I cannot believe that I have been mulling over this post for nearly two weeks. My 'Edit Post' page has been open the tab crying out attention and the final publish poke. Desynchronosis had me either sleeping or awake in sluggish defeat. Every time my brother visited us from the US, I would snort and disapprove of him whiling away daylight sleeping. Having returned from his graduation (woohoo!) and a ten day holiday in the USA, I finally understood his habits. I am an out and out morning person. The week we returned had me wide awake at 3 in the night, distraught that I couldn't catch sleep. I am pacifying myself and branding Jet lag as the reason behind the recent bout of blog negligence.
For a change, instead of the usual cake or brownies, my oven was made to bake bread. I placed myself in discomfort with thoughts of all that could go wrong baking bread. Faulty kneading with hands and unrisen dough were on top of my head. If I did find success in that then unleavened bread surface, burnt bottom and tough, dry and nasty bread. On a positive note, what can be more gratifying than the smell of freshly made bread baking in the oven? I consider that to be the reward of the patience it draws from me to make bread.
So what is Halloumi? It is a cheese native to Cyprus made from a mixture of goat, sheep and sometimes cows' milk. The beauty of Halloumi is that you can fry or grill the cheese and it will hold itself because of its high melting point. The flavor is a little saltier than mozzarella and has a chewy texture not many people enjoy. I love pan frying Halloumi sticks along with thinly slivered garlic till crisp and brown. The Halloumi picks up on the garlic flavor and along with mint sauce makes a great wrap option.
So what is this bread? Consider them airy pockets of mildy sweet, soft bread filled with garlicky infused Halloumi and fresh parsley. This bread recipe is amongst the simplest I have come across. Unless you have a certain aid in the kitchen you will need to put in some muscle power to knead the bread. As in most bread recipes, having yeast as an ingredient means it will need time to rest. I replaced all-purpose flour with stone-milled Whole Wheat flour to ease off the guilt of indulging in fiber and nutritionally empty bread.
I found this recipe on the website Choosy Beggars. Tina has blogged about this recipe and you have to visit the blog for an excellent step by step process of how to make these nuggets of perfection. Don't let it overwhelm you. If I had the patience to read and follow the instructions, then you'll surely have no trouble at all. The recipe for the bread is from Umma. She completely replaced all-purpose flour and has been making mini pizzas and cheese rolls with whole wheat flour for a while now.
Each bite was a flavor party in my mouth. Garlic infused Halloumi or was it Halloumi infused garlic? I relished the sharp taste of parsley. For some heat and flavor, I sprinkled red chilli flakes and sea salt crystals. Exactly why these puffy cushions of bread are perfect on their own or maybe with sweet chai. I made them to accompany a Spaghetti Meatball dinner night and skipped the pasta and mopped up sauce with this heavenly bread.
Here is the link to the recipe.
Halloumi Garlic Whole Wheat Bread Rolls
Makes 16 rolls
For the Bread
- Whole Wheat Flour - 2 cups
- Baking Powder - 1/2 tsp
- Active dry yeast - 1 tsp dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water for 5-10 minutes
- 1 Large Egg
- Sugar - 3 tsp
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 3 Tbsp
- Butter - 2 Tbsp melted
- Milk - 1/4 cup at room temperature
- Hot water - to knead
- In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix well.
- Pour melted butter, oil, egg and milk and fold into the dry ingredients.
- Stir in the yeast mixture and use enough hot water to form a dough.
- If the mixture is too watery, add whole wheat flour, 1 tbsp at a time, till it forms a smooth dough.
- Knead the dough from 7 to 10 minutes forming a single ball.
- Once the dough is formed, add a little oil in the bowl and coat the dough entirely in oil.
- Cover with bowl with a tea towel and let it rest and rise for at least an hour.
A word of caution: Don't expect the wholewheat flour dough to rise as much as regular flour would. It will rise beautifully in the oven.
- 5 oz Halloumi cheese
- 5 oz Mozzarella cheese
- Garlic cloves - 3
- Parsley - 1/2 cup
- Shred the mozzarella and crumble the Halloumi.
- Combine the cheeses together.
- Grate the garlic cloves and mix it into the cheeses.
- Finely mince the parsley and add this to the cheese mixture.
- Use your fingers to work the parsley and garlic through the cheese, making sure that everything is well dispersed .
- To form the rolls, start by pinching off a small ball of dough by squeezing it between your thumb and index finger.
- Spread the dough by hand or roll it out into a small circle, about 3.5 inches in diameter. [I used the palm of my hand as a measure].
- Dollop a generous tablespoon or so of the cheese mixture onto the center of each one.
- Gather up the sides of your dough circle, and pinch the top together to make a ball.
- Flip the roll over so that the seam side is on the palm of your hand. With your other hand, press and turn the ball, gently stroking downwards to stretch the skin of the dough into a smoothly skinned taut mass.
- Holding on to the base (where the seam was), dip the top (flat rounded part) of the dough ball in a little bit of olive oil.
- Place the dough balls seam side down in an 8x8 square baking pan. The balls should be close together or touching, but not pressed up tightly. Cover the tray with a tea towel and leave it to rise again, for 45 minutes to an hour, in a warm and draught free place.
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.
- If there is leftover cheese mixture, before you put the rolls in the oven, sprinkle the mixture generously on top.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
- The bread rolls are ready when the top is puffed and golden brown.
- Allow the bread cool for at least a half hour before you start to pull it apart.