Gluten Free Cheese Bread | Pão De Queijo Recipe

For a growing number of people in the United States, celiac disease is becoming a term that they are more and more familiar with. If you have not heard of celiac disease previously, it’s a condition in which the small intestine becomes hypersensitive to gluten. Gluten is found in foods such as wheat, rye and barley. The disease makes digesting foods that contain gluten extremely difficult and it can cause severe inflammation, discomfort, and some other very unpleasant symptoms.

Even though gluten plays an important part in the structure of dough, there are gluten free alternatives that people who suffer with celiac disease can eat, which will allow you enjoy fresh baked bread just like everyone else.

Making this recipe is a bit of an art, and it does take a little bit more time and patience than baking traditional does, but once you understand the basics, it is relatively straightforward.

Making the Base

Just as you would with making traditional bread, you begin the process of making gluten free bread with the flour, but you will be using a gluten free flour such as buckwheat, tapioca, or chickpea flour. Because you have no gluten in the recipe, you will need an alternative ingredient that will support the dough, and that alternative is protein. Two of the best options for high-protein flour are buckwheat and oatmeal.

Adding Volume In The Dough

Even though protein will give the dough structure, you will still need to make sure that it will rise. For that, we need to provide the acidic environment that yeast needs to thrive and work in. The answer to this particular problem is ascorbic acid, otherwise known as Vitamin C, which will increase the volume and will also act as an effective preservative too, so it will increase the shelf life of your bread.

A Bit Of History

Some of the first records of gluten free bread can be traced all the way back to a traditional Brazilian version, called pão de queijo (Bread of Cheese), which was very popular more than 400 years ago.

The bread actually originated from a recipe brought to Brazil by African slaves that used what were thought otherwise inedible scraps that were left over from the processing of yucca, which is a root vegetable that formed a staple part of the Brazilian diet during the colonial period and is still a popular ingredient in many Brazilian dishes today.

The processing of yucca before it could be used in these traditional dishes was a time consuming one. The yucca root had to first be peeled, grated, soaked in water, and then dried in the sun. The by-product that was created from this lengthy process was a fine white powder, which the slaves formed into balls and baked in an oven. Some 200 years later, people began adding cheese to the dough and pão de queijo became what we know it as today.

Learn about gluten free bread and baking it with Fourth Estate's Pão-De-Queijo recipe. Image is a basket of cheesy rolls.

Recipe for Pão De Queijo

Here’s what you will need to make your own home-made Pão De Queijo:

Ingredients – How to Make Pão De Queijo

1 cup whole milk

1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup vegetable oil

10 ounces tapioca flour or sour cassava flour

2 medium eggs

1 tsp salt


Step 1

Preheat your oven to 450° and line a baking pan with baking parchment and leave it to one side.

Step 2

Heat the milk and oil in a pan and then stir in the salt. Take off the heat as soon as the milk begins to boil.

Step 3

Add the flour to the pan and stir in well until the ingredients have combined and created a grainy looking, gelatinous dough.

Step 4

Allow the dough to cool and then transfer it to a mixer with a paddle, or you can mix by hand if you prefer. Mix the dough thoroughly until it is smooth. The dough should now be cool enough to hold your finger to it.

Step 5

Whisk the eggs together and then mix the whisked eggs into the dough.

Step 6

Mix the grated Parmesan thoroughly into the dough. You should now have a very soft and sticky dough that will be the consistency of somewhere between a cookie dough and a cake batter.

Step 7

Scoop the dough into balls with an ice cream scoop or a spoon, round them off in your hands, and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about an inch between each dough ball. If you dip your spoon or scoop in water between each dough ball, it will stop the dough sticking to the spoon or scoop.

Step 8

Put the baking tray into the oven and then immediately turn down the heat to 350°F. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the rolls have risen and are just starting to turn brown. Let the rolls cool off a bit and then you enjoy your delicious home-made Pão De Queijo! Any rolls you have left over will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.