The Internet Is Obsessed with This Super-Fluffy “Wool Roll Bread”—Here’s How to Make It
First came sourdough starters. Then came oodles of cookies and cakes. Recently, pizza babka burst onto the scene. But the latest trend in pandemic baking might just be the most beautiful of all: Wool Roll Bread.
What Is Wool Roll Bread?
We're still on the hunt to track down the official origins of this totally Instagrammable treat, although the recent wool roll bread baking boom seems to have been sparked by a video created by the Malaysian blog "Apron." In its first 2 weeks on YouTube alone, this how-to has been viewed nearly 7 million(!) times and has 3,700 comments along the lines of, "I made this yesterday; turns out beautifully. It was so magical to watch it bloom into a sophisticated bread. Love it!" and "Tried this at home and it came out to be mind-blowing. All my friends told [me] that it was the best and softest bread they had ever eaten."
It's essentially a pillowy yeast dough stuffed with a sweet or savory filling, then sliced, rolled and stacked in a Bundt cake-like round so as the dough rises and bakes, the final result resembles rolls of wool or thick yarn.
As we mentioned, this blog is based in Malaysia, and many of the posts tagged #woolrollbread on Instagram refer to Apron's recipe. But another YouTube video from Vietnam last summer shows how to make bánh mì cuộn len (which translates to wool roll bread). It also resembles some Middle Eastern breads such as shoreek and other European creations, such as Polish babka pie and Slovenian Belokranjska povitica.
How to Make Wool Roll Bread
To make wool roll bread the Apron way, start the milk bread dough by adding 3 ounces of lukewarm milk and 1 teaspoon of yeast to a small bowl. Let this rest for 5 minutes.
As the yeast does its thing, in a separate large bowl, add 2⅛ cups bread flour, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 egg and ½ cup whipping cream. Once it's been 5 minutes and the yeast activates, add the milk mixture. Knead or use a stand mixer with a dough hook (such as KitchenAid Ultra Power Plus 4 ½-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer; $369.99, Target) until a consistent dough forms. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, then punch the dough down.
Slice it into 5 smaller balls and roll each risen dough portion into a flat oval. Use a knife or bench scraper (such as Zulay Kitchen Premium Stainless Steel Bench Scraper; $8.99, Amazon) to slice ¼-inch "threads" about halfway lengthwise through the dough. To the unsliced half of each dough portion, add your desired filling (we've seen dried cranberries, Nutella, cinnamon-sugar, vanilla custard and even a combo of melted butter and chopped parsley. The world is your oyster here!). Roll each piece like a burrito, first tucking in the short sides, then tucking and rolling the dough into a spiral shape with the sliced "threads" facing up and out.
Set each portion into a greased round pan, Bundt pan or even something showy like this:
Then let the entire assembled bread rise a final time before brushing it with milk and baking at 340°F for about 25 minutes or until golden.
We don't know about you, but we're going to have a tough time not tearing into this the moment it comes out of the oven! But for best results, allow to cool, snap a photo to chronicle your #breaktheinternet baking, then feast on your milk bread masterpiece. Perhaps just like baked feta pasta became THE pasta, we might soon be seeing a tidal wave of posts and TikTok videos about THE bread?