All this talk of soups and garnishes has made me think that it would only be fair and sensible to approach the issue of a cheesey bready side item–it’s hard to think of a soup that wouldn’t benefit from having a crusty cheesey chunk of bread to dunk in it.

So I’m going to do y’all a favor and hook you up with Brazilian cheese bread.  You will thank me.  Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow.  But you will.

As much as I would like to take entire credit for this recipe, in good conscience (which is something I sometimes have), I can’t.  I swiped it from a site called 52 weeks of Baking or something like that.  They in turn had swiped it from and sonia-portuguese, and God knows where they got it.  Further swiping, no doubt.

I forget who said it (more swipage on my part, I guess), but a little literary thievery is plagiarism; a lot is research.  I like to think of myself as a recipe researcher and irrigator of culinary info.

Did you know that you can’t copyright a title?  Yep.  One of my writing teachers (and house-sitting clients) wrote a novel and picked Sympathy for the Devil for its title.  He pretty quickly got a cease-and-desist form letter from the Rolling Stones’ legal representatives, but that crapped out when they owned up to the realization that you can’t copyright a title.  And so it went to print and was published as Sympathy for the Devil.  I guess they hadn’t learned anything about Led Zep’s “Moby Dick” in law school.

I don’t get the credit here, but neither do 52 Weeks of Baking,, or sonia-portuguese.  The credit goes to the good people of Brazil.

When I lived in Vermont, I worked with about a half-dozen Brazilians.  I figured that I’d be able to talk to them pretty easily–Portuguese is pretty much like Spanish, right?  Boy, was I wrong.  I don’t know whether Portuguese Portuguese differs much from Brazilian Portuguese (I’m sure it does, at least to some extent–like Mexican Spanish versus Spanish Spanish), but either way, it did not smack of any language I was familiar with.

Portugeuse is a beautiful language–far sexier than French, if  you ask me.  If you heard me say the Portuguese word for “pineapple”–abacaxi–you might well faint.

Next time you doctor up a pot of soup, have a go at these adorable bread balls too.  They’re very quick and very easy.  Tapioca flour is surprisingly easy to come by (if I can find it in my stupid little cornfield crap town, you can find it too), and don’t hesitate to up the amount of cheese.

There y’all are.  Any questions, let me know.

Pão de Queijo
Adapted from Recipezaar and Sonia-Portuguese

1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
2 cups tapioca flour
2-3 eggs (I had a cracking accident and used 2 eggs, 1 yolk and some white)
2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium-large sized pot bring milk, water, oil, and salt to a low boil. Remove from heat once boiling.
  3. Add in tapioca flour, stirring as fast as possible. Use a wooden spoon, not a whisk, as the dough will become very sticky. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
  4. Move dough to a large bowl and knead in eggs.
  5. When eggs are kneaded in, add grated cheese and knead until dough is smooth. Note: If your cheese is coarsely grated, it will appear a bit lumpy.
  6. Once kneaded, form into balls about 2 inches wide and place on parchment paper coated (or greased) baking sheet. Note: you may want grease your hands with vegetable oil before trying to form dough balls.
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.
  8. Serve warm! If you let them sit too long, reheat in the oven/toaster oven, the microwave will make them too gooey.

Do please pitch anything in if you have something to say to 52 weeks of baking,, julia-portuguese, or little old me.  Don’t be shy.