Cheese-stuffed bread sticks: testing techniques, tasty results

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Man, nothin’ says fun like cheese and bread.

Seriously. There is nothing solemn about a bubbling pot of fondue and chunks of bread. In fact, the kissing game is such an integral part of consuming fondue, it just can’t be dull if you tried.

You know, the kissing game, right? If you drop your bread into the cheese, you need to kiss the person on your left before fishing it out. Choose your seats wisely!

Have you ever seen a kid on a snow day contemplating a grilled cheese sandwich? It surely isn’t the same sideways glance and suspicious squint that might accompany, say, spelling homework or lima beans. It’s almost another action figure to add to the mix. Mighty Stretch! Lava Cheese! If you happen to have a bowl of soup, you can guarantee shark fins and rafts will appear in short order.

I’ve been wanting to make cheese sticks and/or cheese-stuffed pizza crust for awhile now. Little did I know it was going to take batch after batch to get things just so. It’s just crust and cheese, right?

The bread wasn’t an issue. I just whipped up a batch of my favorite pizza dough – soft enough to stretch for wrapping, but sturdy enough to hold the cheese securely inside.

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Here’s what I tried first. I cut my dough into 3 pieces, and divided each piece into 8 strips.

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Each strip was filled with a chunk of American cheese about 4″ long and 1/2″ high, cut from a deli block of cheese. Roll, pinch to seal, and bake at 350°F.

Results? Hollow logs of bread. The cheese had totally melted away into the dough.

Next up, I ditched the American cheese and swapped in mozzarella cheese sticks. They’re pre-made to the right size, and they’re sturdier than American cheese.

Much better! Lots of melted cheese. Unfortunately, most of it was all over the baking sheet. :( Thank goodness I use parchment paper on my pans.

Apparently my little strips of bread dough weren’t holding their seal as they baked. Sticking with our three strikes rule for testing recipes, I tried one more time.

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This time I tried patting out a longer strip of dough, about 4″ wide and 6″ long. I wet the entire surface with a little water and rubbed it a bit to make it sticky to the touch. Place the cheese stick at the top end and roll like a jelly roll down to the bottom end.

Did you notice I changed cheeses? I liked the American just fine, but I wanted the chewiness of mozzarella this time around.

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Another bit of water on the end of the dough, and press to seal.

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You can see that the cheese is ensconced in a deeper (thicker?) layer of dough now.

A 30 minute rise is just about right for these sticks. Remember, you’re looking for full and puffy, but not thin or webby looking on top. If it starts to look see-through on top, get the sticks into the oven ASAP.

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I also thought the baking temperature a bit too low. This was giving the cheese too much chance to melt as the bread baked. So I upped the temperature to 425°F, preheating the oven while the bread was rising. Bake 20 to 25 minutes .

And the result?

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Happy, puffy cheese sticks with NO burst seams. Wa-hoo!

But, what about the cheese?

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Perfection! Soft and melted, but not dissipated. The bottom of the bread stick is a little doughy from melted cheese, and delightfully chewy. I ate one stick right off the bat, just as is. The next one I dipped in steak sauce, and it was outstanding.

After the sticks cooled completely, I sliced them into rounds for fun. A ring of bread, a ring of cheese, and a little bit of a hole, perfect for stuffing with a slice of salami. At last, I could call it a success.

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So, for the rundown on this final version (remember, there’s no printable version, just this little paragraph):

Make long strips of dough approximately 4″ x 6″. Brush them with water, and roll rather than fold. Seal well. Let rise for approximately 30 minutes, until puffy.  Bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes to ensure good puff, melted cheese, and soft, tender bread. 

And there you have it: my version of stuffed bread sticks. Do I think it would work with any pizza dough? Pretty much.

Any cheese? Well, stick with the firmer cheeses, but feel free to experiment. I can’t wait to hear about it!

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. Dee

    This looks amazing, and wish I could have a snow day from work to make these! Do you think they would work with whole wheat flour?

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      I think they’d be fine if you used a whole wheat crust. It’s the rolling and sealing that made the biggest difference in the outcome. ~ MJ

    2. Annmarie Boyle

      Speakin of snow days ….we have one Im going to try these …my girls thought they looked yummy !

      good for school lunch….. Yum….Love King Arthur Flour

    3. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      These are a great change from regular grilled cheese, especially with a side of tomato soup. Stay warm today! ~ MJ

    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      They bake for about 20 minutes. It will depend a bit on the size of the roll but it should be in that general area. ~ MJ

  2. "Mandi F."

    If you add some pepperoni, you’ll basically have West Virginia’s state food: the pepperoni roll. Seriously, give it a try. So worth it. All that bread dough gets coated with tasty pepperoni oil as it cooks and man is it amazing. Makes me miss home.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      *swoon* My goodness, that sounds amazing. Off to the freezer to check on my pepperoni stash. ~ MJ

    2. Cindy Blankenship

      Lol. I grew up in West Virginia and pepperoni cheese rolls were my favorite school lunch. I’ve made my own version and you’re right…..they are so yummy.

    3. PJ Hamel

      Cindy, I have a friend from West Virginia who taught me how to make pepperoni rolls – nothing could be simpler – or more delicious! :) PJH

  3. Lolli Goewey

    I have found that whenever I cook with cheese, stuffing bread or chicken, etc., if you cut the cheese to size and then freeze it, it won’t melt out of your dish. Even when I make baked cheese stuffed chicken breasts, the cheese does not melt out of the chicken.

    Reply
  4. sewingal2001

    need to re stock…I’m checking will order soon meijers, have some ka I ‘m happy about that.want to try 00 italian flour for pasta &pizza.thanks .

    Reply
  5. Me who

    Ya I have used this idea many times leave long add meat cheeze or get
    Rid of the left over bacon in our kitchen and cut foot long and they sell quick. I wish the company I work for would change flours and a few other things because king aurther is the best but we must do as the master says.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Sorry, I got stumped at “leftover bacon”. Does that really exist? (just teasin’) ~ MJ

  6. Margy

    How about adding some prosciutto? Our local Italian market makes a prosciutto bread that’s to die for. I’ve attempted it at home and come pretty close (never had any complaints), but it makes a big ring loaf, too much for one or two people. I like this recipe for individual rolls…dipped in homemade marinara…heaven in a bun! Plus you can eat them hot from the oven without worrying about squishing a hot loaf when you slice it (sorry, cannot resist that first slice hot from the oven!).

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      I had thought about salami, but not prosciutto. Now I’m thinking hot cappocola? Served with over easy eggs, or fritatta? ~ MJ

  7. Anneedelweiss

    Already I see this ‘roll and seal’ technique can be used for other stuffed yeast rolls – for example, piroshki, one of my favorite snacks. And how about a filling of chocolate sticks?

    Just curious, did you get to bake that roll that’s slit in the middle revealing the cheese? I think I might prefer that version because the roll would have more crust and the cheese would have taken on some color.

    Since I make pizza dough every week, I definitely will try this. I need to experiment with different kinds of cheese and see how they melt under heat. MJ, thanks so much for another good idea.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      This would work great for chocolate stuffed rolls. I just might make a batch of those today if my DD hasn’t absconded with my chocolate sticks.
      I didn’t actually bake the slit roll, but I can see what you mean. Some of the test batches that had cheese oozing out had folks wondering about stuffing them with hot dogs or chili. I think if you could prop the roll up so that it baked upright and the cheese stayed in, it would open up worlds of possibility.

      Thanks for the ideas, you’ve really got me thinking this morning. (Don’t worry, I’ve already had coffee, so thinking isn’t dangerous to me ;)) ~ MJ

  8. Anneedelweiss

    A chili dog enclosed in its own roll sounds real good to me. No dripping on the floor or sofa while eating and watching movies or the telly! And of course it’s good for ‘to go’.

    I heard it’s cold and snowy in VT and other parts at the East Coast. Be sure to keep warm and dry and stay safe. Thank goodness we know the remaining days of winter have already been numbered – and getting fewer and fewer as we carry on.

    Reply
  9. Rachel

    How many rolls did you end up with? At the beginning you divided the dough into 24 pieces. I am not sure if you rolled the pieces thinner to wrap more times or divided the dough into fewer pieces

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      That is a wonderful recipe also, HMB. Cheese is just the best, isn’t it? Elisabeth@KAF

  10. Erin @ Texanerin Baking

    How has nobody commented on that awesome table?! It has moose painted on it! :D

    And these look amazing. I LOVE my sweets but nothing beats carbs and cheese. Nothing!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I do not know if they have, Erin. Pretty cool, though. We hope you will try this recipe! Elisabeth@KAF

  11. Elise

    Love the way these look. I’m going to try the pepperoni suggestion and brush the tops with a little garlic powder and grating cheese. I do the cheese sticks and pepperoni in egg roll wrappers as an appetizer all the time and deep fry them. This is the perfect accompaniment to a great pasta dinner. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Robert Platanitis

      What also works well is brush a little melted butter on them after they proof and in a small bowl combine a little garlic powder with graded parm/romano along with some italian seasoning (adjust to taste) and sprinkle on top of the cheese sticks. Enjoy!

    2. PJ Hamel

      Oh, my, Robert – that sounds decadent! Like garlic knots without the knot, eh? Thanks for sharing – PJH

  12. Cindy

    I make something like this on a larger scale. I roll out the whole dough like a pizza and then make them with one of the following fillings: lunch meat and cheese, scrambled eggs on top of baked ham slices (this is great for breakfast), or chopped spinach with garlic and sliced black olives. The results are delicious and don’t stay around long.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I have been told by my colleague that you can use eTools which is used by Weight Watchers for a calculation. We also recommend going to recipes.sparkpeople.com Good luck and enjoy this recipe! Elisabeth@KAF

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