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Monday 16 June 2014

Gluten Free: Pão de Queijo

My friend, Arey, explained the offside rule to me many years ago. Using cups, shot glasses and other visual aids, I finally understood the rule that so many others had attempted to clarify. The only problem is, I still can’t transfer that knowledge to actual football. All those players, running about, are confusing - give me a kitchen table over a football pitch any day!

If you’re like me, you’ll need something appropriately sized to demonstrate your knowledge of the offside rule to your friends. Might I suggest pão de queijo? These Brazillian cheese breads are sort of a dough-ball-meets-profiterole snack that’s perfect for watching the footie. 

Traditionally made with sour cassava flour, they’re naturally gluten free. I’ve substituted tapioca flour, because that’s easier to find in the world food section of your supermarket, asian groceries and health food shops. Queijo minas is the Brazillian cheese of choice, but any combination of cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan works well instead. 

Pão de queijo (makes 12)
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes
You’ll need:
  • 60ml vegetable oil (any mild tasting oil will do)
  • 140ml milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 140g tapioca flour
  • 1 egg
  • 60g grated cheese
Make it!
  1. Put the oil, milk and salt into a saucepan and heat gently.
  2. When it comes to the boil, remove from the heat and add 140g tapioca flour. Beat with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated. (At this point, you’ll be cursing my name for causing you to waste all that tapioca flour, but keep going. It looks like all is lost right now, it’s not.)
  3. Transfer the dough into a big bowl and knead until it starts to look a little smoother.
  4. Add the egg and beat it into the dough. An electric mixer with a dough hook would be perfect, otherwise it’s good ol’ elbow grease.
  5. Add the cheese and mix well.
  6. Put some oil on your hands and shape walnut-sized pieced of dough into balls and place on a lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until crispy and golden.
  8. Your pão de queijo will be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and are best eaten still warm. Cold, they soften up and you can use them like little bread rolls.


  1. I learnt the offside rule in the very same way! And then they changed it.

    1. What, they changed it?! Dammit!!

    2. Yep. I don't care enough to learn it again because like you, I can't see it on screen until it's in slow motion.

  2. Where is a good place to get tapioca flour? I can get Doves Farm quite easily, but anything a bit more specialist seems quite hard to track down in Leeds.

    1. Hi Vikki,
      Try Goodness Direct ( or health food shops. Tapioca is used in cookery in South America, the West Indies and Asia so a good place to look is the "World Food" aisle in the supermarket - just make sure it's guaranteed gluten free.

  3. Cheesy balls...what's not to love?

    1. Exactly! We had ours with spicy tomato chutney and garlic butter. I might need to quadruple the recipe next time...

  4. YES! A Brazilian friend gave me a recipe for pao de queijo a few years ago but I haven't been able to make it and didn't know how to substitute things. Thanks! Domestic Sluts come through again!

  5. There's a recipe for them in this month's delicious magazine too...

    1. There are going to be a lot of Brazilian recipes around this month - we have many more planned!

  6. Would these freeze - or do they need to be eaten in one sitting. (I bet I could do that...)


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