As Valentine’s Day and my birthday are in February, William decided to take me to Brazeiros Brazillian Steak House for my birthday. I was excited to get dressed up and have an adult dinner since COVID had put our social activities on hold.
Being the oldsters we are, William made the reservation for 4:30 pm on Saturday.
We both dressed to the nines and hopped in the car headed for downtown Louisville.
We arrived at Brazeiros at 4:30 on the dot and went to our table.
The server politely described how service worked at the restaurant. We ordered drinks, and another server quickly delivered cheese bread to our table.
The bread was a Brazilian Cheese Bread or Pão de Queijo. Each piece looked like a tiny muffin. We were used to cheddar garlic bread, or small loaves served tableside in other restaurants.
We looked across the table at each other and then picked up a piece of bread. I pulled it apart and popped a bit in my mouth. William did the same.
The crust on the bread was crunchy but didn’t fall apart. There were no crumbs. The inside was moist and chewy. The texture was unlike any I’d ever felt on my tongue. The flavor POPPED! I caught William’s gaze, and we were both smiling as we finished off our respective pieces. We each helped ourselves to another. Yum!
The Pandemic has helped me hone my cooking and baking skills. I know the joke is that everyone’s making bread these days. I have been baking bread a couple of times a month through the past year. It helped soothe my soul to smell the fresh aroma while it baked.
As in my career in education, I still am continually learning. My motto is, You stop learning, and you die. I continue this thirst for knowledge into the kitchen.
When I realized how much we both loved the cheese bread and acknowledged that I’ve never made anything like that before, I pulled out my phone. I Googled “copy recipe of Brazeiros cheese bread.”
I quickly had many results. The first one, and the one I decided to tackle, can be found here: Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de Queijo):
When the waiter returned with more bread and side dishes, William complimented the cheese bread. The waiter smiled and said that he thought it was so good that he had to stay away from it while working. I grinned at him and said, “I’m going to make these at home.
I just looked up the recipe!” He gave me a polite eye-smile (due to the mask), and I could see in his eyes that he thought I was loco.
After our very satisfying meal, we hopped in the car and headed home. I was, however, shocked at how downtown Louisville looked now. What had once been a bustling city on a Saturday evening was now very quiet and almost deserted. The past year hadn’t been kind to Louisville.
I chatted away with William and pulled up the recipe I’d saved at the restaurant. I read aloud the ingredients—farmer’s cheese and tapioca flour–were two items I’d never used while cooking. I imagined the tapioca was what gave the cheese bread its creamy texture.
I quickly went online to see where I could buy tapioca flour, and our nearby grocery carried it. Then I looked for farmer cheese. It was not readily available in our area. I knew I MUST make this cheese bread, and my mind raced as I tried to figure out how to get my hands on some.
Never a quitter, I opened Google and typed in “farmer’s cheese recipe.” To my astonishment, it popped right up! There were only three ingredients: whole milk, vinegar, and salt. I told myself that I was up to that challenge.
On Tuesday morning, as William worked in the office, I decided I was up to the cheese challenge.
I printed out the recipe and gathered my ingredients. After 20 minutes, I had bona fide farmer’s cheese!
While I let the cheese sit in the refrigerator for the suggested hour, I printed the recipe for the bread. I gathered the ingredients and my trusty Ninja blender. All I had to do was dump the ingredients in and pulse for 20 seconds. The batter was ready for me to put in the mini muffin tins that had just been delivered from Amazon.
Less than a half-hour later, I had homemade Brazilian Cheese Bread.
The texture was the same as I remembered it from the restaurant on Saturday. The crust was crisp. The inside was soft and velvety on the tongue. It tasted almost the same!
Pão de Queijo. Me, the baker. Who knew?!