May 26, 2014
pain au fromage
(cheese buns)
It’s a cliché now to talk about the world becoming smaller due to the Internet, but this simple recipe is a good example. It apparently started as a challenge from a Brazilian website called Rolê Gourmet to the Japanese website Cooking with Dog. The challenge was to prepare Brazilian cheese buns called pão de queijo. I saw the Cooking with Dog video and decided to make an amuse‑bouche in America with a French name.
The Rolê Gourmet recipe was made with just cream, tapioca starch, cheese, and salt. The Cooking with Dog version substituted milk and water for the cream and added some olive oil and some beaten egg. The later version also had a much reduced cheese to starch ratio. The finished dough in the original recipe looked like bread dough, but the one in the Japanese version was more like a thick batter. When I prepared the Japanese version, the batter was even thinner than it appeared in the video. Looking online, I’ve found many variations of both versions.
The picture above is of the Japanese version. The resulting bun was a bit airier than the Brazilian version. I’ve included both recipes below. Both work.
First the Japanese version:
50 ml (313 T)
whole milk
50 ml (313 T)
112 T
olive oil
100 g (312 oz)
tapioca starch
30 g (2 T)
beaten egg
30 g ( 1+ oz)
grated parmesan cheese
1. Combine the milk, water, and oil in a saucepan, and bring close to a boil.
2. Place the starch in a deep bowl, and pour the hot liquid over it. Using a stiff spatula, combine the two. When smooth, beat in the egg in two batches. When smooth again, add the cheese.
3. Set the dough aside for about an hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 170 °C (340 °F).
5. Using a 1‑T scoop, divide the dough in balls or mounds on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a silicone pan liner.
6. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Yield: about 20 pieces.
And then the Brazilian version:
100 g (312 oz)
tapioca starch
fine salt
100 ml (312 fl. oz)
heavy cream
110 g (14 lb)
grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 170 °C (340 °F).
2. Place the starch and salt in a bowl. Using a rubber spatula, add the cream. Mix to combine. Add the cheese, and mix again. At this point, the dough will be very crumbly. Knead the dough by hand until is comes together and is smooth.
3. Using a 1‑T scoop, divide the dough into portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Arrange the balls on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a silicone pan liner.
4. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Yield: about 24 pieces.

© 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.