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!
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:
- Roast some strawberries then puree them
- Make a water and milk roux (tangzhong)
- Make the dough with the roux
- Melt white chocolate and mix with puree
- Shape the dough & bake
- 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.
Strawberry Rolls Recipe
- stand mixer to knead the dough
Roasted strawberry puree
- 2 ½ cups strawberries fresh or frozen
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup whole milk
- ⅓ cup bread flour
- 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
- 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
- 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.