Recipe: Finding the perfect cheese bread recipe

It’s been largely miss in my hit-or-miss attempt to perfect the pao de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) recipe.

I think I’ve nailed down the ingredients and nearly all the measurements, but I still can’t get my bread to contain all the air pockets and produce a “LIGHT” bread. Most of my attempts have resulted in dense or undercooked textures that make some of them unpalatable.

1 jumbo egg
1 cup tapioca starch (exact)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder (substitute for real minced garlic)
3/4 cup sharp cheddar, finely shredded
1/4 cup parmesan, finely shredded

Most recipes I’ve found have indicated to heat up butter and cream then add to starch/salt/garlic mixture. This results in a dry batter until the egg  is added…which turns into a wet (not drippy) batter with the consistency of oatmeal. Continue to stir until all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Then add cheese and continue to knead, stir, mix until incorporated. The dough gains a little stiffness and dryness from the addition of the cheese, but is still wet enough to require molding before dropping into the muffin tin. Bake for 15-20 min at 400F degrees.

Some of the failure may come from the cheese taking up too much space and not allowing air pockets to form in the bread. One video called for grated cheese mixed with the egg to alleviate this issue. Another recipe indicates hand kneading for 15 minutes before using a stand mixer to knead the dough for another 5-10 minutes.