Pão de queijo

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Pão de queijo
Pão de queijo.jpg
CourseBreakfast or snack
Place of originBrazil
Region or stateMinas Gerais
Main ingredientsCassava flour, cheese (usually Minas cheese)
Similar dishesGougère, Chipa
Pão de queijo with coffee and a small cachaça bottle. The half-bitten pão de queijo over the saucer shows the inside.

Pão de queijo (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpɐ̃w dʒi 'kejʒʊ], "cheese bread" in Portuguese) or Brazilian cheese bread is a small, baked cheese roll or cheese bun, a popular snack and breakfast food in Brazil. It is a traditional Brazilian recipe, originating in the state of Minas Gerais[1].

Pão de queijo originated from African slaves like many other Brazilian foods. Slaves would soak and peel the cassava root and make bread rolls from it. At this time, there was no cheese in the rolls. At the end of the 19th century, more ingredients became available to the Afro-Brazilian community such as milk and cheese. They added milk and cheese to the tapioca roll making what we now know as Pão de queijo.[1] It is also widely eaten in northern Argentina and is inexpensive and often sold from streetside stands by vendors carrying a heat-preserving container. In Brazil, it is also very commonly found in groceries, supermarkets and bakeries, industrialized or freshly made.

Despite being referred to as "bread", the cheese bread is basically a type of starch tart cookie or sweet plus eggs, salt, vegetable oil, and cheese, with soft and elastic consistency and with a few variations.[2]


With the discovery of mines near Ouro Preto around 1700, 1/5 of the Brazilian population, mainly enslaved people, occupied a vast territory, moving from the Northeast and shifting the economic hub of the colony towards the Southeast.

The mining cycle caused a huge impact and stimulus to the production of staple foods and this is when cheese bread was created. The Northeast and the nearest regions obtained beans, rice, corn and its cornmeal, pork and lard, milk and cheese. More distant areas such as the gaucho pampa, began to offer kind of beef meat. It is said that the cheese bread was offered by slave women to the farmers. At the time, wheat flour, the raw material of classical baking, was hard to find. Typical of temperate regions, the ancient cereal never combined with the warmth of the Brazilian Northeast, and was then imported from Europe to Brazil to serve the King's noblemen.

Creatively, Minas Gerais cooks replaced the non-existent wheat with starch derived from cassava tuber with tupiniquins origins. Added the mass cured cheese chips, hardened and grated, and taken to the oven, turned out to like being called "bread".[3]

Main ingredients[edit]


There are several different recipes of Brazilian cheese bread where the ingredients and the type of cheese vary widely - as well as the final result. Some of them use sweet starch, other sour, or even both. But what gives it its main feature is that it is based on starch cassava and some kind of cheese.

The fat - lard, vegetable oil, butter or margarine - acts as a molecular lubricant, [4] contributing to the elastic texture of the dough.

The egg gives colour and flavour to the recipe.[5]

The type of cheese varies according to preference or availability. The most used are mozzarella, parmesan, and (more traditionally) Minas cheese (either in its "ripened" or "standard" version).[6] The cheese gives the typical flavor of the cheese bread, hence its name.

There is also the boiled cheese bread with a preparation technique that requires boiling water while preparing, sometimes mixed with vegetable oil in flour. The boiled cheese bread has the closest taste of natural, as in the boiling process the dough is pre-cooked.

Some recipes use potato.[7]


Pães de queijo are formed into small balls, around 3-5 centimeters in diameter (though they may be larger) and about 50 calories in each roll. The cassava flour is a powerful starch which is key to the texture of the pão de queijo; unlike other types of bread, pão de queijo is not leavened. Small pockets of air within the dough expand during baking and are contained by the elasticity of the starch paste. The tapioca starch used in pão de queijo makes this snack gluten free. Varieties of stuffed pães de queijo with catupiry, hot and melted goiabada, doce de leite and other variations can be found in Brazil.



Casa do Pão de Queijo at the Afonso Pena International Airport, in São José dos Pinhais, Paraná, Brazil.

In Brazil, pão de queijo is a popular breakfast dish and snack. It continues to be widely sold at snack bars and bakeries and it can also be bought frozen to bake at home. In Brazil, cheese puff mix packages are easily found in most supermarkets.

United States[edit]

Given its growing popularity in the US, the frozen packages of pao de queijo can now be found in some American grocery stores such as Costco, County Market, HEB, Publix, World Market and Whole Foods.

Japan / East Asia[edit]

Pão de queijo arrived in Japan with the dekasegi. It is usually made with rice flour instead of the cassava (tapioca) starch.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "chebe - History of Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)". www.chebe.com. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  2. ^ CANAVESI, E.; PIROZI, M. R.; MACHADO, P. T.;MINIM, V. P. R. Efeito da concentração dos ingredientes nas características físico-químicas do pão de queijo. In: Simpósio Latino-Americano de Ciência dos Alimentos, 2., 1997, Campinas.
  3. ^ Graziano, X. Pão de Queijo, Estadão, 2014.
  4. ^ PEREIRA, J. Caracterização química, física, estrutural e sensorial do pão de queijo. 2001. 222 p. Tese (Doutorado em Ciência dos Alimentos) – Universidade Federal de Lavras, Lavras, 2001
  5. ^ LEME, L. L. Ovos pasteurizados resfriados e desidratados e sua importância. In: PIZZINATO, A.; ORMENESE, R. de C. S. C. Seminário pão de queijo: ingredientes, formulação e processo. Campinas: Governo do Estado de São Paulo/Secretaria de Agricultura e Abastecimento/Agência Paulista de Tecnologia dos Agronegócios/Instituto de Tecnologia de Alimentos/Centro de Tecnologia de Cereais e Chocolate, 2000. p. 29-41.
  6. ^ JESUS, C. C. de. Contribuição para a caracterização físico-química e sensorial do pão de queijo. 1997. 106 f. Dissertação (Mestrado em Ciência de Alimentos) - Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, 1997.
  7. ^ Marco Clivati (1 June 2013). Delícias para sua Festa Vegetariana Editora Europa [S.l.] pp. 35–. ISBN 978-85-7960-175-0.