16/03/2012

Cheese Puffs (Revisited)

Inspired by Paul Jaminet's post on Brazilian Cheese Puffs (also known as Pão de Queijo) I made some up: Cheese Puffs and they were great, although perhaps a little heavy?

After some tweaking and experimentation, I think I have come up with a method which is very simple, quick to undertake and delivers a more pleasing result - this may well be the exact texture that is achieved with Paul's method, but not having any cultural reference for this bread I'm guessing.

Perhaps the key difference between my first attempt and this very successful recipe is the starch itself - I have tracked down a source of Yoki brand and use their Polvilho Azedo, or sour starch.

While I am happy with many dairy products, especially fermented dairy and the fattier products, milk is not something I routinely ingest, nor would I suggest it to others - this is the one area of dairy that remains contentious, even for a paleo plusser like myself.

Previously, I have used soured cream, buttermilk and other fermented dairy, but this time it was milk. If you can get raw milk, great! The combination of milk and butter makes the soft centres much akin to croissant, in terms of flavour.

This is practically baking, so recipes do matter ... well, the ratio does, anyway.

Formulation

2 measures of Polvilho Azedo and Cheese (as 3:1)
1 measure of Milk and Butter (as 2:1)

You also need an egg and some baking powder.

So, using a cup, take one and half cups of flour, half a cup of grated cheese, two thirds of a cup of milk and one third of a cup of butter. Makes 12.

Got it?

Warm the milk, or buttermilk, or coconut milk, or water, or whatever liquid it is that you want to use, melting in the requisite amount of butter, coconut oil, lard, dripping, olive oil, or whatever fat it is you want to use. Butter is good!

Pour that over the measured amounts of flour and grated cheese - again, cheese can be Cheddar, Parmesan, Pecorino, Manchego, whatever you fancy. I find sheep cheeses work out best for flavour and passing through a fine grater for texture.

Entirely different flavours can be made up by varying the ingredients, but the key thing is to keep to the ratio: 2 measures of solids to 1 measure of liquid.

Crack in an egg and sprinkle in some baking powder - half a teaspoon, or so, per cup of flour.

Mix together to form a wet batter.

It is not imperative, but letting the batter stand for an hour seems to really improve the overall texture.

Pour out into greased cupcake moulds and place in a pre-heated over set to 200C for about 15 minutes, during which time, they will rise and crisp up.

Removed on the scant side, the balls will drop but will be more chewy and something like mini-Yorkshire Puddings. Less baking powder and they won't rise so much. Left until fully crisp, the centres will be soft and fluffy and the balls retain that inflated shape. Less batter per mould will rise better.

You'll get to find exactly how you like them, but there's a couple of tips to get started with ...

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