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Traditional Brazilian Cheese Balls (Pao-de-Queijo Mineiro)

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This is the traditional recipe for Brazilian cheese bread (or cheese ball). It is a staple from the state of Minas Gerais and, just like my other cheese bread recipe, it is a favorite among kids (and adults)! Great for breakfast, as a snack or with any main course. Eat warm, just right off the oven. Cheesy, fluffy and delicious!

Yields approximately 40 balls

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups tapioca starch
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 cups Farmer’s cheese (Queso Fresco, or Cotija), shredded

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place tapioca starch in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, heat vegetable oil, milk and salt over moderate heat until starts boiling lightly. Remove from heat and add to bowl, mixing with a wooden spatula until everything is well incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time still mixing with wooden spatula. Add cheese and knead dough for a few minutes, until smooth. Shape dough into small balls, approximately the size of ping-pong balls. Place cheese balls on a non-greased cookie sheet, leaving about ¾-inch space in between them. Bake until golden on top, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

If using a convection oven, pre-heat to 275 degrees F. Bake until golden on top, 18 to 23 minutes.

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Cook’s Notes:

It is possible to use a stand mixer to make the dough. Follow the directions given above, using a stand mixer set at high speed instead. In fact, it makes the process much easier.

This recipe is originally made with Minas cheese, the farmer’s cheese produced at the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Unfortunately, Minas cheese is really hard to find in the US. Some Mexican varieties, like Queso Fresco and Cotija, serve as great substitutes and can be found at major grocery stores.

Tapioca starch can be found at most Latin or international grocery stores.

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My son, Sebastian, was happy to find out I was taking pictures of my cheese bread.

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Luckily I was able to take a few shots before he got his hands on his favorite snack!

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My beautiful son, Sebastian :)

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