Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cheese Breads

These brazilian cheese breads also called pão de queijo are probably one of the most exited easy things you will ever make with an exotic ingredient : manioc starch (or cassava starch). Unlike most breads the inside texture of these looks almost like raw, not creamy but has that underbaked look and even though there are cheeses on it, the cheesy characteristic (smell and texture)  comes from the manioc that is a heavy, dense starch and mysteriously provides the intense cheesy flavor to the breads and turns them into     the cheesiest bread you will ever have.   

Manioc starch is one of the most used starches in the food industry and is extracted from the root cassava, is the same thing as tapioca but with a different treatment before commercialization. It used to be the main starch used in Brazil but nowadays with the globalization it's not anymore, it is gluten free and easy to find at natural food markets, whole foods or online and these brazilian cheese breads are my favorite recipe using this ingredient. Even though the batter is quite creamy it is still manageable and possible to roll balls that is later baked and becomes cheese puffs.

Even though the recipe is simple the batter is so dense that requires a lot of strength to mix it. If you have a regular mixer (not kitchen aid style) you may even break it. The best option is to call your husband and watch him work out in your recipe (make sure you pull his sleeves up)

Cheese breads are still amazing if frozen (but you have to freeze the balls raw) and it doesn't lose any quality, besides, you can pop them straight to the hot oven and it comes out perfectly just like the first batch you baked.  

150g sour manioc starch*
250g regular (also called sweet) manioc starch (red mill is great)
20g salted butter
55ml canola oil (corn oil or sunflower also works)
300ml whole milk
2 large eggs
220g monterey jack cheese*
110g parmesan cheese (grated)

*I'm using 2 different types of manioc starches but you can use only one, I explain in the video. 

*I chose to use 2 types of cheeses (just like in Brazil) but you can do all parmesan. Taste it before you add and if your parmesan is too salty reduce the amount of salt in the recipe. 
The brazilian cheese traditionally used in this recipe (minas padrão) can be substitute for monterey jack, mozzarela (not fresh ones) or any other cheese with similar texture and moisture . Some people like to use the mexican cheese cotija but I'm not sure if it would taste good. 

Be creative and spread soft cheeses or butter in your bread or turn them into sandwiches by laying slices of cheese and ham inside. Whatever you do with your cheese bread it will work!