Pao de Queijo: Take II

Recently a friend so kindly brought me homemade pao de queijo, or Brazilian cheese bread. Being made with tapioca flour makes the bread traditionally gluten-free and the outside becomes perfectly crisp while the inside maintains a delicious chewiness. Needless to say, it blew my mind. I wanted to make it immediately and, most importantly, as pizza crust. You can find the basic recipe here.

My first attempt, while enthusiastic, was not an all-out success. I used my cast iron skillet, which may have worked well if I had not piled the dough on so thick, thus resulting in a goopy, pizza-flavored mess.

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My second attempt was a vast improvement from the first, but not quite perfect. I found that thinning out the dough, by spreading it out on a baking sheet with a rubber spatula, helped the crust become much more solid and crisp, at least on the top. The bottom, however, was not crisped nor browned. Reheating leftovers in a pan with a little olive oil helped crisp up the bottom, but next time I may try flipping the crust midway through the baking process (if I can manage to do so without destroying the thing). The middle stayed chewy, which I think is just the nature of the bread. I’m smitten, but Pal prefers his traditional pizza pie. Seeing that it’s been so long since I’ve had real pizza, I’ll take what I can get — and this far surpasses so many of the cardboard impostors that I have tried in the past.

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IMG_3945Like any pizza, you can top it with whatever floats your boat. I went with mozzarella, sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions. I’m confident the next go-round will be even better.

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