Introduction: Cheese Pinwheels

About: My current kicks are growing plants and baking bread.
Nothing completes a meal like a good dinner roll; something to sop up extra sauce and just generally taste good. These pinwheels are like savory cinnamon rolls complete with cheese and spices. Also without cinnamon. They're about as easy to make as a pizza and can contain just about anything you can safely bake. This recipe calls for garlic, cheese and basil. These pinwheels would be great with pasta dishes.

Makes : 10-12 pinwheel rolls.

Prep time : 2 hours (including time to rise).

Ingredients :

3 cups bread flour
1 cup warm (about 110F) water
1 packet dry active yeast
1-2 tbsp honey
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Basil, parsley, chives or other herbs (to taste)
1/2 cup each shredded Parmesan and cheddar cheeses
1 tbsp garlic powder or a couple of fresh cloves, minced

Step 1: Mixing the Dough

Begin by pouring a cup of warm water into a mixing bowl and adding the yeast slowly to avoid clumps, then adding the honey to it. After a couple of minutes the yeast will begin to multiply and foam a bit. That means it's working. If the water is too hot or cold or if the yeast is no good, it won't begin to multiply. Keep in mind that this recipe calls for dry active yeast, not self/rapid rise or fresh yeast. Both of them could be used just fine, but keep in mind that the recipe will change in turn.

Once the yeast is going, add the oil, salt and any extra spices you want in the dough. Garlic in particular is good. All of the spices are to taste, but a tablespoon or so is probably enough. Keep in mind you can also add some later.

Once the spices and all are stirred in, measure out two cups of bread flour and add them to the bowl. Once again, keep in mind that this recipe calls for bread flour and not AP flour. AP and bread flour require very different amounts of fluid, so the recipe will not translate well.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour into the fluid. Scrape along the sides and the bottom of the bowl with the spatula and fold it in. After the two cups are incorporated a rough but very sticky ball should be forming in the mixing bowl. Add a little flour at a time and fold it in until the ball is either too tough to fold and stir or is just slightly sticky. At some point it will be tough enough that it will be easier to work by hand. Knead the dough on a clean, well-floured surface until the ball is more-or-less smooth and not sticky.

Step 2: Rising and Rolling

Set the dough aside somewhere about 70-75 degrees to rise for an hour. At that point, turn it out on a well-floured surface and roll it out with a rolling pin. Go for a rectangle a couple millimeters thick. At this point it is basically a pizza dough. (In fact, this dough would probably make a pretty good pizza.)

Be sure that there is enough flour under the dough not to stick. If you are feeling super slick, try tossing it. Once the dough is flat enough, lightly brush it with olive oil and sprinkle it with enough spices to cover the dough. Do the same with cheese and anything else that is going to be added. Fresh herbs such as basil are great.

Roll the dough into a log as tightly as possible. Be sure to press the edge of the dough into the roll so it does not roll out and place it seam-down.

Step 3: Slice and Baking

Once the log is rolled, use a very sharp knife to slide the log into rounds about a inch thick or less. Once again, depending on personal taste. Keep in mind that the rolls will expand later. 3/4 an inch is probably fine. Place the rolls in a 9" x 13"  cake pan that has been lightly oiled. Cover them with a plastic sheet and let rise again while pre-heating the oven to 375 degrees. Once the oven is to temp bake the rolls for 20 minutes, turning them once about half way through. They should come out lightly browned with the cheese melted on the top and soft to the touch.

Eat the rolls warm, using them to sop up any extra sauce or just dipping them. Marinara is particularly good. Remember that the filling in this recipe can be changed to fit the meal. Enjoy.
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