My husband has a deep and abiding love for feta cheese – so much so that I often tease him that feta is his favourite food. He likes to add it to recipes that don’t call for any, and seems to think it’s a cure-all for bland foods. Oh, pizza that doesn’t have much flavour? Add feta! That casserole is a little ho-hum? Add feta! As a general rule, I don’t mind this obsession. There are worse things he could be obsessed with, after all. On the rare occasion that I fight the addition of feta, it’s mostly because I want to taste the recipe without it before making a judgement call. But he’s right a lot of the time, feta really does add a tangy flavour dimension to some otherwise bland foods.
So when I dreamed up this recipe, I knew he would love it. There wasn’t a shadow of a doubt. Ever since I made my Garlic and Herb Rolls, I’ve been thinking about how easy the dough is to make and how well it would work with other flavours. Feta and spinach instantly came to mind. At first, I thought about making buns filled with the feta and spinach, but the pinwheel rolls are so attractive, I decided to stick with that format. This time round, I left butter and garlic out of the actual filling, and simply brushed the tops of the rolls before they went into the oven. This way, I avoided the mess of butter running out during baking, and still got all the flavour. Also, because the filling makes these bigger, heartier rolls, I cut them into 16 instead of 12.
The Results: I honestly didn’t have any worries that these wouldn’t be good. I knew the dough itself was good, and I couldn’t really go wrong with the filling. It was more a matter of figuring out the details, such as how much filling to make. Fortunately, I got it right from the start. I am also glad I brushed the garlic butter on the top, as the bits of garlic got all toasted and crunchy. These are truly a must-make recipe, especially if you have a die-hard feta lover in your house. They are tender and flavourful and they pair well with any number of other foods like soup or salad. And the pinwheel shape is so lovely and is right at home for a casual or elegant dinner.
If you aren’t a low carber and want to make something comparable, I direct you to the original recipe on A Little Bit of Everything. Her dough is the regular flour, full carb version. Do keep in mind that her recipe makes double the rolls, so you will either have to make half of her dough, or double my filling. Either way, you will love them!
Spinach and Feta Garlic Rolls
2 cups carbalose flour
1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole milk, lukewarm (about 110F)
1/2 cup water, lukewarm (abut 110F)
1 package rapid rise yeast
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 12 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess moisture
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, pressed
Preheat oven to 200F for 10 minutes and then turn oven off.
In a medium bowl, stir together carbalose flour, gluten flour and salt. Set aside
In the bowl of your mixer, combine milk and water. Sprinkle yeast over and mix well. Mix in egg until combined.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add flour mixture until combined. Dough may be quite sticky, but do not add any more flour.
With greased hands, shape dough into a smooth ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in warm oven for 30-45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, combine spinach, feta, marjoram, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl.
Roll out dough on a lightly greased surface into a rough rectangle, 12 x 16 inches or so. Spread spinach mixture over dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border around all edges. Starting at a longer side, roll up dough tightly into a log and pinch to seal the edge.
Cut log into 16 equal portions and place on a silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet (I found the cutting to be easiest with a serrated knife and a sawing motion. The fibrous spinach did not cut well with thread). Put back into warm oven and let rise until doubled, about 20 to 30 more minutes.
Remove from oven and increase heat to 375F. In a small bowl, combine butter and garlic and brush over the top of each roll. Once oven is preheated, bake rolls 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
Serves 16. Each roll has a total of 8.2 g of carbs and 3.6 g of fiber, so net carbs equals 4.6 g.