In the realm of baked goods, so much attention gets paid to sweet things—your cookies, cakes, pies, bars, banana breads, etc. But this week, it’s time for savory pastries to get their time in the spotlight. On the latest episode of Alt-Baking Bootcamp, baker, trainer, and nutritionist Sashah Handal offers up her take on pão de queijo, aka Brazilian cheese bread, to satisfy all of your savory snack cravings.
Handal doesn’t actually have to do all that much subbing here to make this delicious Brazilian bread alt-baking friendly, as pão de queijo is naturally gluten-free. “[It uses] tapioca flour, which is a derivative of cassava flour [made from] a tuber that grows in the ground known as yuca,” she says. “It’s super delicious, super starchy, [and] lends well to baking and breads—bada bing, bada boom!”
But there are a few tweaks away from tradition. For example, Handal subs almond milk for the more traditional cow’s milk and uses olive oil in place of butter. She does not, however, rob the recipe of its star ingredient which is, of course, cheese. In Brazil, you are likely to find these stuffed with a cheese that’s tough to find in the states, so most Americanized versions include mozzarella and/or Parmesan. But Handal goes with Gruyère and a specific Trader Joe’s cheese (which she also offers a sub for, if you do not have access to good ol’ TJ’s) instead.
The result—best served straight from the oven—melts in your mouth. “The only thing that’s missing are the sandy beaches of Copacabana, and maybe like a fresh mango juice on the side,” says Handal. “But if you use your imagination, I believe we can be transported there with this recipe.” Press play for your own one-way ticket to pão-adise.
Pão de queijo recipe
1/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup gruyere, shredded
2/3 cup Trader Joe’s caramelized onion cheddar cheese (or sharp cheddar), shredded
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Lightly grease two mini-muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray, e.g. canola. (Regular muffin tins work, too.)
3. Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender, starting with wet ingredients first.
4. Pulse until thick, viscous consistency is reached.
5. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and incorporate all ingredients.
6. Use a mini cookie scoop or spoon to pour batter into the muffin tins, careful not to fill beyond the halfway point.
7. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate, and bake for an additional five to eight mins until buns have puffed up and are golden brown on top.
8. Best eaten right out of the oven!
9. Can be stored in the fridge for four to five days. Reheat before enjoying.
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