Fluffy Spiral Rolls (with optional Za’atar)
Soft, buttery, fluffy, swirly rolls as easy as dumping everything together in one bowl. A special ingredient keeps them soft for days. Whether plain or stuffed with Zaatar, these rolls are guaranteed to fly off your bread basket in a flash! Plus…recipe VIDEO included!
Ladies and gentlemen, please let me introduce you to my latest carb obsession:
The EASIEST featherlight, cotton-soft rolls I have ever met.
So good that I’ve made them 5 times this past week, and I’m not even ashamed.
The first time I made them, they disappeared in a little less that 10 minutes, and so I was
forced begged to make another batch asap. Given it was my cheat day, I couldn’t help but oblige.
These pillowy, squishy scrolls of carb, fulfills everything a dinner roll should be (or aspires to be)
Super fluffy ✔
Unbelievably soft ✔
Buttery but not overly so ✔
Well rounded flavor ✔
Stays just as soft for several days ✔ (not that they’d last that long!)
Incredibly easy to make ✔
Oh and have I mentioned how fluffy they are?! I think I did over 9 times already, but here’s another reminder.
Their only flaw, is that they disappear too fast. That’s where doubling the recipe comes in.
The first time I made them, I decided to stuff half of my rolls with Za’atar, for a little Middle Eastern “twist.” You know…because I’m Egyptian and we love us some za’atar.
And boy was it a very wise decision!
Absolutely dynamite combo. And dipped in Labneh…Ugh! Heaven…
The only problem is that we couldn’t decide which we love more; the plain butter ones or the za’atar ones. Each delicious in its own special way.
So as any indecisive foodie who cannot pick a favorite does, I’ve been making them both every single time. Same pan, side by side, a 2-in-1 ordeal. I’m guilty of doing the same thing with these crescent rolls too.
Let’s rewind a little bit in case you feel lost.
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mixture common to most Arab homes, but I love how it’s becoming internationally recognized. It’s no wonder…the stuff is delicious. It’s a unique blend of dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, sumac, toasted sesame seeds and salt. The flavor is hard to describe, but its a bit citrusy, somewhat aromatic with woodsy, earthy notes and an exotic savory flavor. It’s sold premade at most Middle Eastern/Mediterranean supermarkets, but it can be easily made at home. Here’s a promising recipe that I’ve seen online.
We love to eat it with bread and Labneh, a soft, cream cheese made from strained yogurt, and other dips like hummus. A little sprinkling over flat bread, meats, veggies, rice, potatoes, anything really, just takes them to a whole new level.
And soft, fluffy rolls, are no exception.
I have another favorite recipe for Ultra Fluffy Dinner Rolls, that is actually one of the most popular recipes on the blog. Just take a peak at the feedback in the comments section to know why they’re so loved by many.
It’s an absolutely great recipe that uses a Japanese technique, known as Tanzhong, which hydrates the rolls to produce soft and fluffy rolls that keeps moist for days. It’s been my go-to rolls’ recipe for a couple of years now, but the process is multi-step, a bit finicky to make and requires A TON of kneading; 20 minutes on the stand mixer and God knows how long by hand…Never took that route; don’t have the biceps.
This recipe manages to capture the same feathery lightness of the Tanzhong method without having to go through the process and long kneading. It’s an easy one-bowl, dump-and-knead kind of recipe and I’m loving it. Thanks to an unusual ingredient, that keeps the dough so plush and pillowy.
That magical ingredient is…
I’m always hesitant about posting recipes with unique ingredients, because they tend to be somewhat hard to find, albeit expensive, where I live, Egypt. The number of times I’ve dismissed some amazing recipes, just because it involves a single ingredient that requires some digging around, is countless. And if I got a dollar for each time I’ve been asked on where to locate light corn syrup to make these Microwave Caramels, I’d be, well…a hundredaire ?
But I couldn’t keep this recipe from ya’ll, because it’s that amazing! So find the dang potato flour, make the rolls and I promise you won’t hate me as much. Oh well, maybe you will, because these rolls might just give you some rolls of your own, if you know what I mean. Thigh rolls, back rolls, stomach rolls…you name it! Dangerous, dangerous recipe I’m telling you…so proceed with caution.
Update: I’ve been getting a ton of questions about substituting potato flour. I knew it was coming ? While I haven’t tried any substitute myself, this article explains everything you need to know about the subject. Highly recommended read!
You know how potato rolls are known for their exceptional squishy softness? It’s because the starches in potatoes have some scientific stuff in them (which I’m not going to annoy you with) that dilute the gluten-forming proteins. This makes potato-based baked goods like these burger buns, softer, moister, more tender and increases their shelf life.
Same goes with potato flour. This unusual ingredient is made from dehydrated potatoes, so its basically a potato! A veggie, if it will make you feel better ? You could substitute instant mashed potato flakes by the way, but not sure if actual mashed potatoes would work here. The thing about potato flour is that its super absorbent, which allows us to cut back on the flour and increase the milk, which in return, produces a moister roll. Makes sense right?
And you’ll only need a tiny bit per batch, so a bag should last you a long time. Unless you’re like me and make rolls 5 times in one week.
Here’s a quick video of how they come together…
Now let’s break up the process a little more for all you baking geeks (aka my favorite people)…
To make these easy rolls, you’ll basically just throw everything together and mix. Dry ingredients, wet ingredients, everything goes in there. Just make sure you’re using INSTANT yeast though. To speed up the rising process, I like to just warm the milk a bit and stir the egg into it, just to take the refrigerator chill out of them. And if you want consistent, perfect results every time, I highly recommend weighing your ingredients using a kitchen scale. It’s always a good idea.
At first, the dough will seem clay-like, and appear rough and dry, but it will eventually soften up, so don’t be tempted to add extra liquid.
See? 7 minutes of kneading later, it will transform into a silky smooth dough with a slight stickiness to it.
You’ll then leave the dough to rise in a nice, warm area, almost until doubled in size and resembles a pillow.
Then you’ll turn it out on your work surface, roll out into a 16 inch (42 cm) square, then slice it in half horizontally.
If you happen to decide to ditch the za’atar and make ALL plain, butter rolls, then you’ll brush both rectangles of dough with melted butter. Let the butter set in for a bit (to avoid a buttery mess), then slice each rectangle into 8 equal-ish strips
Then roll each strip into a snug scroll.
But if you like to kick things a bit and decide to za’atar your rolls, you’ll simply brush a mixture of olive oil and zaatar all over your dough rectangles, slice and roll them up like so.
But if you’re like me and can’t decide between butter or zaatar, then make some of both. One rectangle brushed with butter and the other with olive oil/za’atar. I’ve actually doubled the recipe here, because I have learned that 16 rolls are never enough for us ?
Let these guys rise…
Until you can no longer handle their chubby cuteness. At this point…ship them off to the oven!
And when they come out, brush them off with a glistening layer of melted buttaaaaah…
Quick! Pull one while they’re still warm.
Looks like a warm blanket.
I’d sleep in this if I could.
I’ll stop talking now…
And leave you to go buy some potato flour and make them.
And FYI to my fellow Egyptian residents, Bob’s Red Mill potato flour is everywhere…so no excuses. (This is NOT an ad btw)
Oh! I know I said that I’ll stop talking, but paleeeeez don’t be like my kids and bite into them without unraveling them like a scroll. It’s just…wrong and a crime against fluffiness.
Now I can stop talking in peace.
Fluffy Spiral Rolls (with optional Za'atar)
Soft, buttery, fluffy, swirly rolls as easy as dumping everything together in one bowl. A special ingredient keeps them soft for days. Whether plain or stuffed with Zaatar, these rolls are guaranteed to fly off your bread basket in a flash!
For the Dough:
- 3 cups (12 3/4 oz/ 361g ) All-Purpose Flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 3 tablespoons (1 3/8 oz/ 39g) granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons fine salt
- 1/4 cup (1 3/4oz/ 50g) potato flour or 3/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes (*see notes below for substitutions)
- 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz/ 43g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup milk
- 1 large egg
For Butter Rolls: (Enough for the full batch of 16 rolls. Cut amount in half, if making 8 butter rolls, and 8 za'atar rolls)
- 3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons (1 3/4 to 2oz/ 50 to 57g) butter, melted (for brushing on rolls)
For Za'atar Rolls: (Enough for the full batch of 16 rolls. Cut amount in half, if making 8 butter rolls, and 8 za'atar rolls)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup (3/4oz, 23g) za'atar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment (or a large mixing bowl, if kneading by hand), place the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, potato flour and the softened butter.
- In a microwave-safe liquid measuring cup or small bowl, heat the milk in the microwave until warm, but not hot; about 1 minute. Add the egg to the warm milk and whisk until well combined.
- Pour the milk mixture into the bowl with the flour and other ingredients. Mix until a shaggy dough is formed. At first, the dough will seem clay-like, and appear rough and dry. It will eventually soften up, so don't be tempted to add extra liquid.
- Continue to knead the dough, by hand (10 minutes) or by machine (7 to 8 minutes) until it's smooth and slightly sticky.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or 8-cup measure (so you can track its rising progress). Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 60 to 90 minutes in a warm place (*see note below, for creating the best warm environment for rising). It'll become quite puffy, and almost doubled in size.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, or silicon mat. Roll or pat the dough into a 16" (42 cm) square. Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough in half horizontally to form 2 equal rectangles.
- If making ALL butter rolls, brush both rectangles of dough all over with a light coating of the melted butter. Allow the butter to set in and harden slightly. Any leftover butter will be used for brushing on top of the baked rolls. If making ALL za'atar rolls, combine the olive oil and za'atar in a small bowl, then spread the mixture over both rectangles of dough. If making 8 rolls of each kind, then spread half the amount of butter over one rectangle, and half the amount of olive/oil za'atar mixture over the other.
- Slice each rectangle vertically into 8 equal strips. Starting at 1 end, roll each strip into snug cylinder., then place seem-side down in a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan. Arrange 4 rows of 4 in the pan.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and let the rolls rise in a warm place 45 minutes to 1 hour, until puffy, but not really doubled in size. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F/ 180°C.
- Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until they're golden brown and feel set. The most accurate way of telling when they're done is by taking their internal temperature. The thickest part of the roll should register around 190°F/ 88 °C. Loosely tent the rolls with foil during baking if they're browning too fast to avoid overbrowning.
- Remove the pan from the oven, and brush the rolls with the remaining melted butter, even the za'atar ones. Pull apart to serve. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers (if you're lucky to have any) in an airtight container or zipper lock bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- This recipe doubles really well, as shown in the post's photos. Bake in an 18 x 13" (46 x 33 cm) pan; aka half sheet pan.
- While I haven't tried any substitute myself, this article explains everything you need to know about substituting potato flour. Highly recommended read!
- To create a warm environment for the dough to rise, adjust oven rack to middle position and place a loaf or cake pan in the bottom of the oven. Place the bowl of dough on the middle rack and pour boiling water into the pan. Close the oven door and allow the dough to rise as instructed. Alternatively, a warm, turned off oven may be used instead, just be sure that it's not hot, as that could kill the yeast. It should feel like a warm summer day.
- To make ahead: In step 5, do not let the dough rise, but refrigerate it overnight or up to 16 hours; let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes then continue with step 6. Alternatively, (my personal favorite method to minimize work on the day of serving) do not let the shaped rolls rise in step 9, but refrigerate it overnight or up to 16 hours; let the dough sit in a warm place until puffed up; 30 minutes to 1 hour, then continue with step 10, preheating the oven 15 minutes before baking.
Recipe mostly adapted from Half Baked Harvest, who adapted it from King Arthur Flour, adding a Za'atar "twist" to the dough.
Measurements Note: All recipes of this site have been developed using weight measurements. Although US volume measurements have been included for your convenience, it is highly encouraged that you weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale to get the best possible results. Due to the sensitive nature of baking, kitchen scales are proven to yield more accurate and consistent results than measuring cups. Enjoy!
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Salam Tasbih, I can’t wait to try this. Can’t pass anything with za’atar in it.
Food for thought – will making this recipe with bread flour do it a service or disservice? It sounds pretty amazing as it is and that’s how I plan to attempt it initially, but if I only had bread flour on hand, could it still work as well?
I just realized that I’m typing this message while eating a modified scale of the 12-layer chocolate cake from your website.
Hahahaaaa! Enjoy your cake…YUM!
It is always advised to use the type of flour called for in the recipe. Recipes that specify a certain type of flour is carefully formulated to match the flour’s protein level to the amount of liquid called for, creating the ideal hydration, which results in the optimum texture and rise. However, if in a pinch, substituting is completely fine here. The outcome may vary slightly, but I’m pretty sure it will still turn out amazing!
This looks ahhhmazing!!! Gotta get me a bag of potato flour and will definatly give this a try. Masha Allah?
Thank you so much Shakerah! I hope you love it!
Ever try making a sweet version? Like a cinnamon roll?
Either way, will most definitely be giving these a try.
I hope you love them! Please let me know how they turn out, if you experiment with the sweet version.
You read my mind! Been thinking of transforming them into cinnamon rolls. I’m absolutely positive it will work because the dough has all the qualities a sweet roll would want. I still plan to experiment, but I did try pouring vanilla glaze over the plain one just to see if it goes well with sweetness & it was heavenly! I can imagine it turning out amazing with a cinnamon filling.
Hi Tasbih, so just wondering do you think it’s possible to make cinnamon rolls using potato flour as well…. I am thinking maybe even using the fluffy spiral rolls and making one batch with Zaatar and another with cinnamon sugar mix?
Hi Dina! Yes! I believe this dough will work so well for cinnamon rolls. Please refer to my reply to Beth (just above your comment) from more details regarding this. Happy baking 🙂
Hi Tasbih, I couldn’t find potato flour but only potato starch. How should I use it in the recipe?
Thank you in advance for your reply and for your amazing recipes.
Hi Khalil! Glad you asked. Potato starch is very different from potato flour, so unfortunately you can’t substitute one for the other. You could however use instant mashed potato flakes instead.
Best of luck ?
Hi Tasbih, the Zaatar rolls turned out great! Though mine didn’t turn out soft on the crust, they were hard on top? How do you get that very thin soft brown crust? Thanks ?
So happy you liked them Swati! The top of the rolls are slightly crusty than the center of the rolls. You could reduce that by either lightly tenting the baking pan with foil as soon as the rolls turn golden, or you could bake them on a lower rack of the oven.
To get that thin crust, I roll the dough very thinly using the measurements given in the instructions.
Wishing you better luck next time ?
Just made these rolls but as i didnt have any zaatar i used pesto instead. They look great, im hoping they taste as good as they smell. Thanks for the recipe.
I love pesto! I’m sure it will make an amazing match with these rolls. You just can’t go wrong with pesto.
Once I saw my mother in law, putting a smashed potato in lokoumades dough, it looked strange but the result was a crispy on the outside and really soft inside lokoumades, so maybe I will experiment with that, because I can not find the potato flour where I live, or maybe I will look for some online, because I definitely want to try these rolls. We all love za’atar, or maybe some cheese also mmmm! My head is already spinning with the possibilities!
Take care and thank you for sharing another great recipe.
You are more than welcome Katy. It’s really my pleasure. It’s so interesting about potatoes in lokoumades! I remember seeing a recipe for the Egyptian version of Lokoumades (we call them lokmet el kady or zalabya) that uses mashed potatoes too and was so intrigued by the idea. I’ve also tried a recipe for donuts that use potatoes in the dough and the outcome was just like you described, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Love the magic potato possesses ? If you do try this recipe using mashed potatoes, please let us know how it turned out. I’m sure many people will be interested in that substitution. And cheese? Oh yeah!
Hi, I made the dough exactly as instructed, and even placed the dough in the oven with a boiling bowl of water.
However after an hour, it appears the dough hasten risen at all.
I did use active dry yeast (and activated it with water and sugar) as I did not have instant yeast – however I know those are interchangeable.
What could have caused this to happen?
Hi Rochel ? Active dry yeast while interchangeable with instant (as long as you activate it first like you did) works slower than instant. I think 1 1/2 hours should work it’s magic into rising your dough. If you’re in a hurry, it’s best to use instant, if not then you’ll just need to wait a little longer. Enjoy.
Hiii tasbih i have unbleached flour can i used??
Hi Maha. Yes dear, I always use unbleached flour and don’t seem to have a problem.
Best of luck.
Thank u 🙂
Hi Tasbih 🙂 In can’t seem to find potatoe flour anywhere. Not in seoudi too. Any idea where i might find it? Thanks.
Oh no! I just hate it when things suddenly disappear from supermarkets like that. Last time I bought it was from Seoudi, but I also recently saw it at Fresh Food Market & Kimo in Maadi. It’s currently available on ngs-egypt.com for sure. I just checked. They deliver too, which is great!
Thank you so much ?
Hi. I used instant mash potato powder. Did I need to add extra liquid because I found my dough wasn’t so soft, even after needing for 10 minutes
Hi Mahnaaz. I wish I could give you a confident answer, but I never actually tried this recipe with the potato mash substitute, so I’m not sure how the dough is supposed to feel like. I adapted this recipe from King Arthur Flour website, where they mentioned potato mash powder as a suitable substitute but I haven’t had a chance to test it myself. However, I don’t think there’s a need to adjust the liquid quantity, otherwise they would’ve instructed so. Do you think there’s a chance that you might’ve over measured the flour? Do you weigh your ingredients or measure by cups? How was the end result of the baked rolls?
So good! I tried it and it tastes great! But not as fluffy as in your photos. Any tips for that?
Hi Summer! It could be either because an ingredient was mismeasured or the yeast is old. I always recommend weighing ingredients using a kitchen scale for the best possible results and make sure the yeast is nice and fresh.
This is an older post but I’m hoping you see this. Do you know if these rolls freeze well once it’s BAKED? I saw the post that references them freezing prior but nothing about after. Also, will these remain fresh if I ship them?
Just found you!
Amazing recipes. And so easy to follow
The umm Ali turned out perfectly. Trying not to make it every week!
I’m so happy you found your way here! Welcome aboard; I hope you enjoy EVERYTHING! It’s so amazing to hear that you liked the Umm Ali recipe…did you see how easy it is to make?!
Tasbih, wonderful recipe! Thank you. one question, would this recipe work (fluff ans all) if done as a regular eound bun?
Absolutely! Most versatile dough recipe ever! You could do anything to it and it will still turn out great.
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I did this recipe but the bread didn’t turn out fluffy as yours ..
I’m not sure where it went wrong ?
any special yeast using or flour ?
Hi Amira! It could be either because an ingredient was mismeasured or the yeast is old. I always recommend weighing ingredients using a kitchen scale for the best possible results and I love using Pakmaya or Venoise for the yeast.
Just made these today and they turned out AMAZING! Been dying to try this one and I finally did!
Quick question, do these freeze well? If I freeze them instead of refrigerating them after step 8, Can I defrost them and leave them to get to room temperature and bake them the day I want to serve them?
Appreciate if you can let me know.
Thanks a million!
PS: Can’t wait to try the honeycake!
So happy you loved them Rola!
Yes…freezing will work! Prepare the dough through step 8 and allow to rise for about 30 minutes. Freeze in their slightly puffy state, well-wrapped in plastic. When you’re ready to bake, let them thaw in the fridge overnight. The next morning, take them out and bake!
Can i replace the potato flour with all purpuse flour
Or where can i it in egypt 🙂
Hi Sarah! Potato flour is the key ingredient that gives these rolls their impossibly fluffy texture. If you substitute it, you won’t get that same pillowy results, so I wouldn’t recommend it. I’ve linked to an article explaining potato flour substitutes in the notes section of the recipe, that is worth checking out.
Potato flour is readily available at most big supermarkets in Cairo; I get it from either Seoudi or Fresh Food Market.
Hope that helps!
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Hey Tasbih . I had made these Zataar rolls for the first time without potato flour and they turned out really good, baked all the way through. But here comes an upsetting part, the third time when I made it with potato flour and weighed the ingredients ( considering these two factors were key to even more perfect results) it did not turn out good. What do you think could have gone wrong?
Cause these rolls had risen and proofed perfectly when rested. Do you think over baking them could have caused it as I had kept them 7 min extra than the mentioned time to get the golden brown color, failing to do so I at last broiled it to get the color which I did but they became hard on the outside and did not have any taste
Pleasee help me on this cause I really want to make them again .. Thank you for the recipe 🙂
Hi Maimuna! I’m really glad to hear that these rolls turned out so well without the potato flour. As for the 3rd time, given the fact that you did everything else correctly, it is most likely the overbaking that has caused the unfortunate results. Overbaking is the culprit of baked good, as it soaks away moisture. Broiling will also most definitely harden the surface. I wouldn’t recommend it even if it means paler rolls. If you have an instant read thermometer, I highly suggest using it to test for doneness; that way you’ll guarantee that they are not overbaked. It should read between 190F-200F. Best of luck!
Im totally lost here i can’t stop read and trying to make your wonderful recipe. I love your website well actually i adore it ??? I can’t live without Zaatar cause my parents are lebanese and i love egyptian food cause my husband are egyptian. Here in Sweden potato flour is a everyday ingredient we use in food and desserts. We will spend our vaccation in Egypt this summer and i actually take 3 packet potato flour with me every year. Do you think it’s available in Carrefour? My husband keep telling me it’s risky to bring the potato flour with us to the airport in our lugage ???
Hello dear! So sorry for missing your comment and for replying so late. You can sometimes find potato flour at Seoudi and Fresh Food market, but it goes out of stock really quickly, so the supply is very inconsistent. When I do find some, I stock up ?
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Can i use the ‘fluffy milk bread’ recipe of yours for the zaatar instead of this as i dont have potato flour available in my country
You are using milk for hydration. You mention 1 cup of milk, this is how much ml? I can’t seem to get it right and end up adding flour to save myself from a watery dough almost
That would be 237ml Johnny ?
I am vegan and eggs don’t work for me. What can I replace eggs with?
Hello Fatima! To be honest, I’m not sure as I don’t have much experience in substituting eggs in baking. But I think you might find this article helpful.
I just made this and I already ate 3 while trying to pack them! These are unbelievably fluffy.
I substituted the potato flour with cornstarch and had to add 2 tablespoon of flour and 1 tablespoon butter. They turned out fully and yummy!
Fluffy* – See, too busy eating to write properly.
They look so good Mariam! I’m literally drooling just looking at your picture ? So happy to hear that you got great results using potato flour!
It looks so perfect Mariam! It really makes my day to know that you’re enjoying the recipes on my blog. Thank you for sharing your lovely photo ?
We love it so much that I just baked another fresh batch haha! The ones in the back have cheese and they are glazed with honey & butter. I followed the same substitutes – can’t find potato flour where I live unfortunately but my substitutes work just as good.
Hey, I made the dough completely according to the instructions, and I used potato puree instead of potato flour but my dough became so soft even after fermentation, that I couldn’t even shape it, even after adding more flour to it.
I don’t know what the reason is, please guide me, but anyway I baked it as it was, but its texture was like clouds, light and soft and very tasty.
Made this several times already?we dont get potato flour in our country so i just add more plain flour and it still comes out very fluffy and tasty.everyone loves them at home?thanks for sharing ur recipes❤️❤️
Just made these and have had about 5 in one sitting! I’ve tried multiple recipes from your blog and every one has turned out incredible! Thank you so much