What is Cheese Bread?

Cheese bread is a popular baked good that originated in Brazil but is now enjoyed around the world. It consists of a bread dough that has cheese mixed directly into it before baking. The cheese melts and distributes throughout the dough as it bakes, providing delicious flavor and texture.

What is Cheese Bread

Cheese bread can come in different shapes and sizes, from muffins to loaf breads, rolls, and more. It's a versatile food that can be served as a snack, appetizer, or as a side dish with meals. There are many ways to enjoy this tasty baked treat!

A Brief History of Cheese Bread

The origins of cheese bread can be traced back to the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil. This mountainous region was settled by Portuguese colonists in the 17th and 18th centuries. Due to the terrain, growing wheat was difficult so the colonists had to get creative with their baking.

They began using tapioca flour and local cheeses like Minas cheese to create bread. These early cheese breads eventually evolved into what we know as classic Brazilian cheese bread today.

In Minas Gerais, cheese bread is still a beloved staple food. They even have a Cheese Bread Day celebrated annually on August 17th. The popularity of this treat has spread across Brazil and Latin America. Now it's gaining more recognition worldwide as people discover its delicious possibilities.

Ingredients in Cheese Bread

There are just a few basic ingredients that go into making cheese bread:

  • Flour - Typically tapioca flour or a blend of tapioca and wheat flour are used. The tapioca gives the bread its signature chewy yet slightly crispy texture.
  • Cheese - Brazilian cheese bread uses local Minas cheese which is salty and crumbly. Other popular choices are Parmesan, mozzarella, provolone, cheddar, etc. The cheese adds great flavor.
  • Eggs - Eggs help bind the dough together and add moisture.
  • Milk - Milk also helps keep the dough moist and tender.
  • Butter or oil - A small amount of fat gives the bread flavor and richness.
  • Yeast - Active dry yeast helps the dough rise into light, fluffy bread.
  • Herbs and spices (optional) - Minced onions, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, etc can add extra flavor.

The basic dough comes together quickly in a mixing bowl. Then the cheese gets folded into the dough before baking. Easy to make at home!

Different Varieties of Cheese Bread

There are many ways to vary cheese bread depending on the type of cheese used, the shape it's formed into, and any extra ingredients added. Here are some of the most popular kinds:

Classic Brazilian Cheese Bread Rolls

This is the traditional version - tapioca flour dough mixed with Minas cheese, formed into bite-size rounds and baked. The cheese in the middle becomes molten and gooey. These cheesy bread rolls make a great appetizer or snack.

Loaf Cheese Bread

For this type, the cheese bread dough is baked into a standard loaf shape. Sliced loaf cheese bread works great for sandwiches or as a side. Cheddar and Parmesan are commonly used.

Cheese Bread Sticks

The dough can be shaped into bread sticks before baking for a fun twist. Bread stick cheese bread goes well with soups or salads.

Jalapeño Cheese Bread

For spicy cheese bread, chopped jalapeños are mixed into the dough before baking. The heat pairs nicely with the cheese.

Onion and Garlic Cheese Bread

For more flavor, minced onions and garlic can be added to the dough. The onion and garlic give the bread a savory kick.

Herbed Cheese Bread

Herbs like parsley, oregano, basil, or chives complement the cheese flavor. Knead them into the dough or sprinkle on top before baking.

There are endless ways to vary cheese bread simply by using different cheese varieties or mix-in ingredients!

How to Make Cheese Bread at Home

Making your own cheese bread from scratch is easier than you may think. Here is a basic overview of the simple steps:

  1. Make the dough - Whisk together tapioca flour, wheat flour if using, yeast, salt and any spices. Add the eggs, milk, and oil or melted butter. Mix until a shaggy dough forms.
  2. Knead the dough - Turn out onto a floured surface and knead briefly until smooth and elastic.
  3. Let it rise - Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45-60 minutes.
  4. Mix in cheese - Punch down the risen dough. Mix in shredded or cubed cheese by hand until well incorporated.
  5. Shape dough - For rolls, form dough into round balls. For loaf bread, shape into a loaf and place in a pan.
  6. Second rise - Cover dough and let rise again for 30 minutes until puffy.
  7. Bake - Bake at 375°F until golden brown, about 25-35 minutes.
  8. Cool and serve - Let cool for a few minutes before serving warm. Enjoy!

With a few basic ingredients and a little time, you can enjoy freshly baked cheese bread. Get creative with different cheese and ingredient mixes.

Key Takeaway: Making cheese bread at home is simple - mix up a dough, let it rise twice, bake, and enjoy warm from the oven!

Why is Cheese Bread so Popular in Brazil?

In Brazil, cheese bread is more than just a tasty food - it's a beloved part of the culture. There are several reasons why it has become so popular:

  • It originated in Brazil - Cheese bread has historical roots in the Minas Gerais region, so it's considered a local specialty. Brazilians are proud of this culinary tradition.
  • Distinctive flavor - The typical Minas cheese used gives the bread a unique salty, creamy flavor not found anywhere else. Brazilians love the distinctive taste.
  • Portable snack - Individual cheese bread rolls are the perfect on-the-go snack. Their small size also makes them easy to share.
  • Very versatile - Cheese bread works for any meal or occasion. It can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack, at parties, or with dinner.
  • Adaptable recipe - The basic dough takes well to many variations by adding different cheeses or ingredients.
  • Quick and easy to make - Brazilian home cooks like that it's fast and simple to whip up. Even kids can help make cheese bread.

Thanks to these qualities, cheese bread has become a standard part of everyday Brazilian cuisine and culture. It's easy to see why it's loved by Brazilians and visitors alike!

Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Like most baked goods, cheese bread is higher in carbohydrates and calories. However, cheese bread made with whole food ingredients can also provide some beneficial nutrition.

Here are some of the key nutrition facts and health benefits of homemade cheese bread:

  • Protein - The cheese contains protein for staying power and muscle recovery. Using 2 cups of cheese provides about 28g protein per loaf.
  • Calcium - All that cheesy goodness gives cheese bread a big calcium boost. Calcium helps strengthen bones and teeth.
  • Vitamin A - Cheeses like cheddar and provolone are high in vitamin A which supports eye and immune health.
  • Fiber - Whole grain flours add fiber for digestive and cardiovascular benefits. A 2-slice serving can provide 3-4g.
  • Probiotics - Fermented cheeses like gouda contain probiotics. These live cultures promote healthy gut bacteria.
  • Satisfying - Thanks to protein, fiber, and fat, cheese bread is very satiating and filling. A little goes a long way toward curbing hunger.

So while cheese bread should still be enjoyed in moderation, the whole food ingredients provide some decent nutrition. It makes for a healthier choice than store-bought cheese biscuits or breads with lots of additives.

How to Eat Cheese Bread

One of the great things about cheese bread is its versatility. Here are some of the many ways it can be enjoyed:

  • Slice it for sandwiches or toast for delicious cheesy toast
  • Serve alongside soups, salads, or pasta dishes
  • Top it with meat or veggies for a quick pizza
  • Dip in marinara sauce or hummus
  • Cube it for croutons in salads
  • Eat it plain as a snack
  • Use as the bun for burgers or hot dogs
  • Pair with coffee or hot chocolate
  • Make into mini-rolls for parties or appetizers
  • Stuff with other ingredients like ham for a filled bread

Cheese Bread Around the World

While cheese bread originated in Brazil, its popularity has spread across the globe. It's now enjoyed in many countries and cultures.

In Latin America, cheese bread remains a staple snack and appetizer. Variations using local ingredients like queso fresco or cotija cheese are common in Mexico and Central America. Portuguese settlers likely brought the concept of cheese bread to Africa, leading to versions made with mozarella or feta cheese.

Cheese bread has also caught on in North America and Europe. Bakeries offer specialty cheese breads like jalapeño cheddar or Parmesan herb for a unique twist. Food bloggers provide recipes for making Brazilian Pão de Queijo at home. Even fast food chains have embraced cheese bread by adding it to their menus.

No matter where you live, you can find some type of cheese bread. Its portability, versatility, and craveable flavor make cheese bread a worldwide phenomenon. Just about every culture has put their own spin on this beloved baked good.


What is the best cheese to use?

The most traditional and popular cheese to use is salted Minas cheese from the Minas Gerais region of Brazil. However, mozzarella, provolone, cheddar, Parmesan, and Gouda all work well too. Use your favorite!

Does the dough need time to rise?

Yes, the dough requires a double rise to achieve that fluffy, light texture. Allow 45-60 minutes for the first rise and 30 minutes for the second. This step is important!

Can I make cheese bread without tapioca flour?

While tapioca flour gives Brazilian Pão de Queijo its distinctive texture, you can use all-purpose or bread flour instead. The texture may turn out more bread-like.

How do I get the gooey cheesy middle?

Grating or cubing the cheese small along with an internal temperature of 190°F yields that melted, molten cheese in the center.

What is the best way to serve cheese bread?

Cheese bread is fantastic on its own fresh from the oven, but it also pairs nicely with soups, salads, pasta dishes, etc. Slice into sandwiches or dip in marinara sauce. Get creative!


There's no denying that cheese bread has earned its popularity around the world.

Its humble beginnings in rural Brazil have spawned countless tasty variations that are now beloved globally.

Part of cheese bread's appeal lies in its versatility - it works for snacks, appetizers, sandwiches and more.

AGAH Productions
AGAH Productions