These super soft and cheesy rolls are the brainchild of famed breadmaker Peter Reinhart. They are perfect as a dinner accompaniment or as an appetizer. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce for a pizza-like treat!
Last month, we got snowed in one weekend. The weather forecasters predicted some snow, and they actually got it right this time. We got about 6 inches of snow, and it was enough to keep us off the roads for a day.
My husband and I spent some time shoveling the driveway and part of the street in front of our mailbox. Addie decided to play in the snow but got tired of it about 10 minutes in and disappeared inside. We later found her snuggled up in a blanket and reading a book.
Once the driveway was clear, we headed inside and I got bored. I decided to try my hand at one of Peter Reinhart’s recipes since I had the time. If you aren’t familiar with Peter, he is famous for his breads and authored a book called The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It’s pretty much the bread-baking bible. Well, he published a second book called Artisan Breads Every Day that I checked out from the library.
My first attempt at creating the dough was a fail. I had some leftover melted butter sitting on the counter that I went to warm up in the microwave. I failed to cover the bowl so my butter exploded all over the inside of the microwave. Then, I failed to replace the lost butter with another fat so my dough turned out dry and thick. I was able to revive it by adding more oil and kneading it with my dough hook in my stand mixer, but I definitely had my doubts there.
Addie and I loved these soft cheese rolls and had them as our afternoon snack. We even added some marinara to the side to use as a dip and she exclaimed that they tasted like pizza. I halved the recipe below and got 12 rolls (cinnamon-roll sized). You can also bake the dough in a standard loaf pan (using the recipe below, you’ll have about 2 loaves) or shape them into freestanding loaves.
I prepped the rolls and baked them the same day. There’s an option below for baking another day if you like. Just make sure you thoroughly read the instructions below before you proceed.
Soft cheese rolls
- 6 and 1/4 cups (28 ounces/794 grams) unbleached bread flour
- 2 teaspoons (0.5 ounces/14 grams) salt (or 1 Tablespoon coarse kosher salt)
- 5 Tablespoons (2.25 ounces/64 grams) granulated or brown sugar (or 3 and 1/2 Tablespoons honey or agave nectar)
- 1 cup (8 ounces/227 grams) lukewarm water or beer (about 95 degrees F or 35 degrees C)
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons (9 ounces/255 grams) lukewarm buttermilk or milk of choice (about 95 degrees F or 35 degrees C)
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons (0.5 ounces/14 grams) instant yeast
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces/56.5 grams) melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil
- 1 and 3/4 cups (7 ounces/198 grams) diced onion (or 1 small bunch of fresh chives, minced)
- 2 and 1/2 cups (12 ounces/340 grams) granted, shredded or cubed cheese
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar together (if you are using honey or agave, dissolve it in the lukewarm water). In a separate small bowl, mix together the water and buttermilk. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it become frothy, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the yeast mixture and melted butter into the large bowl and mix with the paddle attachment on low speed for 2 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
- Switch to the dough hook attachment and mix on medium low speed for about 3 minutes. Add more flour or water as needed. The dough should be smooth and tacky but not sticky. Add the onions and continue to mix on low speed until well incorporated.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 1-2 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, seam side down and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rest for at least 90 minutes. You can also cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Just make sure you allow it to rest for at least 2 hours so it comes up to room temperature before moving on to the next step.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and place on a lightly floured working surface. Roll one of the pieces out into a rectangle, about 8"x12". Sprinkle half of the cheese on top of the dough and roll the dough up, jelly-roll style.
- Cut the dough (I used a bench scraper) into 12 equal pieces. Generously grease a round or square baking pan and place 6 pieces of dough, cut side up, into each pan. Make sure there is at least 1 and 1/2 inches in between each piece of dough. Spray or brush the top of the rolls with oil and cover with plastic wrap. If desired, top with additional shredded cheese. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Allow the rolls to rest and rise for about 90 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the rolls for 10 minutes. Then rotate the pans and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
- Remove the pans from the oven and allow them to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.