When I worked (and lived and breathed) in fashion, I was very concerned with trends. Not in a superficial, “I couldn’t possibly wear that skirt, it’s so last season” way, but in a more theoretical one. Where they came from, how they grew, where they were going. Want to know what you’ll be wearing in a few years? Go stake out a university or college with a fashion program and spend some time student-watching. Rarely will you find a group of people so immersed in the culture of style, so tuned into the times. Believe me- we were doing Granny Chic back when Mary-Kate Olsen was still synonymous with Michelle Tanner.
Though I’ve left the fashion world behind, it’s comforting to know that my new community moves in the same trend-driven way. Us food bloggers have pretty tuned into the Zeitgeist ourselves and tend to cotton on to certain ideas at the same time as each other. When I started Kitchenist last Spring, bloggers were all making no-knead bread or those New York Times-approved chocolate chip cookies. Come summer, it seemed like everyone with an oven and a blog was harping on about galettes or homemade marshmallows. (Hmm- maybe it’s just baking that’s so trend-focused?)
The longer I do this blogging thing, the better I get at recognising these trends in their infancy. My bet for the coming months? Pull-apart bread. I started noticing this delicious and fun treat at the beginning of the year- there are sweet versions, savoury versions, even dinner roll versions. Sure, they go against everything your mother told you about playing with your food, but when the result is this yummy, who cares?
I was particularly taken by these olive oil fantail rolls from The Kitchn; the shape is so pretty, and the description as “flaky and brioche-like” got me right where I live. Loving stuffed bread as I do, I decided to make mine a filled version. A Greek-style mix of feta cheese, red onion, basil and sundried tomatoes made this dinner rolls very substantial, only requiring a side salad to make a meal.
I did simplify the recipe slightly, layering only four pieces of dough instead of the called-for 12(!). The filling makes these slightly more delicate than a normal roll, and safe is generally better than sorry. But still, these are beautiful and impressive and all kinds of addictive. And as the British would say, they’re also “bang on trend”.
Feta Fantail Rolls
adapted from The Kitchn
For the dough:
- 3 1/2 cups plain flour
- 2 tsp. instant yeast
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/4 cup warm water
For the filling:
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped basil
- 1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes (the kind packed in oil)
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. chili flakes
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- To make the dough, whisk all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl (or a stand mixer). Combine the yogurt and olive oil in a small bowl then mix into the dry ingredients; add the water bit by bit until everything comes together into a shaggy dough (you may not need all of the water).
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 1 1/2 hours. The dough should double in size.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Also, prepare a 12-cup muffin tin by oiling well with olive oil (unless it is silicone).
- When the dough has risen, punch it down and knead for a minute or two on a well-floured surface. Divide into two equal halves; set one aside while you work with the first. Roll the dough into a large rectangle, roughly 14 by 20 inches. Using a sharp knife, cut the rectangle in quarters, so you end up with 4 rectangular-shaped pieces. Spread about 1/6 of the filling over one, and carefully top with another piece of dough. Repeat twice, so you have a stack that begins and ends with dough. Cut this stack in half lengthwise and in thirds crosswise, so you end up with 6 equal-sized stacks.
- Carefully place each stack cut-side up in a muffin cup, fanning the layers slightly. Repeat with the other half of the dough and filling until all muffin cups are filled. Cover loosely with a tea towel and allow to rise for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, until puffy.
- Bake the rolls in a preheated 175°C/350°F oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until just turning golden. Allow cooling a little before serving, as the filled rolls fall apart easily if too warm.