My name is Silvana Quadros Russell and I am the founder of Brazilian Oven LLC.
My company is new, beginning in January, 2012. However, my product, "Cheese Bread", or as the Brazilians call it "Pão de Queijo" (Poun de CAY-zhoe), has been around since the 18th century.
Cheese bread got its popularity in the 1960s when the first franchise of "Casa do Pão de Queijo", or "Cheese Bread House", started to spread around the big cities throughout Brazil. Soon the appetizer became a sensation. Today cheese bread is served in bakeries, cafes, restaurants, school cafeterias, and is also sold as frozen dough in supermarkets.
Tapioca flour is the main ingredient of cheese bread. Tapioca is derived from the roots of the cassava/yucca plant, or as we call it in Brazil, "Mandioca". Native to South America, this tubular root plant has been around for over 10,000 years.
My father cultivated this beautiful plant in our garden, and "mandioca" was a staple food in our diet. It was a family tradition to follow Dad to the cassava/yucca plantation and watch him study a group of cassava/yucca plants and pick the one that was just right. He harvested the roots from the ground by grasping the central stem and shaking it to bring the roots up all together. If we could count five cassava/yucca roots or more hanging tight; Dad's choice was very wise.
I grew up in Brazil eating Pão de Queijo (Cheese Bread), a delicious and nutritious gluten free appetizer. After moving to the United States in 1995, Brazilian cheese bread was among a variety of goodies that I missed from Brazil. In 1999 a Brazilian friend in Kalamazoo, Michigan, showed me a local source for tapioca flour to make cheese bread, that was just the begin...
Just like apple pie in the United States, everyone in Brazil has a favorite recipe for cheese bread. After trying a few different recipes and adapting a couple of ingredients, I found a mixture that produced the traditional cheese bread that I had enjoyed when living in Brazil.
Whenever attending a local social event, my contribution was " Brazilian Cheese Bread". Family and friends were always asking for more. I noticed there was a need to be filled. That is how Brazilian Oven was born!