The first time I tried making Brazilian Cheese Bread at home it was from frozen bread dough sold by Costco. I can’t remember what I thought the bread would taste like but I remember being underwhelmed. I tried them again months later out of laziness. I was hungry and didn’t have much in the way of prepared food so I pulled these out of the freezer and 20 minutes later I was in love and confounded by my memory of being underwhelmed.
After eating through that bag and buying a much smaller bag and eating through that one too, I decided it would be fun to recreate a from scratch version.
I saw an extreme amount of variation in recipes while doing my research. Extreme. Most recipes called for tapioca flour as the main ingredient. One advised to blend the ingredients and then pour the liquid batter into mini-muffin pans. This recipe was such a departure from the frozen balls of dough I was used to baking, I knew I had to keep looking. And then I found the recipe at The Kitchn, which made sense and had good looking photos. The Kitchn’s recipe recommends using sour cassava flour instead of tapioca flour/starch. (One recipe that I saw said tapioca flour and cassava flour are the same thing. They are not.)
Brazilian cheese bread got its roots in cassava flour but most recipes call for tapioca flour. I’ve read that sour cassava or sour tapioca flour are recommended versus plain or “sweet” flour. I wanted an authentic recipe so I went to Amazon and ordered some sour cassava flour. It took more than a week for the flour to arrive but it was well worth the wait. When I bit into these homemade bread rolls, they tasted pretty much exactly the same as the ones I got from Costco, which are made with tapioca flour… unknown if it’s sour or plain. Hmph!
This recipe was perplexing to me. As I followed the Kitchn’s directions, my dough didn’t look as it was described. I ended up adding an extra egg to get to the sticky texture that was described in the original recipe.
I was scared that the bread wouldn’t turn out because I added another egg but this fear was unfounded. I had to cook them longer than what was called for because of the size cookie scoop I used. They puffed up nice and big and even browned; the recipe I was using said they would not.
In my opinion, you want to make sure that these rolls are cooked thoroughly. If you don’t cook them long enough they will be slightly doughy in the center. I want them cooked through. I don’t necessarily think you can overcook these all too easily, in case you’re wondering.
If the outside gets too hard or you want some extra flair, brush the outside of the rolls in melted butter. That’s what made me fall in love with them – the butter. I can eat these as a meal instead of a side dish – that’s how good they are.
- 1 c. whole milk
- ½ c. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 10 oz sour cassava or sour tapioca flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1 to 1 ½ c grated Parmesan cheese
- Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 450°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Place the milk, oil, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat when big bubbles are coming through the milk.
- Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until you see no more dry flour. The dough will be grainy and gelatinous.
- Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed until it smooths out and has cooled enough that it’s no longer hot to the touch.
- With the mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs into the dough one at a time, waiting until the first egg is fully incorporated before adding the second and so on. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Beat in the cheese on medium speed until fully incorporated. The resulting dough will be sticky, stretchy, and soft — sort of like dough for cream puffs or Gougères. It will not be completely smooth.
- For small puffs, scoop the dough by level tablespoons onto the baking sheets, spacing them about 1 ½-inches apart (24 per baking sheet). For larger puffs, scoop the dough with a small (1 ounce or 2 tablespoon) ice cream scoop, spacing them about two-inches apart (12 per baking sheet).
- Place the baking sheets in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350°F. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and turning the racks from back to front. Bake another 10 to 15 minutes longer until the puffs have browned on top and bottom. You may have to bake longer for bigger puffs. Eat warm.