Cheddar and Zatar soft rolls

Today is a glorious day to talk about gluten!! I am starting the bread section off with something fairly simple. It does not require a lot of kneading on your part. A stand mixer with a dough hook is vital. If you do not own these two, get ready to knead with your hand. You will also need a weighing scale for the ingredients.

Gluten is glorious (I should get a hoodie with that written on it). Why you ask. Well, gluten is what turns your bread from average to extraordinary. It is basically a component made of protein bonds. It gives volume and structure to your bread. 

I also want to talk about yeast. Most boulangers use fresh yeast. It looks like stale cheese. My recipes will try to stick to instant dry yeast as that is more easily acquirable by a home baker. Yeast and salt should never be mixed together, or even touching, when you start to knead your dough. Salt has the ability to kill the yeast- which means, your dough does not even stand a chance to proof. 

The soft rolls are made by a method called "straight dough". Straight dough method means that all the ingredients will go in together. Again, remember, do not add yeast and salt together. 


  • 1 lb water
  • 0.55 oz instant dry yeast
  • 28 oz Bread Flour
  • 0.25 oz salt
  • 2.67 oz sugar
  • 1.3 oz non fat milk solids
  • 1.3 oz shortening
  • 1.3 oz butter
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp zatar (you can add more if you like a stronger flavour of zatar. The final roll will only have a hint of zatar in each roll)

The water should be lukewarm to touch. In the mixing bowl, add yeast and water and let it sit for a minute. Then add flour, sugar, milk solids, shortening and butter (cubed), cheddar, zatar, and finally sprinkle salt over it. Start your mixer on the stir option. Once the dough is all mixed in, bump up the speed to low speed for 2 minutes. Then bump up the speed to whatever is considered "Medium" speed on your stand mixer for 12 minutes. Remove the dough after 12 minutes from the mixer to a floured surface. Knead and fold the dough for a minute and then do the gluten test.

If the dough bounces back, it is ready for resting. In an large oiled bowl, place the dough ball and cover with saran wrap. Let it proof for 1.5 hours. 

Proofed dough should almost double in size. Now create tiny round dough balls of 3 oz each. I oiled a large 12-14 inch pan and spaced out the 3 oz dough balls. Egg wash the dough balls and wrap it with saran wrap. Time for a second proof. This should not take more than 30 minutes. You will know it is ready when there is no space between the proofed rolls. 


Preheat the oven to 400 F. Do a second egg wash and add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese on each roll. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on the rolls. If you think they are getting too dark on the surface and have not cooked entirely, then place a parchment paper on top. 


Once baked, let it cool before you devour it.