Swirl rolls and I have a special relationship. Our time in the kitchen together is restorative and creative. We dream fluffy dough dreams, cherish the process of rising and rolling, and transform our favorite flavors into carb-wrapped goodness, à la Spinach Goat Cheese Swirl Rolls. Then, I gobble them up immediately. I promise our relationship is healthier than it sounds.
One of the questions I receive most often is, “What’s your favorite thing to bake?” Asking me to answer this question is like asking me to name my all-time top Back Street Boys tune—practically impossible. Under duress, however, I will answer: swirl rolls of all sorts (and “I Want It That Way.”) Nothing makes me quite as giddy in the kitchen as dreaming up all manners of fabulous fillings, wrapping them in carbs, then baking them into fluffy, puffy, golden swirls of glory. They make me a lot of friends, too.
Psst! Want to know what other questions I’m asked all the time? Check out my FAQs!
The swirl rolls I dream up most frequently are of the sweet variety (reference: Chocolate Chai Cinnamon Rolls; Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls; Yukon Gold Cinnamon Rolls), but lately I’ve been feeling that a practice as marvelous as wrapping tasty things in carbs shouldn’t be restricted. Spinach Goat Cheese Swirl Rolls are my first foray into savory swirl roll baking, and I am a believer.
One: goat cheese. Honestly, you could probably spread goat cheese on a sheet of cardboard and—provided you were generous with the spreading—I’d hazard a bite. Whipped herb goat cheese makes for a most lusciously creamy, lightly tangy filling. Spinach Goat Cheese Swirl Rolls are elegant, a lovely characteristic I negated by eating two of them standing over my sink in a bathrobe. I know, I’m classy.
Two: spinach. Fresh green spinach leaves are a bright, healthy, and colorful companion to the goat cheese. Also, the addition kind of spinach leads me to believe these rolls could double as salad, a point of which I reminded myself during the aforementioned bathrobe scene.
Three: fluffy, whole wheat, salt-and-pepper dough. Wrapped around our dreamy spinach and herb goat cheese filling is one of the best, yet simplest swirl-roll doughs I’ve baked to date. It’s half whole wheat, ultra tender, and lets the filling’s flavor shine. It’s also not excessively sticky, so if you don’t have a stand mixer with a dough hook, you can still make these Spinach Goat Cheese Swirl Rolls by hand fairly easily.
One, two, three components equal endless ways to enjoy Spinach Goat Cheese Swirl Rolls. Serve them at a special brunch or beside a bowl of soup for a simple supper. The dough can be made up to three days in advance, and the rolls can be shaped and left to rise overnight before baking in the morning, making Spinach Goat Cheese Swirl Rolls an excellent choice for entertaining. Fresh Spinach Goat Cheese Swirl Rolls for Easter brunch anyone?
Swirl rolls, I love you for life. Spinach Goat Cheese Swirl Rolls, you are my new BFF.
I am in a serious relationship with swirly stuffed carbs. Totally normal.
Spinach Goat Cheese Swirl Rolls
For the Dough:
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour or bread flour
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour, or substitute all purpose or bread flour
- 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten (optional but will make dough more fluffy—omit if using 100% bread flour)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 1/8 teaspoon Red Star Platinum Instant Yeast (1/2 packet)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted, divided
For the Filling:
- 5 ounces goat cheese with herbs softened
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach
- Make the dough: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, combine the all purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, vital wheat gluten (if using), sugar, salt, pepper, and yeast. In a small saucepan or a microwave-safe measuring cup, heat milk to the temperature specified by the yeast manufacturer. (Red Star Platinum Yeast is 120 to 130 degrees F.) Pour heated milk over the flour mixture. Add 2 tablespoons melted butter. Mix on low speed (or by hand with a wooden spoon), until the dough forms a shaggy mass.
- Switch to the mixer’s dough hook or turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead by machine for 6 minutes or by hand for 8 minutes, until smooth. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, then cover with plastic wrap that has been lightly misted with cooking spray or a clean towel. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 2 hours. (Alternatively, you can chill the dough overnight or up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature, then continue as directed.)
- Make the filling: Beat together the goat cheese and salt until smooth. Set aside.
- Form the rolls: Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface, and roll into a 9 x 6-inch rectangle, with the longest side closest to you. Spread the filling over the dough’s surface, leaving a 1/2 inch border on short ends. Top evenly with spinach leaves. Starting with the bottom edge (one with a border), roll the dough into a tight 9-inch log (the spinach might try to scoot out, but press it in as you go). Pinch the end to seal. With a sharp serrated knife, carefully cut the log into 6, 1 1/2-inch pieces.
- Lightly mist a 9-inch round or 8-inch square pan with cooking spray, line with parchment paper, then lightly mist again. Arrange the rolls in the pan and brush tops with the remaining tablespoon of melted butter. Loosely cover the pan with lightly oiled plastic wrap, then let rise again at room temperature until doubled, about 2 hours. (Alternatively, if you did not refrigerate the dough in step 2, you may do so now. Let rolls rise in the refrigerator overnight, remove pan from oven 1 hour before baking and let stand at room temperature. Continue baking as directed.)
- Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the interior temperature reads 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Serve immediately.
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I baked Goat Cheese Spinach Swirl Rolls with my favorite bread-baking tool, Red Star Platinum Yeast. It’s foolproof, yields consistent results, and most importantly, creates super-fluffy, tender breads every time. For baking tips, check out Red Star Yeast’s step-by-step baking guide, and don’t forget to follow Red Star on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, for tasty recipes and inspiration.
More swirl rolls to steal your heart:
- Chocolate Chai Cinnamon Rolls from The Law Student’s Wife
- Potato Cinnamon Rolls for Two from Dessert for Two
- Fig and Brown Sugar Rolls from Eat Your Heart Out
- Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Sweet Rolls from Girl Versus Dough
Red Star Yeast compensated me for my time to create this recipe and post. As always, all opinions are my own.