Palestinian Cheese Buns

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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

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 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

Filling:

  • 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

Method:

  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.
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