Stuffed Bread Rolls… perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner and stress relief!

It was a tough week last week… mostly at work, since lately I am consumed by it. The house is in full disorder, the doggy needs grooming, I need to be paying bills and making arrangements for an upcoming vacation (SOO ready for it!). And I have one of those magical things that some people call a to-do list… when I check one thing out of it, five more things appear! How the heck does that happen?!?!?

Friday night, I came home with blood rushing through my veins, a red face and clenched jaw. Yes, sometimes work does that to you. Everybody has been there, once or twice—possibly per week. There are different ways that people react to stress and find different ways to deal with it… Let’s not discuss  the “reacting” part, but my options to deal with it are normally pretty tame.

Such as:

  • Take a walk with Tarchin (who would give his paw for a fast walk at any time of the day!)
  • Eat as much Nutella as I can, straight from the jar
  • Drink as much wine as I can, straight from the bottle
  • Cook something that reminds me of home to calm me down

Well, I wish I could say I did all of the above. But… I did not take a walk with Tarchin! Although he does not care whether it is  zero or a hundred degrees outside, I do! I love my 78-degree house! I love my Nutella and wine… and I love my grandma’s little bread rolls that are stuffed with ground beef… So first, I started unloading all my mental and emotional baggage from the workday onto my husband, Jay, as I was taking Nutella out of the pantry… as I was talking and eating at the same time, he showed me the wine bottle as if that would cure anything! Well, I really did not have anything to lose, I already had a bad headache… so why not! Bring it on!!

Then, Jay suggested that since cooking calms me down, I should focus on that and just think about what I would post this week.  Let’s just assume he did not have any hidden agenda involving what he will eat for dinner or lunch the next day, he just wants what is best for me! Which is calm and quiet… Right, honey??…

Then I started thinking about those little bread rolls, and I realized I want those little rolls!! I called my grandma to ask for the details. Yes, it was late here in the US, meaning it was already 3 am in Turkey. But it is Ramadan, and they were up for sahur which is the time people eat before they start their fast. (before sunrise, that is) And she explained everything step by step, and I kept saying, “yeah, hmm..yeah, yeah, hmmm”.. I guess that did not really satisfy her so when she was done, she said “Ok, now you repeat all the steps back to me to see if you got everything!” FYI: I remembered everything even after chocolate overdose!

Anyway… this dough turned out to be a little bit messier than I thought. After I made the dough with milk, water and flour, I waited for a couple of hours until it doubled in size. Then, worked one stick of melted and cooled unsalted butter into that dough by kneading. That took some work! This is where it gets messy.  I thought at one point the dough was going to end up in the trash bin because it did not look like it was coming together. 10 more minutes of kneading and lo and behold! It worked!! So, don’t give up if you ever want to make this.

So, I worked my workplace issues during that long kneading… I cursed, cried, broke down once, made peace with everything, decided to take a Vow of Silence in the office and be all Buddha about it! Then I made little rolls, stuffed them with ground beef and let them go for a 2nd rise in the pizza pan I have (I have cooked everything in that deep dish pizza pan but pizza!) while sipping chamomile tea.

Then, I brushed an egg yolk all over them, and put the pan in the preheated 400-degree oven. Cooked for 40 minutes or it is all golden brown both on the surface and on the bottom.

Eventually, this amount of dough yields 16 stuffed small breads.  My grandma and her long time friend Ruziye always use ground beef as filling. Next time, I will be a little bit more adventurous and try different fillings – cheese, veggies like sauted leeks or eggplant. Here is the recipe, the long time favorite of our family:- literally translated –  Little Breads! :)  (Grandma, you can go to sleep now, I am done with baking them.)

Stuffed Bread Rolls

  • 2.2 lbs unbleached all purpose flour (This equates to 1 kg of flour)
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick melted, cooled unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Water

Filling: For the filling, mix the ingredients below.

  • ~1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium size onion(grated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper

1. Make the dough with proofed yeast, milk , flour, salt and enough water (start with 1 cup and add gradually until the right consistency) until it is the consistency of an earlobe. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

2. Let it rise at a warm location for a couple of hours, until it doubles in size.

3. Melt and cool 1 stick of butter , then knead it into the dough until the butter is well integrated. (you might need to sprinkle the dough with flour from time to time to make it easy to work with it.)

4. After all the butter is gone (into the dough, that is), divide the dough up into 16 equal size portions.

5. Flatten each of them, put ~2 heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle, cover and make a smooth ball.

6. Place them in a well greased pan, half an inch apart. Cover with a damp towel and let it rise for another hour.

7. Brush egg yolk over them, cook for approximately 45 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven. This might change depending on the type of pan and your oven. If the bottom is not light golden brown, continue cooking.


  1. by Gokce
    4:23 am
    Sep 1, 2010

    They look delicious!

  2. by Kristin @ delishliving
    6:40 pm
    Sep 1, 2010

    um. those look amazing. nice work! i love the first picture too – it’s artsy!

  3. by Pinar
    2:23 am
    Sep 3, 2010

    It’d be nice to teleport some all the way to Finland :)

  4. by Lenis
    11:30 pm
    Jul 27, 2012

    So it’s late at night here in Pennsylvania and a litte like your story I felt stressed and a little down and for some reason I thought there must be a recipe with homemade dough stuffed with meat. I did find some that just asked for French bread to be hollowed out and a ground meat mixture stuffed in but I wanted something else, I kept looking and now here I am at 11:30 at night waiting for my rolls to come out the oven. I’m not a very experienced dough maker but feel like I’m close to the steps you gave here. Thank you for this awesome recipe, please, thank your grandma too!

  5. by Rebecca
    11:52 pm
    Oct 5, 2012

    Oh my! I Have been looking for a simple recipe for these and I love the pictures and the way you describe to make them! I will be making a batch for my friends tomorrow and I am so glad I found your recipe! thank you thank you thank you! I never realized you could make the stuffing raw… I always thought you had to cook it before. ^.^;;; thank you again!

  6. by Mary
    9:53 am
    Nov 12, 2012

    I have four lovely grandsons, two of whom are sneaky eaters and the other who loves his Mama’s veggie smoothies and anything she makes. One grandson turns down chicken nuggets. They love the treats that I have for them and bread. So how can I sneak meat and veggies into my baked goods that they will willingly eat?

    I am determined to get them to eat turkey this Thanksgiving, even if I must bake it into rolls!

    Sign me…one confused Nana.

  7. by Ilke
    9:57 am
    Nov 12, 2012

    Turkey in these rolls sound perfect. I should remember it as well with the leftovers:)

  8. by Linda
    5:52 pm
    Dec 17, 2012

    My mother-in-law passed away suddenly this past September at the age of 65. She always made these amazing meat-filled buns every Christmas, but it was a guarded secret that she was not going to part with until she no longer wanted to make them. We all anticipated their arrival every year! She did manage to list her ingredients for the filling before she died, but I had no idea how to make the dough, or assemble them. Thanks to your recipe, I will now be able to continue her tradition for the family. (I will be writing it down though!) Thank-you so much! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  9. by april
    8:15 pm
    Dec 16, 2013

    what a nice story to stumble upon while trying to find recipe for my husband……memories are one of the main things that get us thru the hard times….so from me to you thank you for sharing yours….GREAT JOB…PUT A SMILE ON MY FACE AND I NEEDED IT….THANK U

  10. by Ilke
    8:46 pm
    Dec 16, 2013

    Thank you April, it is nice to know someone else is on the same page :) Glad you enjoyed.

  11. by Dawn
    7:34 pm
    Jan 14, 2014

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. I’ve been seeking an easy way to make stuffed bread rolls! I love this. My only alteration is that I do not eat meat so for the filling I minced 1 sweet onion, Shredded Carrots, Red Cabbage, Sprouts sauteed in Olive Oil, a small pinch of brown sugar, cayenne, and tuscan spices. OMG, the taste and feel are incredible! perfect recipe for a lazy dinner for 2!

  12. by Ilke
    3:23 pm
    Jan 19, 2014

    That is very good filling, have to keep that in mind!
    Thanks Dawn!

  13. by Natasja
    8:44 pm
    Apr 14, 2014

    Perfect for a working person. I made the dough before I leave for work, let it rise while I’m out and then make the filling and cook when I get home.
    The only difference is that I tend to get much more than 16, but I guess that’s what leftovers are for.

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