Pão de queijo is a delicious gluten-free treat that tastes best when fresh from the oven.  I started enjoying Pão de queijo after I met my husband.  He grew up in Brazil and enjoyed it with his family with breakfast, as a snack or sometimes as a side with dinner or during a “churrasco” which is the Brazilian term for barbecue.  I love the slightly gooey texture and light cheesy flavor, and I especially love to smell Pão de queijo when it’s cooking in the oven.  The best Pão de queijo I ever had was surprisingly at a truck stop when we were on our way from Londrina to Curitiba.  It was not only the biggest piece of Pão de queijo I ever had but definitely the most delicious.  

If you are following the low-FODMAP diet, keep in mind most Pão de queijo is made with milk.  If you do not malabsorb lactose (the “D” in FODMAP, Disaccharide) you shouldn’t have an issue.  Otherwise, my recipe below uses lactose-free milk.  Parmesan contains lactose but is low-FODMAP because it contains trace levels of lactose, or less than 0.5 grams.  

Off to Brazil soon?  You can try Pão de queijo after you land as you’ll find many airport cafes selling it along with coffee.  If you have to be gluten-free due to celiac disease, or from the suggestion of your doctor, when buying Pão de queijo you need to ask if it has been baked or kept together with gluten-containing products (such as coxinha or pastel).  

In the United States, you can enjoy Pão de queijo from such brands as Chebe and Brazi Bites or find a nearby Brazilian store that sells the brand Yoki or buy it on Amazon.  Delicioso!

Pão de Queijo

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lactose-free milk
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups tapioca flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°Farenheit (or 230° Celsius)Combine milk, oil, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Whisk occasionally, and bring to a slow boil over medium heat. Once large bubbles appear in milk, remove
  2. Combine milk, oil, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Whisk occasionally, and bring to a slow boil over medium heat. Once large bubbles appear in milk, remove pan from heat.
  3. Add tapioca flour to saucepan. Stir until no more dry tapioca flour remains and until dough has a gelatinous texture.
  4. Use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and transfer dough to bowl of mixer. At medium speed, beat dough for a few minutes until smooth.
  5. Whisk eggs together in a small bowl. Set stand mixer to medium speed, and add eggs slowly to dough. Use a spatula to scrape down any dough stuck to sides of bowl.
  6. Again on medium speed, beat in cheese until fully incorporated and until dough is very sticky, stretchy, and soft.
  7. Roll dough between your palms to make rounded balls.  Space balls of dough 1 to 2-inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  TIP -As you are making balls of dough you can dip your fingers into a bowl of olive oil or coconut oil to keep dough from sticking to your hands.
  8. Place baking sheet with balls of dough into oven. Turn down heat to 350°F (or 177°C). Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove once outsides of balls are dry, and are just starting to color with orange flecks of color.

By Colleen Francioli

Pão de queijo or “Brazilian cheese bread” is a small, baked cheese roll, a popular snack and breakfast food in Brazil. It is a traditional Brazilian recipe, from the state of Minas Gerais.  Pão de queijo originated from African slaves like many other Brazilian foods. Slaves would soak and peel the cassava root and make bread rolls from it. At this time, there was no cheese in the rolls. At the end of the 19th century, more ingredients became available to the Afro-Brazilian community such as milk and cheese. They added milk and cheese to the tapioca roll making what we now know as Pão de queijo. It is also widely eaten in northern Argentina and is inexpensive and often sold from streetside stands by vendors carrying a heat-preserving container. In Brazil, it is also very commonly found in groceries, supermarkets and bakeries, industrialized or freshly made. Sources: Wikipedia, History of Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)