Filled Wool Roll
Filled Wool Roll Bread

Filled Wool Roll Bread

This appropriately named loaf resembles a roll of wool, but despite its intricate appearance, it couldn’t be easier to make. We turned to our bread flour-based Japanese Milk Bread recipe for the soft, pillowy base for this gorgeous bread. While filling combinations are limitless, we find that pairing the dough with sweetened cream cheese studded with raspberries and lemon zest not only keeps things fresh and light, but makes this wool roll bread downright delicious!

Note: To save a bit of time, make a supply of tangzhong starter up to five days ahead; see “tips,” below, for the details.


40 mins
28 to 32 mins
4 hrs 30 mins
9” round loaf
Filled Wool Roll - select to zoom
Filled Wool Roll - select to zoom
Filled Wool Roll - select to zoom
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  1. To make the tangzhong: Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.

  2. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook the mixture, stirring regularly, until thickened, paste-like, and the spoon or spatula leaves lines on the bottom of the pan. This should take 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the strength of your burner.

    Perfectly Pillowy Cinnamon Rolls – Step 2
  3. Remove the tangzhong from the heat and transfer it to a large mixing bowl, the bowl of a stand mixer, or the bucket of a bread machine (whatever you plan to knead the dough in).

  4. To make the dough: Add the milk on top of the hot tangzhong; it will help cool the dough to lukewarm. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Add the flour and remaining dough ingredients. Mix to combine, then knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until a soft, smooth dough forms, about 8 to 10 minutes on medium-low speed of a mixer. (The dough may be tacky and stick to the sides of the bowl slightly; that's OK.)

    Filled Wool Roll – Step 5
  5. Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest in a lightly greased bowl, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.

    Filled Wool Roll – Step 6
  6. To make the filling: Combine the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, and salt, mixing until smooth.

  7. Add the freeze-dried raspberries and flour, mixing until the berries are completely crushed and evenly distributed.

    Filled Wool Roll – Step 8
  8. To assemble: On a lightly floured surface, gently deflate the dough, divide it into four pieces (about 170g each), and shape each piece into a ball.

    Filled Wool Roll – Step 9
  9. Cover the dough and let rest for 10 minutes.

  10. Line a 9" springform or a 9" round cake pan (at least 2" deep) with parchment and lightly grease the parchment.

  11. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it into a 6" x 12" rectangle. If the dough begins to snap back during rolling, set it aside and begin rolling out the second piece. Return to the first piece to continue rolling it to the full size after a couple of minutes, giving the gluten a chance to relax.

  12. Portion a quarter of the filling (about 2 heaping tablespoons of filling or 50g) onto the top half of the rectangle. A tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.

    Filled Wool Roll – Step 13
  13. Position the rectangle so its 12" sides are vertical. Starting at the top, spread the filling across the entire width of the rectangle (leaving about 1/4" bare on each side) and down about 6" or 7", leaving the bottom 5" to 6" bare. If the filling is difficult to spread, warm it in the microwave for 15 seconds and stir; check the consistency. Repeat, if necessary, until it's an easily spreadable consistency.

    Filled Wool Roll – Step 14
  14. Using a bench or chef’s knife, cut the uncovered dough at the bottom into very thin strips (anywhere from 1/8" to 1/4" wide).

    Filled Wool Roll – Step 15
  15. Fold the long edges of the rectangle in to prevent any filling from seeping out and pat them gently to flatten.

    Filled Wool Roll – Step 16
  16. Starting from the filling-covered top and rolling toward the uncovered strips, roll the dough into a log about 6" long.

    Filled Wool Roll – Step 17
  17. Lightly press the strips into the rolled log to secure. Place the log, seam-side down, into the bottom of the pan so it's snuggled up against the pan’s outside edge.

    Filled Wool Roll – Step 18
  18. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, placing them into the pan to form a complete circle around the pan’s outside edge.

    Filled Wool Roll – Step 19
  19. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  20. Cover the wool roll and let it rise for 60 to 75 minutes, until puffy.

  21. To finish and bake the roll: Brush the roll with milk, being careful not to deflate the delicate dough.

    Filled Wool Roll – Step 22
  22. Bake it for 28 to 32 minutes, until it’s golden brown on top; a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf should read at least 190°F.

    Filled Wool Roll – Step 23
  23. Remove the roll from the oven and cool it in the pan until you can transfer it safely to a rack to cool completely.

    Filled Wool Roll – Step 24
  24. Storage information: Store leftover wool roll bread, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days.

Tips from our Bakers

  • The tangzhong starter can be made ahead of time. Simply cook it up (making a double, triple, or quadruple batch if you like, for future use) as instructed in steps 1 – 3. Remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl, pressing a layer of plastic wrap over the top of the mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature then store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to five days. When you're ready to bake your Wool Roll Bread, add the tanzghong to the dough. (If you've made a big batch of tangzhong, use a heaping 1/3 cup (95g) for a single batch of dough.) Use warm milk when mixing the remaining dough ingredients; proceed with the recipe from step 4.

  • Let your culinary imagination run wild with this recipe, since the sky is the limit for filling combinations. Cinnamon sugar? Chocolate? Butter and garlic? Pesto and cheese? Whether you go sweet or savory, don’t overload your bread with filling. Less is definitely more when working with this soft, pillowy dough.