FvF Cooks: Pão de Queijo
South American Cuisine #1: Cheese & Cassava Doughballs, Berlin
Journal > FvF Cooks: Pão de Queijo

You can find the kitchen from her childhood in São Paulo. Among all the mangos, papayas and bananas, Sabine Hueck dreamed of fruit that was, for her, exotic: red currants, cherries and plums.

This was the fruit of her German roots. As a child, she always listened to the stories from both her grandmothers, two Berliners. Sabine thought that, if ever she were to eat this fruit, her world would explode.

When she started out as a professional chef, it soon became clear that her grandmother was not the only one in the world and she had to adjust to these new conditions. During her travels through Latin America, Asia and Europe, Sabine had begun to understand that the best dishes are the result of fusions from different national cuisines as they reconfigure one region’s ingredients with another.

When asked which region from her many travels she would call home, Sabine mused, “In general, I feel at home when I find a kitchen, when I can cook local recipes with local ingredients… to understand the kitchens of foreign countries is, indeed, a challenge for all cultures.” Speaking to Margit Knapp in her book, Sabine claims “The global kitchen is as exciting as any crime thriller; it’s hellishly spicy and heavenly sweet!”

Pão de Queijo – Brazilian Cheese & Cassava Doughballs

The small balls are around three to five centimeters in radius. Sometimes, when baking, small bubbles form on the surface, burst, and then small fissures appear on under thin top layer. These rolls are anything but dry. Airy and soft, these bread rolls have a creamy consistency. The cheese mix inside colors the dough a light shade of yellow.

Ingredients (for 50-60 doughballs)

  • 400g tapioca flour

  • 150ml milk or buttermilk

  • 100ml oil

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

  • 2 eggs

  • 260g finely grated Gouda or Edamer

Method

  1. Put the tapioca flour in a bowl. Heat the milk (or buttermilk), oil and salt on a pan. Bring to boil.
  2. Pour the hot liquid into the flour and then crumble the mixture with a fork. When the mixture is lukewarm, crack the eggs into it and work the dough until it is smooth.
  3. Put in the grated cheese and knead well. The dough should be sticky but firm.
  4. If the moist dough appears a bit too sticky, leave it to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  5. From the dough, form balls the size of walnuts and lay them out upon baking parchment, on a tray, with sufficient distance between them.
  6. Bake them for 15 minutes on the middle rung of an oven that has been preheated to 250°C (200°C with fan).
  7. The bread shouldn’t be allowed to turn brown; instead, it should have a golden-yellow outer and an inner that is still moist. Serve immediately, whilst warm.

 

Tip: The unbaked cheese rolls are perfectly fine to freeze. You can put them straight into the oven from frozen without a problem. So you can have a tasty snack later, without all the work!

 

Sabine Hueck runs regular cooking classes and events at her Atelier Culinário in Berlin. 

In the following weeks, find out how Sabine came to cooking, what her special cuisine is, and how to make more delicious recipes from her collection for our South American Cuisine series. Find more culinary inspiration in our FvF Cooks

Photography & Text: Carina Adam