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PAO DE QUEIJO (cheese Rolls)


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PAO DE QUEIJO (cheese Rolls)

Pão de Queijo means in Portuguese Bread of cheese.

However in first days of Pao de Queijo had no cheese in it.

Everything started back in the years 1600’s when the slaves of our Minas Gerais state were making Manioc Flour to the rich farmland owners. That was pretty much the time Feijoada was invented as well.

But going back to the Pãa de Queijo history, the slaves used to crop manioc (yucca root), peel them off, finely grate them, and soak them in a big wood bowl (gamela) with plenty of water. So they wash and drained this grated manioc, then spread this manioc on a tiled floor outdoors and let it dry under the sun.

When dried, they scraped this manioc into big bags and stored them for food consumption throughout the year.

This was a noble food prepared to the farmland owners. Therefore slaves were not supposed to eat them. Even today this manioc flour is largely used in Brazilian cuisine. In our site we can see a recipe of Tutu (creamed beans) prepared with manioc flour, and also it is used to prepare the Farofa (a seasoned manioc flour). I’ve seen some people here say it tastes like beach sand. But don’t be fooled, a well prepared Farofa with manioc flour is a “Farmland owner’s exclusive food!”.

OK. But our hard working slaves end it up with a fine white powder left in the big wood bowls after taking out the manic flour. This was the manioc starch that dried out in the “gamelas” after preparing the manioc flour. The manioc flour had the starch washed out that’s why the sandy appearance.

So the slaves managed to scrape this white starch off the gamelas, make small balls and bake them. This manioc starch balls had neither cheese nor milk in it, just plain manioc starch. These baked balls became popular among the slaves and rich people just discarded this type of food.

More than 200 years latter, cattle farms became widespread in Brazil and slaves (that were being freed by that time) gained access to better foods such as milk and cheese. So they began to increment the baked balls with milk and ultimately cheese!

When Brazil had no more slaves, their culture began to spread among the rest of the population. And Pão de Queijo became popular in Minas Gerais.

Today, in every house you visit in Minas, they will prepare for you a fresh brewed coffee with Pão de Queijo.

The manioc starch latter got the name of “Polvilho” and now we have two types of “Polvilho”. Sweet polvilho that is made in the same way our ancestors slaves used to do: wash out grated manioc and dry the milky liquid in a large open tiled floor, or big wood bowls.

The second type is the Sour Polvilho. This one is made by letting the germs in the wood bowl to ferment the milky liquid before putting it to dry.

The sour polvilho makes a Pao de Queijo a little more acid and bigger. The prepared mix you buy is made with sour polvilho.

During the slavery times in Brazil, the Africans incorporated old traditions they brought from Africa with the culture they developed in the new country Brazil.

Their culture blended in our Brazilian culture and we are very proud of it. Today people have a hard time to remember if a specific tradition or food is from African slaves origin or not. Food such as the Chicken Ximxim, vatapa, canjica, cocada, Feijoada and Pão de Queijo are better known by the geographic location they exist than by ethnic origin. And the same I can say about the martial art Capoeira and the samba music. They are just Brazilian, there is no racial segregation in my loved country Brazil.

  • 2 lb of manioc starch (polvilho). You can use either sweet or sour manioc starch. Some people complain that sour manioc starch causes heartburn, however sour manioc starch makes the rolls rise more. It is
  • 1 lb of mashed potatoes (just cooked potatoes, mashed with no salt or oil).
  • 2 T margarine
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3-1/2 oz grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 c (500ml) milk

If Making is from Stratch:

The mashed potato should be cool before using.

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except the milk. Then add the milk slowly while you mix until you get a soft dough.

Place 1 inch balls spaced in a unbuttered cookie sheet and bake at moderate oven (350 F) for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes about 50 rolls.

IF USING MIX:

BLEND:

In a medium bowl:

1 package of Cheese Bread Yoki mix

1/2 cup water

2 eggs

HEAT:

Preheat oven to 350° F

BLEND:

In a medium bowl:

1 package of Cheese Bread Yoki mix

1/2 cup water

2 eggs

BEAT:

4 minutes at slow speed

or by hand until get smooth consistency.

BAKE

Place dough balls spaced in a cookie sheet.

Bate at 350° F for 25 minutes or until golden brown

STORAGE:

You can freeze the balls for about two months.

Hint: make the balls, place them in a cookie sheet and freeze them in the cookie sheet. Then take the frozen balls out of the cookie sheet and store in plastic container with a plastic film between the layers to make the removal easier.

To bake, take them directly from the freezer to the preheated oven. (do not thaw before baking).

Keywords: Latin American, Bread, Appetizer, Easy, Snack

( RG1731 )

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