

brazilian cheese bread

An easy gluten free cheesy bread that makes a great sandwich bun or go along with any meal.

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup butter or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup milk or soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 beaten eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Place 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 tapioca flour and garlic until smooth. Set aside to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. 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 balls of the mixture onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until the tops are lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Move to wire rack to cool, or serve piping hot, fresh from the oven.
  5. Store in a sealed container. Best if used within a day or so of baking. Recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

I've mixed and matched photos from a couple of different batches here, since the boys kept eating them before I could get the right lighting for the shots I wanted. Sometimes they turn out a little more puffy, sometimes a little more crinkly, but they're always tasty. Even if I wasn't eating gluten free I'd keep these in my recipe file. It's nice to have a cheesy garlic bread that can be mixed up and baked in under an hour.

brazilian cheese bread in basket

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11 Comments

  1. I tried this recipe yesterday…everything looked great until i ripped open the first biscuit to try it…and the entire inside was wet with butter. I was hesitant to actually USE 2 whole sticks of butter, but I followed the recipe, and doubling it called for a whole cup…I don’t understand what I could have done wrong….I even baked them longer than called for, until they were nice and golden brown. I thought maybe I made them too big, but your picture shows 12 biscuits from a double batch, and that’s what I made as well. So I don’t know what went wrong….mine are pretty much inedible, they are so saturated on the inside with butter. Otherwise, they look perfect, and the outside is delicious! Can you help? Should I cut the butter in half, and use 1 stick for a double batch? Thanks!

    1. Did you allow the batter to rest after mixing in the tapioca flour? The first time I made these I didn’t do that, and just mixed everything together. I ended up with a really soupy dough that I baked in muffin tins, and the center turned out wet like you described, even though I baked them almost twice as long. Make sure you allow the rest period. To salvage the doughy rolls, slice in half and pop in the toaster oven to toast the center.

      You could also try adjusting your oven temp a little lower or higher and adjusting your baking time, or making smaller scoops. The original recipe called for 1/4 cup portions, but I’ve also made them using 1/8 cup (2 tablespoon portions).

  2. hi! I use to live in São Paulo and they are definitely a staple, one suggestion to puffy balls with gooey airy inside is to really knead the dough and to over work it into smooth tight balls, really roll and work them.–proven technique. I’d put a little more yucca starch I think your recipe is short 1/2c from what I use (I use butter and no liquid and more Parmesan cheese)
    I can eat them all as well

    1. Thanks for the tips, Kelly. When I worked with popovers in the past, the dough for those was supposed to be just barely blended, not overmixed, so I thought these might be the same way.

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