Cheese rolls take me right back to high school, when the best cheese rolls came in a white plastic bag from the school canteen. There was a trick to eating Jerrie’s cheese rolls––you simply kept the entire cheese roll in that white plastic bag it came in, carefully taking little bites, until all that flaky cheesy goodness was gone. This was the only way to avoid getting pastry flakes all over your hands and school uniform.
Now I make my own flaky and equally delicious cheese rolls. My son always asks for a bowl to catch the flakes, then at the end he empties the bowl into his mouth because as he puts it, he doesn’t want to waste any of it.
Sometimes when I am making cheese rolls, some of the cheese escapes onto the pan and can be a bit messy. If that happens to you, don’t fret there will still be enough cheese left inside for the cheese roll to retain its flavor.
Now for the recipe.
I used to make my pastry dough by hand, but recently I’ve been making it in the food processor and it is so much quicker. If you want to see how to do it without a food processor, click HERE. To make dough in the food processor, I made it in two batches. I added half of the flour, vegetable shortening and butter to the food processor and pulsed it until the mixture looked like breadcrumbs (pictured above). Then, I added 1/4 cup of ice cold water (I add ice and water to a cup and then take a 1/4 cup of water from that). I turned the mixture onto a floured surface and pressed it together to form a ball. Next, I placed the ball of dough in a ziplock bag and left it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. I repeated these steps to make 1 lb of pastry dough.
While the dough chilled, I made this pretty simple cheese spread. I cut the cheese into cubes, then added the cheese, mustard, butter and pepper to the food processor and processed until it was a smooth paste.
When I was ready to start making the cheese roll. I removed the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit for 10 minutes before I started working it, I find that it is easier to work with when I do this. Then I placed the dough on a well floured surface, cut it into 4 pieces and then began to roll the first piece out until it is about 1/8 inch thick. You will need to flour your rolling pin as well as the top of the dough to ensure that it is not sticking. When you are rolling pastry dough, you should try to push the dough in one direction. A back and fort rolling motion with make the dough lose some of the flakiness.
Now for the cheese rolls. I used a cookie scooper for the spread but you can use a tablespoon. I added one scoop of cheese spread (about 2 tablespoons) to each rolled out pastry dough. I then cut the rolled out dough into a rectangle (as shown above). I brushed the edges with room temperature water and then I sealed the edges to form a flat roll. When I rolled the first bit of dough to cover the cheese I brushed water on top of that dough, then pressed the other side firmly on top to seal in to cheese spread. Finally I used a fork to seal the end of the cheese rolls. I repeated these steps until all the rolls were made. I made 9 cheese rolls, because I pressed all the excess dough together at the end to make a hotdog cheese roll combination for my 5 year old!
Finally, I poked some holes in the top of the cheese rolls with a fork, to release trapped air during the baking process. I then brushed the top of the cheese roll with a beaten egg yolk. I baked these beauties in the oven at 350 °F for 20 minutes. Let cool before serving as the cheesy center can be quite hot!
- For the pastry dough
- 4 cups flour
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup ice cold water
- For the filling
- 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 wiri wiri pepper (seeds and veins removed)
- Some water and a brush (for sealing the edges of the cheese rolls)
- 2 beaten egg yolks
- For the Pastry (make in two batches so that it is easier to work with)
- Combine 2 cups of flour, ½ cup of vegetable shortening and ¼ cup of butter to a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.
- Add mixture to a mixing bowl
- Add ¼ cup of ice cold water and mix together by pressing the flour together to form a dough ball. Do not knead the dough as this will remove the flaky texture.
- Place in a ziplock bag and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Repeat steps 1-5 to make the second dough ball.
- For the filling
- Cut the cheese into cubes and add to a food processor along with the butter, mustard and pepper.
- Process until it forms a smooth paste.
- Making the cheese rolls
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Remove pastry dough from the refrigerator and let sit for 10-15 minutes before you are ready to make the cheese rolls.
- Cut each dough balls into 4 pieces each.
- Roll each piece out until it is about ⅛ inch thick.
- Add about 2 tablespoons of cheese mixture to the center of the rolled out piece of dough, then spread it out with a knife.
- Brush perimeter of the rolled out dough with some room temperature water.
- Cut the edges of the rolled out dough to form a rectangle.
- Fold the dough to make a roll, brushing the edges with water to seal in the cheese filling.
- Using a fork seal the ends of the cheese roll and then pierce the top.
- Brush the cheese roll with a beaten egg yolk.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 350°F, then remove and let cool before serving.
2. Do not knead the dough the way you would when making bread, just press it together with your hands to make a ball.
3. I used an aged cheddar and find that the sharper the cheese, the better the cheese roll tastes.
4. This recipe makes a very flaky cheese roll. Some of the rolls may not be pretty, but I've never met an ugly flaky cheese roll that wasn't delicious.
5. I add pepper to my cheese for the flavor. Removing the veins and the seeds removes the heat of the pepper. For a spicier cheese roll I've also added pepper sauce in the past. Do what works for you!