These yummy little bundles of bread filled with cheese are found in neighborhood bakeries throughout Saudi Arabia. I have never seen them in Syria so I am not sure of their origin.
A basic dough is put together, left to rest for 60 minutes and then small pieces of dough are flattened, filled with cheese and rolled into a ball shape. We added a little twist to tradition and put feta cheese in the middle of some balls instead of cream cheese. You can chose which cheese you prefer. The balls are sprinkled with sesame seeds, baked to golden perfection and finally topped with a light warm syrup.
Ingredients for roll dough
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 package dry yeast dissolved in 3/4 cup warm water with 1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
(3/4 cups water for dissolving yeast)
1 Tbs. baking powder
3 Tbs. sesame seeds for sprinkling on top of rolls
Filling for inside of rolls
1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
1/2 cup feta cheese
Ingredients for syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Mix roll ingredients by hand or in a mixer with a dough hook, knead, cover and let raise for 1 1/2 hours
When the dough is ready, preheat oven to 350 degrees
We use a round cake pan and it has worked well for the amount of dough and the desired shape. Grease pan.
Pinch off pieces of dough and flatten in hand, place a spoon of feta or cream cheese in the middle, roll up into a ball making sure they are well sealed. Put each ball seam side down (if there is a seam or bunched up area) in the cake pan leaving a little space in between each one.
Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and put in the oven. Bake approximately 30 minutes until bread is done and brown on top.
While rolls are baking make syrup. Place water and sugar in small sauce pan and let this mixture come to a boil, turn it down but keep it on a low simmer/boil. Watch this mixture carefully because it can cause a huge mess if it is left for too long or it can become too hard to use. After ten minutes remove from heat. Try to time the baking of the rolls and making the syrup so that the syrup is still warm when the rolls are done.
When the rolls are removed from the oven, pour prepared syrup over the top, allowing to soak in.
Rolls will be hot so be careful!