Pancetta, Parmesan and Rosemary Pinwheel Rolls

Thoggs Review: I don’t think he could talk whilst cramming his mouth that full. Brought these over for the NYE party last night. They were decimated. My sister had 4 by herself. They’re really that good. Less greasy than rolls made with pastry dough. Chewy on the inside, a little crisp and golden on the outside. These will be made again and again. I think I have a new favorite to put into my baking rotation.

This recipe is very easy to modify. Use cheddar and bacon. Add some different herbs. Try using butter, cinnamon and sugar and then adding some chopped nuts and/or dried fruit to make a cinnamon roll that is more chewy and bready than one made with pastry dough. You can try substituting some milk for the water in the bread recipe to make a softer dough. Adding a bit of oil to the bread dough will help make it softer too.


  • 1 basic bread recipe: You can either use this amount of yeast and do a 2-4 hour rise at room temp or do an overnight version by cutting the yeast down to 1/2 tsp. Overnight bread can be mixed together with a spoon until the large lumps are gone and then left alone. The long rise time gives it a wonderful flavor and no kneading is necessary. Just make it late at night so the rise is only 10-12 hours.
  • 1x 4oz. package of pre-diced pancetta. I know you can find this at TJ’s
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 cup of finely grated parmesan – do yourself a favor and get some good stuff.
  • Olive oil for brushing or olive oil cooking spray


  • In a heavy walled skillet over medium-low heat start cooking down the pancetta. We want to render the fat out but not crisp it. Finely chop the rosemary leaves and add them to the pancetta. Cook until most of the fat as cooked out. Remove from heat and set aside to let cool.
  • After letting the bread rise until it has doubled, punch it down and generously flour the top. Heavily flour a large surface (pastry mat, granite counter, etc) and then form the gluten cloak by pinching the sides of the bread and gathering it to the center, turning it as you go. Pinch the gathered seams and give it a twist to close. Place it seam
    side down on the floured surface. Flour the top and flatten it out by hand a bit. Leave it 10 minutes to rest.
  • After resting rotate the bread 90 degrees to keep it from sticking and add more flour if necessary to both the top and bottom. Using a rolling pin flatten it out to about 9×12 inches. Make sure to check often and flour underneath so it doesn’t stick. I like to rotate the bread 90 degrees every time rather than turning the rolling pin, this helps. When the bread gets thin and you worry about ruining the shape you can partially roll it over the pin and use that to pick it up and flip it.
  • Evenly apply the cooled pancetta in a thin layer over the bread, bringing it out to the edges except for along 1 of the edges. Along one of the 12 inch edges, leave about a 3/4 or 1 inch border.
  • Sprinkle parmesan over the pancetta layer, again leaving the border along the one side. Gently roll the dough over on itself until you have a log and all the filling is inside. Wet the border that has no parm-pancetta and gently push to pinch and seal it.
  • Place the sealed edge along the bottom. Using olive oil and a food safe brush (you can use an olive oil sprayer) brush the surface of the log. Flip to brush the bottom too.
  • Using a sharp knife lightly brushed with oil cut the log into 12 equal portions. Place the pinwheels several inches apart along a large baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper. Brush or spray the tops of the pinwheels with a little more olive oil. This will give a golden and slightly crisp top.
  • Heat your oven to 400 degrees, place a broiler tray or another baking tray on the bottom rack. Place the tray of pinwheels in a draft free place and let rise until doubled or more in size. Once they are very puffy place them in the oven in the middle rack. On the bottom rack place a broiler tray or another baking tray. Pour 1/2 a cup of water into the bottom tray to make steam.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or more. I didn’t keep track of time, I just kept looking through the oven window, so this is a guess. They’ll be done when they’re golden on top.

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