Pull-away cheese rolls

August 13, 2011  •  Category:



There is a delightful tradition in the Middle-East called sobhiyeh, (meaning morning), which means a morning get-together. Our neighbors in the Chouf mountains would often invite us to a sobhiyeh (and we would reciprocate) and this would always entail cups of Turkish coffee being served and lots of pastries (savory and sweet) and of course, lots and lots of banter (and gossip). Usually, only women would be present.

May Bsisu in her The Arab Table, refers to this tradition and how she used to be invited to sobhiyeh in Kuwait with other women; how each one would try to outdo the other by producing ย a new and delicious pastry.

Mrs. Bsisu came up with the idea of a pull-away cheese roll for one of her sobhiyeh. Here it is, adapted.


  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar or honey
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1/2 cup of powdered milk
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup of whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup of oil
  • Olive oil, as needed

Cheese Filling ingredients:

  • 1 package of halloumi or akkawi cheese or mozzarella (8 ounces)
  • 1 package of shredded swiss or any cheese of your choice (8 ounces)
  • a few tablespoons of minced herbs such as parsley (optional)
  • a few tablespoons of nigella or sesame seeds


  1. Place the yeast and sugar in a small bowl; stir and add 1/4 cup of warm water; place somewhere warm and let the yeast proof.
  2. Combine the flours, powdered milk and salt in the bowl of a mixer. Add the proofed yeast mixture, the oil, egg, and the rest of the warm water and mix till the dough becomes compact and not too sticky. Roll the dough in oil, cover and place in a warm place for one hour or so till doubled in size.
  3. To desalt the haloumi and akkawi cheese, soak in cool water; rinse after 15 minutes and repeat the process three or four times until the saltiness is gone; dry the cheeses and grate. Mix with the other cheese and the herbs and set aside.
  4. Deflate the dough and shape into ropes; cut each rope into smallish egg-size balls and take each egg and flatten it to enclose one tablespoon of cheese mixture. Fold it well and set aside. Grease a 10 inch pan and place the cheese-filled balls side by side. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with sesame or nigella seeds and let the balls rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Bake in a 400F oven for about 25 minutes until they are pale gold and baked through. Serve warm or at room temperature.


24 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Priyanka says:

    Have added to my Must Try list ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Rosa says:

    Fabulous! Those must be very addictive.



  3. Lyndsey says:

    I would love this savory treat for breakfast. Sounds like a fun gathering, almost like my book club…we’re very social not much reading ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Gula welat says:

    Super l’idรฉe de ces petites boules de fromage. je t’en pique une

  5. Jojo says:

    I’ve never had this so it’s a must try! This looks yummy!

  6. Banana Wonder says:

    These look so so good. I need to get some akkawi cheese – never tried it!

  7. Alicia (Foodycat) says:

    I made something similar to this from Kalofagas’s blog – so delicious! I must try this version.

  8. Chiara says:

    Really lovely recipe ! I must try, thanks for sharing Joumana…

  9. Maria @ Scandifoodie says:

    Just a mentioning of cheese got me drooling ๐Ÿ˜‰ these look wonderful!

  10. Tammy says:

    What a fun girlfriend get together!

  11. T.W. Barritt says:

    This is so lovely, with the extra benefit of cheese, hidden inside. I would love to attend such a gathering!

  12. Belinda @zomppa says:

    I would so easily tear into all of these!

  13. sophia says:

    I literally gasped out, “Oh…my…GOD” when I saw the first picture with the cheese oozing out. You really know how to tantalize people! I would love to tear a few apart with my hands and my mouth…gossiping with Turkish coffee…what a great and wonderful picture!

  14. Devaki says:

    You had me at pull-away bread! And then you had to go stuff it with cheese…I think I just died and went to heaven Joumana ๐Ÿ™‚

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  15. Jeannie says:

    These rolls look so amazing, I would love to try this too! Thanks for showing us how:)

  16. Eve@CheapEthnicEatz says:

    Oh well look who just join the pull away/apart bread band wagon he he. They are fun to make and a cheese filling is a great idea.

  17. Ivy says:

    These cheese rolls are amazing. I have included a similar recipe with minor differences in my cookbook.

  18. Yasmeen says:

    How absolutely wonderful, Joumana! Such a social dish – perfect for popping onto the table and letting everyone dig in.

  19. Murasaki Shikibu says:

    I pity the men who can’t get in on the sobhiyeh. *gloats*

  20. Krista says:

    I love this beautiful tradition, Joumana. ๐Ÿ™‚ I want to start doing that – AND making these delectable rolls. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Tall Clover Farm says:

    Joumana, you just answered my question; what appetizer will I make for a party this weekend. I fear they will be gone in seconds, not much of a problem to have I guess. Thanks! And then on to your pistachio brownies.

  22. Caffettiera says:

    Sounds like a great way to spend a morning.. We should organize a blogging equivalent ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Charles says:

    These look fantastic!!

  24. Beth Michelle says:

    This looks so good and Halloumi is my favorite! I cannot wait to try this.

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