So once upon a time, 312 and I were on our way back from Costa Rica and we stopped at this restaurant called Fogo de Chao in Houston. This is a chain, so you may have been there or heard of it.
This was one of the best meals of my life. First of all, the food was super well-prepared for a chain. More importantly, however, it was just fun. Waiters walk around with giant skewers of 15 or so different meats and offer them to you, there’s an awesome cold salad bar, etc. They also bring you this cheese bread. It looks so unassuming but it is. so. good.
So of course I wanted to remake it at home. I read recipes compulsively for a few days, but I finally settled on a really easy one. I figured if the low maintenance one was good but not great I could always try again with a more involved recipe. After a quick trip to the asian grocery store for tapioca flour (my bag said tapioca starch, same thing), I tried it.
And…they were okay. The texture was perfect. Brazilian Cheese Bread, or Pao de Queijo, has a really interesting texture. It’s crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. The texture on these things was perfect, but they just didn’t taste like much.
So I thought about it for a while, and was just about ready to make them again and increase the cheese and perhaps put some butter on top when they were fresh out of the oven when for some reason I thought of these garlic knots, which I frequently make as a vehicle to get this garlic butter topping into my mouth. This topping sounded AMAZING with the parmesany cheese bread.
And it was. Oh my goodness it was. This was by far one of the best ideas I’ve had in months. This isn’t saying much, because I’ve definitely been failing at life lately, but don’t let that deter you. Try this bread! It’s made in the blender: so easy and quick!
Cheese Bread-Adapted from Simply Recipes
Makes about 20 cheese breads
- 1 egg*
- 1/3 cup oil (olive, vegetable)
- 2/3 cup milk
- Scant 1 1/2 cups (170 grams) tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup (packed, about 66 grams) grated cheese, your preference. I preferred parmesan.
- 1 teaspoon of salt (or more to taste)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Combine all ingredients in blender, blend until smooth.
3. Pour into greased mini-muffin tins, filling each tin about 3/4 of the way full.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned on top (I did about 16 minutes).
5. If using garlic topping continue below
Adapted from Emeril’s Garlic Knots
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic, preferably fresh
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (dry works fine)
You definitely want to prepare this up to the melting stage (first stage) before putting the breads in the oven or you’ll run out of time.
1. Melt butter with garlic in small saucepan over low heat for 4-5 minutes or until garlic is tender and fragrant. Cover and put aside-keep warm.
2. When bread is finished, add romano and parsley to saucepan, stir well, and drizzle topping onto breads. (I painted it on with my silicon brush. You can also toss it in a bowl or plastic container). DON’T use all the topping or your rolls will be sickeningly buttery and garlicky. You could probably cut this recipe in half, but I like to have extra for dipping Just add the topping to taste.