When you're gluten-free, it's a rare treat to eat a sandwich with bread that actually tastes good. I'll even pass for edible. Well, these Brazilian cheese rolls are not only good, they're delicious. I had a version of them at a lovely New York restaurant called Comodo and went home and figured out how to make them. They use tapioca flour so they're gluten-free. They taste like gougeres, and you know how addicting they are.
You can eat them as a roll or cut them in half and sandwich a burger between the bread and you've got yourself a slider. First attempt I made black bean burgers, and my daughter and I were very happy. But because the bread is so flavorful with all that parmesan cheese, it's nice to make the bread the star so I slathered on some pesto between the bread and filled with some end-of-summer tomatoes. Now that was sublime. The simpler something is, the better it generally tastes.
GLUTEN-FREE BRAZILIAN CHEESE ROLLS (PAO DE QUEIJO)
If you're from Brazil, you might not say this is 100% authentic, but to me, taste is what counts. The tapioca starch is also known as manioc, yuca or cassava. Some recipes call for tapioca starch, others for tapioca flour, but in America, they're basically the same thing. Bob's Red Mill makes a good tapioca flour.
In Latin America, they would use a Brazilian cheese called queijo minas instead of the parmesan cheese used in this recipe. You can also use cotija. Next time I make them, I'm going to put some fresh herbs in the batter – rosemary, sage, parsley or thyme, depending on what I want to pair them with. Or better yet, some roasted garlic.
Makes about 24
1 cup almond milk
¼ cup butter + 1 tablespoon
¼ cup olive oil
2 cups tapioca flour
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 ¼ cups grated parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
Optional: Tablespoon of chopped rosemary or thyme
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Line two muffin tins with the one tablespoon of butter.
Mix the milk, butter and oil in a quart sized pot. Bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. As soon as it boils, remove from the heat.
When the milk, oil and butter mix cools a bit, put it in a food processor. Add the tapioca flour. Mix until blended.
Stir in the eggs, cheese and salt and mix well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. The dough will be very stretchy and gooey.
Let the mixture cool for about 15 minutes so it's easier to handle.
With your hands dry and floured, shape the dough into balls and place them in the muffin tins. (You can use a baking pan, but this method seems less messier.)
Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until they are puffed up and start to become golden.