Up your dinner game with these easy Mediterranean cheese stuffed bread rolls. This recipe uses a herbed Baladi cheese filling to bring the ultimate buttery-salt-sweet side dish to your dinner table.
Is there anything more satiating than carbs on carbs? Or perhaps carbs IN carbs? I’m talking herbed cheesy goodness wrapped in a fluffy golden bread; aromatic when baked, flavourful when devoured. To achieve this, I use Baladi cheese (more on that below), and a dough recipe handed down from one generation to the next.
The dough recipe is from an old housewife, and good friend. She reminds me of my late grandma – a sweet soul, a loving granny, and above all: a good cook. Of course this means she doesn’t really measure out her ingredients & she doesn’t own a kitchen scale. Yet her recipe comes together so beautifully each time, I’m willing to say that even the novice baker can knead it together perfectly.
What is Baladi Cheese?
You’ll see below I use a Baladi cheese filling. Baladi cheese is a fresh soft, artisan cheese originally from the Middle East. Most Greek/Middle Eastern grocery stores will stock this type of cheese. Some its characteristics include:
- Rindless. Baladi cheese is white in colour and rindless (unlike Camembert for example)
- It has a fat content of about 20-25%.
- Once you try it, you’ll immediately pick up on its creamy, dense and smooth texture.
- It’s flavour is an irresistible buttery, mild and salty sweet concoction
- Unlike Cheddar or Mozzarella, Baladi cheese doesn’t melt well when heated
- It is most similar to Cotija cheese, Queso Panela, Queso Fresco, or Paneer which is often found at Indian grocery stores.
- Baladi cheese pairs excellently with fresh baked bread or croissant. Drizzle with some olive oil, herbs (black sesame and dried mint flakes are amazing!) and serve with watermelon if in season!
Best cheese to use in stuffed bread rolls?
Of course whilst you don’t have to use Baladi cheese in your stuffing, it adds an irresistibly salty-sweet-buttery flavour to your buns that cheddar wouldn’t come close to. If you’re after a cheese pull without a tang, a fresh mozzarella or burrata would be a great replacement. Using a mild, fresh cheese brings moisture to the bread roll, adding to it’s fluffiness and preventing it from drying out quickly. Simply replace Baladi cheese with equal amounts of the cheese of your choosing.
There’s yeast! How do I bake with yeast?
Fret not. I’ve used instant yeast in this recipe because it’s the easiest kind of yeast to work with. For your quick run down on yeast, and how to bake with it, check this post – it’s got all the answers to your questions!
Can you freeze cheese stuffed bread rolls?
Since the bread rolls are made with instant yeast, I don’t recommend freezing or refrigerating them unbaked (see why here). If however you’ve baked it, you’re able freeze tightly wrapped & bagged for up to one month. The bread should defrost by lunch time or for a grab-n-go afternoon snack.
If you like your bread warm like I do, microwave for 10-20 seconds once defrosted.
Mediterranean Cheese Filled Bread Rolls
- 512 grams (4 cups) plain flour
- 1-2 cups water,, as needed
- 86 grams (about 3/4 cup) powdered milk,, two small handfuls
- 1/3 cup (30mL) flavourless oil,, vegetable, sunflower, etc.
- 1 ½ tbsp (18 grams) instant yeast
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
Baladi Cheese Filling
- 300 g Baladi Cheese
- 3 tbsp parsley,, finely diced
- 2 tbsp black sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp dried mint flakes
- 1 tsp olive oil,, optional
- 1 egg lightly beaten,, optional
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds,, optional
- Combine the flour, salt, sugar, milk powder and instant yeast in a large bowl.
- Make a well in the centre and add 1 cup water and oil. Combine, adding more water until a slightly sticky dough comes together. Usually 1 ½ cups are enough.
- Knead with a dough hook (or by hand) until the dough is smooth, soft and elastic. About 7 minutes.
- Oil lightly and allow to rise, covered, for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile make the filling by finely dicing the Baladi cheese (or grate it if you prefer).Add to it the parsley, black sesame, dried mint flakes, and oil if using. Set aside.
- Split the dough into 12 equal segments. Roll into a ball and flatten slightly.
- Place a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture in the centre and pinch dough together to form a ball. Roll between your palms to smooth out the surface. Repeat for remaining dough.
- Arrange stuffed buns in a greased baking tray, about a centimetre (1/2 inch) apart.Brush buns with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.Allow to rise a second time, covered, for another 30 mins.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (180°C / 350°F fan). Bake buns on the middle rack until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Note: bake for an extra few minutes if using ceramic/glass bakeware.Serve warm.