Palestinian Cheese Buns


Palestinian cheese buns 15/05/2017

An authentic Palestinian bread from Jaffa that is served as a main meal along with a bowl of soup or a salad, this “Yafawi Sfeeha”, also known as “Milwayeh” which means twisted, is crispy yet fluffy and full of flavour.

The dough is a sort of un-yeasted bread dough that needs to be stretched out really thin, to the point where you can see through it, before adding the filling and rolling it up. The shaping technique takes a bit of practice to get right but you get the hang of it after you have done a couple.

The filling is traditionally meat based but I have chosen to make a cheese version using halloumi as that is what I had available. Feta would be great too.

Makes: 8



  • 210g (1 + ¾ cups) plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tbsp sugar
  • 1½ tbsp powdered milk
  • 1½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 130ml (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) water
  • olive oil or ghee for shaping


  • 250g (9 oz) halloumi cheese, grated (or feta, crumbled)
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • small handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • fresh ground black pepper

Palestinian cheese buns2


  1. Place the flour, salt, sugar, powdered milk and vegetable oil in a bowl and gradually add the water until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. Turn out onto a work surface and knead for about 10 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough into 8 even pieces and shape into balls, place on a greased tray and cover with oiled clingfilm, leave to rest for at least a couple of hours and up to overnight.
  3. Once the dough has rested make the filling, simply mix together the grated cheese, beaten egg and chopped parsley in a bowl with some freshly ground black pepper. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  4. Grease a work surface and your hands well with olive oil or ghee; take one ball of dough and use your hands to gently spread it out on the oiled surface into a large, thin circle. You should be able to spread it out to about 25cm (10in) wide and it should be thin enough to see through.
  5. Fold one side of the circle over the middle, then the other, so that the dough is almost folded into thirds.
  6. Spread some of the filling along one edge of the dough, fold the closest side over the top of the filling then roll it up into a tight sausage; coil the sausage up in a spiral shape, place the bun on a baking tray.
  7. Re-grease the work surface and your hands and repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.

Burger Buns


IMG_20150126_185254[1] 29/01/2014

These bread rolls are enriched with a small amount of butter and sugar which fills the room with a gorgeous homely aroma as they bake.

Makes 10


  • 500g strong white flour
  • 200ml tepid milk
  • 100ml tepid water
  • 15g caster sugar
  • 25g melted butter
  • 10g salt
  • 7g dried yeast
  • milk
  • sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Weigh the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Melt the butter in a measuring jug then add the tepid water and milk to this. Add the yeast to the liquid then pour into the flour mix and combine thoroughly to form a dough. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until your dough is soft and elastic. Leave to rise for 1 hour in a covered bowl left in a warm place.
  2. Divide the dough into 10 pieces and on a lightly floured surface roll into balls with your hands. Then using a rolling pin flatten into 10cm baps on a floured surface. Place on baking trays lined with baking paper and brush milk over each bap. Cover loosely with cling film and leave them in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  3. Brush with a second coat of milk and sprinkle a pinch of sesame seeds onto each bap. Cover loosely with cling film and leave for a final 30 minutes to rise.
  4. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 180°C fan. Bake the baps until they are perfectly golden, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

These rolls can be stored in an airtight container for a few days. The recipe makes quite large rolls so if you need them smaller, I suggest cutting the dough into 12-14 pieces at stage 2. The pieces of dough you have will look small but will prove and rise to large and light, fluffy buns. And who doesn’t like fluffy buns?

Feel free to experiment with the dough too. I have used half whole wheat and half strong white flour before for a coarser, more hearty bun. Why not try adding herbs to the dough or different toppings too?