Brazilian Cheese Buns


April 1, 2010 by Flora Dawn

I made some  quick and easy cheese buns that my family really enjoyed. They taste a lot like the Chebe mixes, probably due to the tapioca  flour and that both breads are versions of the Brazilian cheese bread “pao de queijo.” I have read that these buns are traditionally served for breakfast or snacks and often sold by street vendors; but we ate ours at dinner.

I adapted a recipe from King Arthur Flour, but the other recipes I have looked at were almost identical. King Arthur definitely didn’t invent these rolls 🙂 The texture is light and airy and I think they could be seasoned with herbs and spices if desired.

And just as an extra bit of information, we use the terms tapioca starch and tapioca flour interchangeably here in the United States; which I find confusing. For one thing, potato starch and potato flour are NOT the same thing. So, just when I thought I got the tapioca thing figured out, I discovered that tapioca flour is also known as manioc, yuca, and cassava flour. Wow! This is a lot to remember.

Brazilian Cheese Buns

  • 1/2 cup butter or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups tapioca flour (I use Bob’s Redmill)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan, Roman, or Asiago cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line with parchment or silpat mats.
  2. Place tapioca flour in bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. Put butter, water, milk and salt in a saucepan and heat over medium until it comes to a full boil. Remove from heat and pour over the tapioca flour and beat to combine. Beat at high speed until the mixture becomes smooth and elastic, this happens pretty quickly.
  4. Add the garlic and cheese and mix to combine. At this point, touch the dough, if it feels very hot let it cool a few minutes before proceeding. The dough should be warm or hot, but not burning hot; you don’t want to cook the eggs when you add them.
  5. With the mixer running, add the eggs slowly, beating until combined. The dough will look somewhat lumpy.
  6. Drop the dough onto prepared pans, I made mine about 1/4 cup sized balls, and bake 15-20 minutes or until tops are lightly browned. Remove from oven and serve hot; these really taste best fresh, we have found that leftovers do not refrigerate well.

3 thoughts on “Brazilian Cheese Buns

  1. Guilherme Wadt says:

    Fresh from Brazil…

    Please, everyone, take notice that the referred Tapioca Flour is nothing similar, or even alike, manioc (or yucca or cassava, as preferred, they are all the very same plant – Manihot esculenta, Crantz) flour.
    Even though it is, yes, produced out from the manioc, the products differ radically. The manioc flour is the manioc root, peeled, finely ground and dried. It has a good portion of fiber and is very good for eating pure with beans, or to make some brazilian recipes as “pirão” or “farofa” (these I won’t waste space describing here, but strongly recommend searching for recipes – they are fantastic, and very easy to do in the US once you find the manioc flour). The granulometric size is coarse and colour vary from yellowish to greyish white, sometimes beige (all depends on variety of manioc used and method of production). Anyway, this flour won’t work at all for cheese buns! The fiber on it just screws everything!
    The tapioca flour is the manioc starch itself. It is produced by milling the manioc roots and soaking it into water. After pressing to take out fiber components, the starch solution is submitted to a drying process. This produces a smooth, slightly sweet starch flour with many applications as tapioca pudding etc. This is called “polvilho doce” in Brazil. (something like “sweet powder” – no real translation avalable)
    Even though the tapioca flour can be used for these cheese buns, the original recipe, which behaves differently (for example, you can eat them for days, stored in a simple can, no refrigeration needed)and of course tastes a little different, uses what is called “polvilho azedo” (something like “sour powder” in a free translation), which is almost the tapioca flour, but the first “mash” of milled manioc with water is left for fermentation before separation and drying. This precipitates a different portion of the starch, and produces a very fine, very stable, less-sticky and very lightly sour starch powder. I assume it can be very difficult to find in the US, as long as it is very easy to find in Brazil, in every supermarket or grocery store. Anyway, trading between Brazil and US have improved a lot in the recent years, and maybe it’s worth searching the internet to see if any store or supermarket near you should have it. Believe me – difference is HUGE on the final product (the buns).
    If you can’t find the “polvilho azedo”, the tapioca flour can make it reazonably well! But remember:Never, EVER use manioc flour itself (full fiber version) or results will be catastrophic!

    Hope this helps!

    Guilherme Wadt
    Botucatu-SP, Brazil

  2. Guilherme Wadt says:

    Additional tip:

    I have found an online shop that sells the “polvilho doce”. This trademark Yoki is one of the biggest manioc processors in Brazil, extremely good product, perfect for this recipe and really safe!

    Price seems fair, also.

    Just, please, ignore their recipe. It is completely absurd (you can notice it doesn’t mention cheese – so how to make cheese buns without cheese???)!! The recipe described here is much better!

    All my best,

    Mr. Guilherme Wadt
    Botucatu-SP, Brazil

  3. Guilherme Wadt says:

    Correction for the one above: O meant “polvilho azedo”, not “polvilho doce”. Even in Brazil sometimes we take one for another if don’t pay attention – visually they look the same.

    And website is missing:–(sour-starch-17.6oz)—500g

    Now it’s good tip heheh!


    Guilherme Wadt

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