DISH: Cheese bun
CONTRIBUTED BY : Ligia Jorge, Spouse to Brazilian Ambassador
Cheese bun is a typical Brazilian snack, present in almost everyday situations for Brazilians. Its origin is uncertain, but it is certain the recipe was created in the state of Minas Gerais (southeast region of Brazil) and existed since the 18th century. Cheese bun became effectively popular in the whole country from the 1950s. It may be eaten for breakfast or mid-afternoon coffee or tea or just as a snack any time of the day, plain or with fillings. It is compulsory at birthday parties and other celebrations. As it is a gluten-free delicacy, it can also replace bread in sandwiches. Average size is that of a traditional scone but can be made smaller or bigger.
In South Africa cheese bun can be enjoyed at the Coppa Café, Rivonia Village Mall, Sandton in Johannesburg.
(Note: the main ingredient is tapioca flour (a flour that come from cassava/manioc) and is found at major pharmacies (like Dis-Chem), wellness stores, and Portuguese-owned fruit and veggie shops. In Brazil tapioca flour is known as polvilho.
500g tapioca flour
125ml to 250ml milk
15g salt, to taste
150g cheese (It can be fresh white cheese, grated parmesan; a good choice is half haloumi and half common parmesan/hard cheese or half white cheddar and half parmesan. It depends on how strong you prefer the cheese taste to be).
- Boil the oil with water and milk.
- In a separate bowl, mix well the tapioca flour and the salt.
- Incorporate the hot liquid ingredients (oil + water + milk) to the dry ones (flour + salt) mixing well with your hands until it forms a ball. (Note: This step is very important, but be careful, it is very hot (use disposable gloves). If you need to add more milk, you must warm it up first. Any liquid mixed with the flour must be hot.
- Set aside to cool a little (do not add the eggs if it is still hot).
- Add the eggs and mix well, either with hands or blender.
- Add the cheese and continue mixing. The dough has to be soft, not hard or dry.
- Cover the dough with cling film and leave to refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Grease your hands with a little bit of oil and make balls of the desired size.
- At this point, the buns can be frozen or baked.
- To freeze, put the buns on a flat surface, separated from one another. When frozen, put them all in a bag or container and keep them in the freezer.
- To bake if frozen: Put the buns (still frozen) in a baking pan. Bake at medium (180 degrees) for around 20 minutes / * this time is recommended for small buns.
- To bake unfrozen: Bake at medium (180 degrees), for about 10 to 12 minutes / * this time is recommended for small buns.