I’ve been making French Cheese Puffs, aka GOUGERES for years, and there is always a conflict in me because this is a delicious French version of cheese bread. As a Brazilian, how can I possibly opt for the French Cheese Puffs when my country is the king of cheese bread? So I went to therapy, debated my food conflicts, and decided that I love both, and will bake both. Just not at the same time. There is time for Brazilian cheese bread, and there is time for French Cheese Bread! Viva!
In honor of Bastille day, shall we bake some Gougeres? Feel free to bake these wonders any other time of the year—they are evergreen.
Most recipes for cheese puffs call for milk instead of water. Some call for a mixture of milk and water. Over the years, I realized that milk actually makes the cheese puffs less crunchy on the outside; so I’m leaving milk out of the recipe, and the recipe is still so moist inside. Take a bite of this open cheese puff through the screen! Hope you’ll bring it to life in your own kitchen!
French Cheese Puffs (Gougeres)
Makes 40 Gougeres
1 cup (235ml) water
1 stick + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (125g)
1 teaspoon (5g) Kosher salt
1 teaspoon (5g) sugar
Freshly ground pepper
Freshly ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon paprika
1 cup + 1 tablespoon (175g) all-purpose flour
3 to 4 eggs
2 cups (250g) finely grated Gruyere cheese
- Center a rack in the middle of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 375˚F.
- In a medium saucepan, pour the water, butter, salt and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add the flour in one stroke, and cook with a wooden spoon, now over low heat, until it all comes together as a ball.
- Add the fresh pepper, nutmeg and paprika and continue mixing, until the dough leaves a light crust on the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes. You are looking for a smooth dough, nice and tender.
- Transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and turn the mixer on low speed. Beat slowly for a minute to let the steam out. By the way, you CAN do this part manually, using a bowl and a wooden spoon, but the machine makes it easier and faster.
- Add the eggs, one at a time. Now, here is the tricky part: depending on the humidity and temperature, you might need only 3 ½ eggs, or 4, or 4 ½ eggs. Be sure to add one egg at a time and beat well after each egg. How do you know if the dough needs another egg? You need at least 3 eggs (still adding one at a time). If you run your finger through the center of the dough, the dough should close slowly.If it doesn’t, then add another ½ egg (beat an egg with a fork in a small bowl), beat the dough, and check with your finger again.
- Add the grated cheese and continue to beat slowly until it’s well mixed.
- Prepare a sheet pan lined with silpat.
- Using a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, form little balls of the dough, spacing them about an inch apart.
- Bake in the oven until it’s firm, puffed and gorgeously golden, about 18 minutes, rotating once between baking time.
- Serve warm or transfer the pan to cool. If you want to prepare them ahead of time, they re-heat very well; let them cool completely, place them in a zip lock bag and keep them in the fridge. Reheat in the oven for 5 minute, and serve.
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