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Pão de Queijo

In baking, bread on January 29, 2013 at 12:51 am

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I love bringing back a little something from my travels, and this includes food. Pão de queijo (cheese bread) is a popular Brazilian snack sold in bakeries. It’s crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Along with pinhão and the local flavours of Maggi instant noodles and Knorr seasonings, I brought home a premix of the pão de queijo from my 2011 trip to Brazil. The bread was incredibly tasty and I was very sad when I finished the pack.

I had downloaded a recipe for the bread but forgot about it until recently. We were having a potluck party in the office and I needed a plan C.

Plan A was crème caramel. I made it over the weekend and brought it to the office a day before the party. It did not survive the bus and train journey. I made them in little stainless steel bowls which I placed in Tupperwares. All that rattling around from the bumpy bus ride caused an ugly mess.

There was already a plan B, which I executed at the same time as plan A. It was supposed to be a bonus contribution, and also my first try of a new recipe – almond squares. That too tanked.

The baking powder was flat, so the mix did not rise. By the time it cooled down, it was hard and had to be scraped off the pan. Plus, the nuts I scattered on top burned. Note to self: mix nuts into batter, never sprinkle on top even if the recipe calls for it as nuts burn easily in the oven.

The double disasters called for a plan C. I wanted to make cinnamon and walnut buns  which I had attempted before (they tasted great!) but couldn’t get bread flour.

Then I considered slut’s spaghetti (will post about this later) but there was already too much carbs (rice and noodles) on the menu. I went through my recipe collection, wreaking my brains over what is doable in the morning before I leave for work and new to my colleagues but yet not too strange (I brought couscous to a house party once and had to take home most of it).

I stumbled upon this forgotten recipe and it made perfect sense to choose this because my new boss is a Brazilian. And the recipe looked simple enough. The ingredients are also minimal.

I woke up an hour earlier on potluck day and set out to work. The dough was sticky (from the tapioca starch) and a challenge to handle, but I had help from the electric mixer. And although I kicked myself for getting grated Parmesan cheese instead of a block (cheaper per gramme), it turned out to be a blessing because I did not have to slave over the grater.

The smell coming from the oven was the kind that makes you wish you had a home above a bakery. The bread is best eaten when it’s still warm. Oohh… it’ll make you go mmm... The bread was well received at the party. Even the Brazilian approved.

Shopping list: milk, tapioca starch, grated Parmesan cheese

From the pantry: eggs, oil, salt 

Hardware: mixer (optional), oven, baking paper

Can I do it?: Yes. Easy but messy because of the sticky dough and having to coat your hands in oil to shape the balls.

Tip: To store the bread, let it cool down completely before putting it into an airtight container. Do it before and the bread will deflate because of the trapped moisture.

Credit: Unavailable. Recipe sourced online.

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