Bread is life—not only when in Manila, but practically all around the globe. Even though Filipinos have a love-hate relationship with bread (aka carbs), we can’t deny that this has become a household staple at every Filipino table. That’s what sparked the idea behind Pão de Queijo (‘pown-deh-KAY-zho)—a type of Brazilian cheese bread that is still relatively unknown in the Philippines. Filipinos love bread and Filipinos love cheese, so why not combine both while introducing one of the most unique textures you’ll ever experience?
Everyone has been trying to stay productive and make the most out of the quarantine – owners Justin Qua and Bea Santos included. Pão de Queijo started out as a kitchen experiment that Justin would make for his girlfriend (Bea). Justin managed to tweak his aunt’s recipe and successfully come up with his own version of an addictive gluten-free Brazilian chewy cheese bread primarily made from tapioca flour, milk, and cheese.
With a push from his girlfriend, Justin started taking orders from friends and eventually selling online via social media. To date, their home baking business has managed to sell over 3,000 pieces of PDQs since its launch in late April.
In case you’re wondering where the name Chewbaker came from, you Star Wars nerds probably already have an idea. The name ChewBaker was coined by Bea (Justin’s girlfriend) who would often tease Justin (a HUGE Star Wars fan) for his love of the franchise.
Chewbacca (whose nickname is Chewie) was the perfect inspiration for the baked goods because of the key characteristic of the bread: they’re CHEWY, thanks to the use of tapioca flour. This gave the couple an idea to turn ChewBaker into a niche bakery only selling CHEWY goods.
We have all been riding the ube-cheese pandesal train. While everyone has been on it, Justin wanted to make sure he made something different. Chewbaker wanted to be unique and offer a product focused solely on good quality CHEWY products. Their Chewies boast of high quality premium ingredients baked on the same day and delivered right to your doorstep.
Although Justin had no formal training in baking or cooking, he managed to tweak a recipe that hit home with the help of their customer’s feedback. It wasn’t an overnight process; but after several trial and errors, they were finally taking on a recipe that’s certainly a winner.
Before the actual taste test, I could already smell the cheesy goodness as the Grab driver handed me the package. I rushed home, sanitized my hands, and religiously followed the reheating instructions. I was told they’re best paired with jam or honey, so jam and honey I got.
I first tried it on its own. They weren’t kidding when they said you’d be introduced to a new kind of chewy experience. The cheese wasn’t overpowering, so I thought I’d pair it with honey first then jam. Based on my taste test, I can successfully report that it is best paired with jam! To each their own, though, so feel free to experiment!
With the cult of the cheesy bread seeing a growth in nationwide enthusiasm, Chewbaker’s Pão de Queijo is definitely something you should look out for. They’ve gotten the support of numerous experts in the F&B industry, which affirms how amazing these chewy creations are. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your own Pão de Queijo’s. I’m pretty sure you’ll be screaming “I love Chew” in no time. (Sorry about the pun. I tried.)
All photos from Chewbaker
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