I definitely miss eating out during this stay-at-home order! And one of my favorite places in Cleveland is the Brazilian steak chain Texas de Brazil. They serve wonderful Cheese Bread balls that are gooey and warm, instead of regular bread slices. These cheese dough balls are gluten-free, thus perfect for dietary restrictions. And since my husband and I were craving them, I looked up recipes to try to recreate these masterpieces. This one is straight out (with few alterations) of the “Great British Bake Off: Get Baking with Friends and Family” book and it was perfect as an appetizer for the US Mother’s Day this past Sunday. Traditional recipe contains manioc starch and “meia cura” cheese but these aren’t available where I live and I found tapioca flour and a mix of mozzarella and Parmesan to be a great substitute for both these ingredients.
Ingredients (for 16 large or 32 small cheese bread balls):
- 100 ml (1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon) Whole Milk
- 30 ml (2 tablespoons) Water
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) Sunflower Oil
- 315 g (2 and 1/2 cups) Tapioca Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 Egg, beaten
- 75 g (3/4 cup) Mozarella, shredded
- 75 g (3/4 cup) Parmesan, grated
1. Heat the oven to 200 C (400F) and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
2. Measure the tapioca flour and salt out in a bowl and whisk to combine
3. Put the milk, water and oil in a pan and heat to a boil then immediately pour the hot milk mixture onto the dry ingredients while continuously whisking at low speed. You can use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a handheld electric mix.
4. Once all the liquid is incorporated, increase the whisking speed until you have a thick consistency paste. If the dough doesn’t come together add a bit of oil, but not too much, otherwise you’ll need to add more tapioca and that will create a tough crust when the cheese balls bake.
5. Lower the speed of the mixer and gradually add the beaten egg and mix until fully incorporated.
6. Gradually add the cheeses, a bit at a time, and wait until it is fully incorporated before adding any more.
7. Mix until just combined. The dough will be sticky, but not runny and the sides of the bowl should be clean.
8. Leave the dough to rest for 5 minutes.
9. Shape equal sized cheese bread balls the size of table-tennis balls and place the balls spaced out on the prepared baking sheets. It will be easier to handle the dough if you wet your hands.
10. Sprinkle a little Parmesan on top of the balls.
11. Bake for 20-25 minutes (less if you’re making the mini balls) until the balls are risen and golden. If you don’t want to bake all of them, you can safely freeze them.
12. Remove the tray from the oven and leave to cool on the sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm!