Thursday, September 16, 2021

Babes Bake Wool Bread

You read the title right...this bread is designed to look like rolls of yarn...thick yarn in my case. It's a fun bake brought to us by our wonderful kitchen of the month Judy at Judy's Gross Eats.

I guess this idea of shaping bread to look like wool has been going around the internet recently, but somehow I missed it. Still, I do love milk bread (although I substitute soy milk and non-dairy margarine for the dairy products) and Sweetie loves it even more. I wasn't actually sure if soy milk would work for this recipe but it does! The dough needed a bit more flour than the recipe called for but once it came together, the dough was easy to work with and it bakes up into fluffy, soft, tender, mildly milky rolls. I followed the King Arthur Baking Company recipe that Judy had given us except for those dairy substitutions.

I had some cinnamon sugar in the cupboard so it was easy to use it to fill the rolls after I had shaped them with a bench scraper and before I rolled them up. Be sure to go to Judy's blog to see the will help with your shaping. I used a cake pan and they fit perfectly.

Do consider becoming a Bread Baking Buddy...this is an easy and fun bake and delicious eating! It looks impressive, too, in case you have someone you want to impress with baked goods. To be a Buddy, just bake the recipe, take a photo, and send Judy an email with the photo and a brief description of your bake, plus a URL of your post if you have one. Sept. 29th is the deadline, so you have some time.

Be sure to visit the other Babes on their blogs to see what they have done with this fun bread. Thanks to Elizabeth for again making this lovely badge, as she does every month.

Wool Rolls Bread

Japanese Milk Bread recipe from King Arthur Baking Company



·                     3 tablespoons (43g) water

·                     3 tablespoons (43g) whole milk

·                     2 tablespoons (14g) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour


·                     2 1/2 cups (298g) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour

·                     2 tablespoons (14g) Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk

·                     1/4 cup (50g) sugar

·                     1 teaspoon (6g) salt

·                     1 tablespoon instant yeast

·                     1/2 cup (113g) whole milk

·                     1 large egg

·                     4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, melted


1.      To make the tangzhong: Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.

2.      Place the saucepan over low heat and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan, about 3 to 5 minutes.

3.      Transfer the tangzhong to a small mixing bowl or measuring cup and let it cool to lukewarm.

4.      To make the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Combine the tangzhong with the remaining dough ingredients, then mix and knead — by mixer or bread machine — until a smooth, elastic dough forms; this could take almost 15 minutes in a stand mixer.

5.      Shape the dough into a ball, and let it rest in a lightly greased bowl, covered, for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.

6.      Gently deflate the dough and divide it into four equal pieces; if you have a scale each piece will weigh between 170g and 175g.

7.      Flatten each piece of dough into a 5" x 8" rectangle, then fold the short ends in towards one another like a letter. Flatten the folded pieces into rectangles again (this time about 3" x 6") and, starting with a short end, roll them each into a 4" log.

8.      Place the logs in a row of four — seam side down and side by side — in a lightly greased 9" x 5" loaf pan.

9.      Cover the loaf and allow it to rest/rise for 40 to 50 minutes, until puffy.

10.  Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

11.  To bake the bread: Brush the loaf with milk and bake it for 30 to 35 minutes, until it's golden brown on top and a digital thermometer inserted into the center reads at least 190°F.

12.  Remove the loaf from the oven and cool it in the pan until you can transfer it safely to a rack to cool completely.

13.  Store leftover bread, well wrapped, at cool room temperature for 5 to 7 days; freeze for longer storage.

Here are some notes from Judy:

There is some debate about the origins of Wool Roll Bread.  It was popularized by a Malaysian baker (Apron), but another blogger in Vietnam had demonstrated bánh mì cuộn len (which translates to wool roll bread).  It is also similar to some Middle Eastern and European breads.

 Basically, it’s a soft, pillowy yeast dough stuffed with a sweet or savory filling, then sliced, rolled and stacked in a round pan, so as the dough rises and bakes, the final result resembles rolls of wool or thick yarn.  My version is not stuffed, because I couldn’t decide on a filling, but please feel free to go wild.  Most of the bakers use the milk bread/tangzhong method for the yeast dough, but there are other versions, such as sourdough or egg-free (see other links below).  I used a basic tangzhong dough from King Arthur Baking Company.

 Technique is the key component.  Feel free to search the Internet for YouTube videos that show all the possibilities.  Here is my shaping technique:

 Prepare pan:  You can use a bundt pan, cake pan, or a springform pan, which is what I used.  I greased the bottom and sides, and added a layer of parchment, also greased, to the bottom.

Dough shaping:  Divide the dough into 5 pieces.  Roll each piece into a thin, oblong shape, then, using a sharp object (I used a wobbly pizza cutter), start about 2/3s from the designated top and make 1/8” to ¼” cuts.  

 If you’re using a filling, add it now.   

 Begin rolling from the solid top, ending at the bottom, and carefully place it in the prepared pan.  

 Let the dough rise, brush with milk or egg wash, then bake as directed in the recipe.  Let the bread cool if you can, then enjoy the process of eating it, strand by strand. 


  1. Looks beautiful! Glad it worked out with the dairy substitutions.

  2. It looks wonderfully soft!

  3. That's exciting to see that almond milk works so beautifully in place of cow's milk. Your bread looks wonderful. I really like your filling idea too. Cinnamon sugar must be delicious.

    (You are too kind about the badge.)

  4. Of course soy would work. Amazing how it really does resemble a wool roll or rolls of wool. Gorgeous loaf Pat. And yes it is surprisingly easy to shape; especially when it gives such a visible reward.

  5. I love the look of your thick yarn. Makes it easier to pull apart. Cinnamon sugar yes.

  6. That first picture is so tempting, fluffy bread bursting out of the baking tin! You just can't go wrong with cinnamon sugar. :)

  7. Stuffed or not - it looks like a lovely bread!

  8. You definitely achieved a soft and fluffy bread! Nice to know that those substitutions work just as well.