Filed under: Breads / Rolls
June 24, 2020

Strawberry Challah Rolls

An intense strawberry filling made from roasting the berries and mixing them with white chocolate is surrounded by a super soft milk-bread challah roll and covered in a cream cheese strawberry icing.

Yield: 12
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An intense strawberry filling, made from roasting the berries and mixing them with white chocolate, is surrounded by a super soft roll.  The rolls are covered in a cream cheese strawberry icing. These strawberry rolls are the perfect summer brunch dish! 

 

tray of rolls filled with roasted strawberry puree and white chocolate and topped with a roasted strawberry glaze

 

Every summer, I roast berries by the bucket. I always tell the story of how I began roasting blueberries for my first daughter with a bit of cinnamon for one of her first solids experiences, and from then, I never stopped. There was this blueberry ice cream and this strawberry bread. There’s a cheesecake too! But first let’s dig into these perfect summer sweet strawberry rolls.

 

Roasted strawberry puree

This might sound a bit fancy but it’s just berries spread out in a pan and roasted for about half an hour, until they are squishy and some of the water has evaporated. According to KAF, roasting the berries, “concentrates the sugars, and therefore the flavor. Excess moisture is released in the oven leaving you with a highly flavorful bite of fruity goodness.” I feel like I don’t need to add anymore emphasis for why we need to be doing this!

 

Milk Bread Style Challah

I talk more about why I use the japanese milk bread style to make the challah in this chocolate babka post. Suffice it to say, cooking the flour with some water and milk before it’s added to the dough lends the most tender, soft and wonderful bread that keeps its tenderness longer than the average homemade dough.

 

How to make strawberry challah rolls, in six simple steps:

  1. Roast some strawberries then puree them
  2. Make a water and milk roux (tangzhong)
  3. Make the dough with the roux
  4. Melt white chocolate and mix with puree
  5. Shape the dough & bake
  6. Make the glaze

 

Strawberry rolls with cream cheese icing

I love the tang that the cream cheese adds to the topping. This glaze is made with a bit of roasted puree (a little goes a long way in terms of flavor and color, since we’ve gotten rid of a lot of the water during the roasting process), some whipped cream cheese and powdered sugar. It’s all just mixed in a bowl and really rounds out the rolls to give you a super strawberry punch with every bite.

 

 

Ingredients and substitutions

For the filling

Strawberries: fresh or frozen is fine. If they are in season, fresh is better. Especially if you have a few cartons in your fridge which are going a bit soft. That’s the point when you want to roast them instead of having them fresh. The darker the inside of the berries, the more intense your filling and glaze will be. I say roast 3 cups to ensure you get a bit over 1 cup puree, but if your berries are juicey you may get more than you need!

 

White chocolate: I use lindt white chocolate and would also recommend Green & Black’s (both cheaper if you buy them in bulk). Whenever you buy white chocolate take a look at the ingredients; if it doesn’t have cocoa butter in it it then it’s made with mostly sugar and oil 🙁

 

For the dough

Bread Flour: KAF Bread Flour is my favorite. It’s a higher protein content than AP and gives you a chewier bread. But AP is a fine substitute if that’s all you have.

Milk: whole or 2%. You could just use all water for the dough but it would definitely lack tenderness (and possibly need fat compensation in the form of more oil).

Eggs: room temperature and large. If you’ve just pulled them from the fridge set them in a bowl of warm water to come to room.

Oil: Canola, grapeseed, vegetable, anything that won’t have a prominent taste in the final dough.

Yeast: instant packets weigh 7g here in the US. If you need to use active dry, add 25% more (so about 1/2 teaspoon more) and add it with the flour, skipping the proving step.

 

For the glaze

Whipped cream cheese: I like using whipped here because it saves me an arm workout (and I can use it directly from the fridge). If you don’t have it/don’t want to buy it, use a block of cream cheese but let it come to room temperature and whip it before you add it to the puree.

Powdered sugar: organic, organic! Organic that is made with tapioca starch is so much better for things that won’t be heated. This is because non-organic (and some organics) is made with cornstarch which melts at a higher temperature. Tapioca melts on the tongue; the result is a much less saccharine taste.

 

Tips for making strawberry rolls

  • To streamline your process, you can make the strawberry puree and dough the day ahead. If you are making this on a time crunch, the heat from the berries can melt the white chocolate for you.
  • After you roll up the log with the filling, set it in the fridge to firm up so you can get clean cuts.
  • Use non-waxed dental floss to slice the rolled up log, this will also help get nice clean cuts.
  • Store in an air-tight container to keep fresh. A gentle heating in the microwave will return a lot of the bread’s tenderness.

 

side view of strawberry challah roll with strawberry cream cheese glaze

 

Strawberry Rolls Recipe

Strawberry Rolls

Swirled in between the softest milk bread layers is a roasted strawberry and white chocolate puree.
tray of rolls filled with roasted strawberry puree and white chocolate and topped with a roasted strawberry glaze
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Yields: 12
5 from 6 votes

Ingredients

Roasted strawberry puree

  • 2 ½ cups strawberries fresh or frozen

Tangzhong roux

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • cup bread flour

Dough

  • 4 + cups bread flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 packet yeast
  • ½ cup whole milk warmed too touch
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup starter from above

Strawberry White Chocolate Filling:

  • 1/2 cup roasted strawberry puree
  • 4.4 oz white chocolate bar

Strawberry Glaze

  • 1 ½ tablespoon roasted strawberry puree
  • 2 tablespoons whipped cream cheese
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 cups organic powdered sugar sifted

Method

  • Make the strawberry puree: preheat oven to 400 and roast berries for about 30 minutes until they have fully released their juices and some of the water has evaporated. While they are roasting, check on them and press them to help release the juices, about every 10 minutes. Puree the berries and set aside. This can be made a day or two ahead of time.
  • Make the starter: In a pot, whisk together the flour, water and milk. Continue whisking as it heats up and thickens. Once you have the consistency of a soft paste, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the yeast and warm milk. Sprinkle a bit of the sugar on top and whisk gently to combine. Give it a few minutes to proof.
  • Once the yeast mixture is foamy, add the rest of the ingredients as well as the starter. Turn the dough hook on and let it knead the dough until it comes together in a sticky mass, about 7-10 minutes.
  • Set the dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in the fridge overnight.
  • The next morning, remove the dough from the fridge. If it has not doubled in size, let it stand at room temperature to get there. This is to complete the first rise.
  • Make the filling, melt the white chocolate over a double boiler and stir it into the strawberry puree.
  • Prepare a cookie sheet, a 9 x 13″ sheet cake pan or two 8×8” pans with parchment paper.
  • Roll the dough out into a 18 x 14 inch rectangle (about as big as a cookie sheet) and spread the filling over it, leave it for a bit so the filling firms up. Roll it up into a log and set in the fridge to chill for cleaner cuts (15 minutes or so).Use a knife or dental floss to slice the buns into 1 inch pieces. Place onto the pan.
  • Set in a warm place for a second rise for about 45 – 60 minutes, until poofy.
  • Preheat the oven to 350. Bake the rolls for about 20-25 minutes, until sides are golden.
  • To make the icing: mix the cream cheese with the puree, vanilla and salt and powdered sugar. When rolls are cool, spoon it over the rolls.

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Recipe Rating




  1. 5 stars
    Oh.My.Lord. I’m an avid baker and have never, ever taken time to write a review for a recipe (sadly, because I do rely on many incredible blogs for direction and inspiration!) But these rolls. They are everything. So, sooooooo delicious, the dough is incredible to work with and wonderfully delicate, and roasting strawberries is a genius step. And the white chocolate….just, wow. Thank you so much for this gift of a recipe! I wish I could add a photo, because they are also unbelievably gorgeous on the table!

  2. 5 stars
    Oh. My. Gosh!! These were not only beautiful but delicious!

    The dough is a dream to work with. I’ve never made a dough with a Tangzhong roux before, and….wow. Enlightning! I hand kneaded, having no stand mixer, and it felt just perfect under my hands.

    Definitely a keeper!

  3. Hi! Can’t wait to try this ones!! Can I do it with black or blueberries? Does the roasting works the same way?

    • Hi Sofia, blueberries work great here – add a bit of lemon too! I haven’t tried blackberries so I’m not as confident, I think their flavor isn’t usually as prominent so it’ll be harder to find it in the rolls.

  4. 5 stars
    SO GOOD! My strawberries really roasted down so I would definitely roast three cups for the puree. But the bread is soft and lovely and the icing really makes this a 10/10.

  5. 5 stars
    Delicious!! Definitely making again. Light soft dough and strong bright strawberry flavor. Didn’t get the organic powdered sugar but will next time, delicious with normal kind but I’m sure even better with the organic. For the novice baker look up a video of the consistency of the Tangzhong roux BEFORE starting it. Also any tips on getting a better roll? My roll seemed loose and a lot of filling oozed out! Had to run out of the house and chilled mine for an hour took it out of the fridge and it took about 1 1/2 to double in size.

    • The dough needs to double in size for the first rise. If you want to do it quicker, do it at room temperature for a few hours. The dough will be a bit stickier so use flour to help you roll and shape it.

  6. Hello! These look amazing. Can these have a second overnight rise once rolled and cut, so they are ready to bake in the morning? I wanted to give them to someone the night before so all they would need to do is bake them and put the glaze on. Thank you!

    • 5 stars
      I made these today for Valentine’s Day and they turned out great! I followed the recipe exactly except I made the dough and baked all in one day and I used AP flour. So so delicious and beautiful!

    • This dough does not rise in the fridge in my experience. You can set it in the fridge after shaping which would ‘halt’ the dough and then the next morning give them a room temperature rise for about an hour. Use your judgement to know when they are ready to go into the oven: dough should be poofy and doubled in size (see the second photo).

  7. Looking to make these for a 7 year old’s birthday brunch, but I’m worried the white chocolate will make these too sweet for children. Can you provide a sweetness level or an alternative for the white chocolate please? Thank you!

    • Hi Huda

      Did you make these? Were they too sweet? Was wanting to make as well but thought the same thing for kids esp in the am

  8. Hi! I can’t wait to try this recipe! I just wanted to clarify one thing. If I don’t have two 8×8 pans, I can bake these on a 9×13 baking sheet?

  9. I have all the ingredients and am ready to make these this weekend! I will be using active dry yeast. Based on what you wrote, is this the right way to go about it?
    – add milk, flour & water with the yeast (plus 1/2 tsp), over heat. Is low heat sufficient or higher?
    – once foamy, move straight into adding other dough ingredients.

    • Hi Lisa! The yeast does not go into the roux. If you were using instant you’d add it to the 1/2 cup warm milk and let set until foamy but, since you are using ‘active dry’ you’ll skip that step and just put it along with everything else (including the roux, once cool) into the mixer at once then knead. And yes, increase the yeast by adding 25% more (so 1/2 tsp more). Good luck!!!

  10. Is the recipe correct when it says to add the yeast to the cold milk? Normally I add it to warm water. After letting it rise in the fridge overnight it hasn’t increased in size at all. Is this an error in the recipe?

    • This same thing happened to me! I had thought “I feel like I should warm this up,” but since I’ve never made this type of dough and the recipe didn’t specify I ended up having to throw out my doubled batch of dough. I ended up using a cinnamon roll dough and the rest of this recipe and it turned out amazing! I dropped them off for some friends on Valentine’s Day and they had raving reviews. I’ll definitely try baking these again with warmed up milk 🙂

      • Hi Cynthia! You’d need some bigger modifications to use freeze dried since they have no water and we are relying on the puree of the berries for our filling. I’d say use a cup of chopped white chocolate and add some powdered freeze dried berries to it (use a food processor to powder the berries, then add them). Hard to say how much to add but 1/4 cup powder could do it? Judge by how smooth your white chocolate is once it’s mixed in. You can add some butter to thin it out too, or even heavy cream. For the glaze you would add about a tablespoon powdered freeze dried berries to the powdered sugar and then you can make up the liquid with freshly squeezed lemon juice or milk. Hope that helps!

    • Alison, the milk should be at room temp or warmed as with any yeast recipe. I haven’t written “cold milk” in the recipe but I’ll make it clear that it should be warmed. If it hasn’t doubled, leave it at room temperature and it should rise. The overnight cold slows the rise but doesn’t stop it completely.