Sunday Rolling

Apple Leek Feta Brioche Rolls

I was going to start this post off by apologizing for being gone for so long after that last intense entry, but in the spirit of going easy on myself (which I gather is important during pregnancy and first-time motherhood), I think I’ll bite my tongue. And who wants to hear excuses anyways? Not me. Probably not you. So let’s just agree that it’s nice to be back in this space, take a deep breath and start back at it.

I haven’t had a lot of time in the kitchen these days as work has been busy and I’ve been taking on a lot more freelance work than normal, but a gloriously slow Sunday dropped into my lap last week and I decided to take advantage by pulling the little jar of yeast and the giant sack of flour from the cupboard and seeing what happened. I started off with two batches of brioche dough, kneaded it until supple and springy and as it rest, I decided what it’s fate would be in a god-like fashion. The first batch, destined for a side project I work on with some other terribly talented Canadians (BAKED – the blog) would be rolled out, stuffed with a vanilla bean and hazelnut filling and rolled up into a loaf of babka. You can find that recipe here. The second one took a decidedly more savory approach. I had some beautiful apples and a fresh batch of feta from a local fromagerie in Quebec that I thought would be lovely in the rich and eggy dough. Add in some leeks and you’ve got a batch of these insanely delicious rolls. I was thrilled with them and am anxious to start playing with more savory brioche stuffed breads. I thought a spicy eggplant babka would be interesting and delicious…but I’ll report back on that one when it happens….or if I remember to ever make it. Memory isn’t my strong point these days, it seems.

Apple Leek Feta Brioche Rolls

Apple Leek & Feta Brioche Rolls
makes 12-15 rolls

Brioche Dough
1/3 cup warm milk
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
2  cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing on top
1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tbsp olive oil or butter
2 medium apples (gala/honey crisp), diced small
2 leeks (light green/white parts only) sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1/3-1/2 cup feta cheese

In a small bowl, stir together the milk, yeast and sugar. Let sit 5-10 minutes until frothy and fragrant.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Pour in the yeast/milk mixture and stir to form a craggy, dry dough. Add in the egg and stir. Add the butter, a little at a time, and start folding the dough together with your {clean} hands in the bowl. Once a moist dough has formed, dump onto a very lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Form into a ball and place in a clean, lightly oiled bowl in a warm, draft-free spot until double in size, 1-2 hours.

While the dough rises you can start the filling. Heat olive oil (or butter) in a pan over medium heat. Add in the apples and leeks and cook until they’re starting to turn golden brown and caramelize, around 8-10 minutes. Add in the garlic along with salt and pepper to taste and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Let cool completely. Stir in crumbled feta, reserving a little bit to top the rolls.

Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, pressing gently to remove any air. Roll into a 1’4″ thick rectangle. When filling has cooled, spread over the dough leaving 1’2″ around the edges clear. Roll up, starting from the long end, tucking it as you go so it’s nice and tight. If you feel it’s too soft to slice properly, pop it in the fridge/freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm up. Using a sharp serrated blade to cut rolls into 1″ discs. Lightly oil or line two 9″ square baking or pie dishes and place rolls in them. Let rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350.  Once they’ve done their final rise, brush them with melted butter or oil and sprinkle with remaining feta and fresh ground pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked-through.  Let cool for 10-15 minutes, and enjoy!

Apple Leek Feta Brioche Rolls