We started thinking about pão de queijo in a more serious note. I have never met a single person that didn’t like pão de queijo, so why not make it in Canada? But we knew that before even considering a business, we needed to get the recipe right.
And when I say “right” I mean right for me. There are many recipes out there and they are all good, because like I said before “pão de queijo” is ALWAYS good, but I’m picky. And if you don’t know me, I will tell you I am quite a pain in the a**.
I have a very serious relationship with food. I’m a traditionalist at heart and things need to be done a proper way, respecting the source. I eat almost everything, so, me being picky means that is all about quality and respect.
With that in mind, our pão de queijo needed to respect my background. It needed the Brazilian taste and smell. And it needed to be as good as that one I had tasted in Monte Verde.
A difficult task, considering that Canada has very strict laws when it comes to importing dairy. So, I knew that getting the right cheese would be almost impossible. I knew I could find tapioca starch, but maybe not sour.
See, in Brazil, we have 2, maybe 3 types actually, of tapioca flour. Polvilho doce (normal tapioca flour), Polvilho Azedo (sour tapioca flour), Fécula de Mandioca (tapioca starch). The flour (starch) is obtained by decanting the manioc, while one type (sweet) is dried and ground, the other one (sour) is fermented before being dried and ground.
In theory, fécula and polvilho doce are the same things. Some producers will say it’s different, but I still haven’t fully understood its difference. Actually, that’s a good idea for a post! Full research of the differences between the 3 of them. Ok, we’ll dig deeper into this later. Let’s carry on with this post lol
So we started looking for ingredients. In Brazil, the main ingredients of pão de queijo are sour tapioca or a mix of sour and sweet tapioca and Minas cheese, even better is Canastra cheese, a more artisan style, specific of the Canastra region in Minas.
We knew cheese was going to be hard, so we started with the flour. We found sour tapioca in South American stores and normal tapioca starch in other, easier to get to, stores. The price difference was quite big, but we bought both, we wanted to try different ideas.
For the cheese, we knew we had to go for something funky in smell and taste but shouldn’t be so hard of a texture. We went to Cheese Boutique and bought all kinds of cheeses, so many I don’t even remember their names.
And then there was the recipe. There are so many! I asked my family for theirs, I looked online, I asked my friends’ families, I researched everywhere, so we had a list of recipes to try, with a list of cheeses to try.