Delicious and pretty pull apart focaccia bread, using a homemade garlic and herb infused olive oil to flavour the dough and to brush the pan and the rolls. Make 7 large rolls.
This delicious garlic pull apart bread is one of my favourite sides for just about any meal. I love the fun shape, their light texture and their focaccia-like flavours.
Baked in a small rounds, these pretty rolls are tailer-made for family dinner sharing. A simple garlic and herb infused olive oil is used in the roll dough, to brush the pan and the top before baking, for a subtle, but lovely flavour.
These wonderful rolls are a great addition to any meal or to enjoy as a fantastic snack or appetizer. Enjoy your pull apart rolls warm with butter, with a balsamic and olive oil for dipping, or for a special treat, serve them warm with beer cheese dip!
These rolls are inspired by Ace Bakery’s™ Pull Apart Focaccia Rolls, which are sold frozen in my part of the world. I’ve also enjoyed a similar pull apart roll round as an appetizer at a local restaurant, where they are drizzled with garlic butter and served with warm beer cheese for dipping. It’s one of my favourites, so now I can enjoy it at home, as well :)
Yeast – You can either Active Dry yeast or regular Instant Yeast (such as SAF Brand) for these rolls. I haven’t tested these with quick or rapid-rise yeast. If that’s all you have on hand, you could try it, eliminating the first rising period and replacing with a 10-minute rest of the dough. Then just proceed to divide the dough and dough a rise before baking.
Olive Oil – Extra-virgin olive oil is recommended, for best flavour and results. If you don’t have olive oil, you can substitute vegetable/canola oil.
All-purpose flour – I recommended unbleached all-purpose flour, if you have it. Otherwise, regular bleached all-purpose flour is fine.
Dried Herbs – I’ve used dried herbs here and they are both most easily accessible, but also because fresh herbs have a tendency to burn when brushed on top of rolls. You can use any herbs you like. Rosemary is classic, or use a mixture of maybe dried basil, thyme and oregano, for an Italian twist. If you’d like to add colour without particularly adding flavour, go for dried parsley.
Garlic – fresh garlic provides the best flavour and I highly recommend it, if you can. Alternately, you could add some dried garlic to the infused oil.
You will also need – water, white sugar, salt.
- To achieve this size and shape of pull apart rolls, you will need a 6-inch round cake pan with 2-inch high sides. A 6-inch x 3-inch high cake pan would also work, though you wouldn’t get the same “muffin-top” effect. A 6-inch springform pan would work nicely, as well (but be sure to place it on a baking sheet so oil in the pan doesn’t leak out).If you don’t have either of these size of pans, I think my second choice would be an 8×4-inch loaf pan and do 8 rolls instead of the 7 (2 rows of 4).
- When placing the dough balls into a 6-inch baking pan, if you place the centre ball in first, you will get a flatter-top (without the centre roll popping up). Placing it in last will generally result it in rising higher than the outside rolls. It’s nice either way, just pointing it out in case you prefer one look over the other.
- I enjoy the garlic and herb infused olive oil, but you can certainly skip the garlic, if you like and just go with an herb infused oil. This would be especially nice if you want a classic focaccia-like roll, using just rosemary to infuse the oil and salting the tops.
- Save any left-over Garlic Herb Infused Oil, add some balsamic to it and use it to dip your rolls in!
- I’ve been tempted to introduce some cheese to the mix here a few times I’ve made them. I feel like Parmesan on top would be nice, but I haven’t tried it. I’m thinking it would need to be added later in the baking, as I suspect it might burn if sprinkled on top at the start. I’ve also toyed with hiding a chunk of cheese inside the dough balls. Again, I haven’t tried it yet, so I don’t know if it would affect the rise or anything. Just thinking out loud here :) Let me know if you try any of these ideas!
- You can make these rolls one at a time to go alongside your dinner, or double the recipe and make two rounds of rolls, one to enjoy right away and one to freeze to enjoy later!
Get the Recipe: Herb and Garlic Pull Apart Rolls
Herb and Garlic Infused Olive Oil:
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp dried herbs, see Note 2
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 cup (240 ml) lukewarm water, about 105F
- 1 tsp active dry or instant yeast, not quick/rapid-rise yeast
- 1 Tbsp white sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp Herb and Garlic Infused Olive Oil, or see Note 1
- 2 1/2 - 3 cups (300-360 g) all-purpose flour
For topping before baking:
- Herb and Garlic Infused Olive Oil
- Coarse salt
- Make the Herb and Garlic Infused Olive Oil by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir to combine, cover with plastic wrap, then set aside at room temperature while you make the dough.
- To make the dough, add the lukewarm water to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the kneading hook. Add the yeast and sugar and stir to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Add the salt and 2 Tbsp of the Garlic Herb Infused Olive Oil. *Be sure to spoon out the required amount, along with some of the herbs, but leave behind any pieces of garlic. Set aside the rest of the infused oil aside to use later to brush the pan and brush on top before baking). Add 1 cup of the all-purpose flour and mix to combine. Add another 1 cup of flour and mix in. Begin adding more flour, in smaller increments, mixing between additions, until the dough comes together into a fairly moist, but not sticky dough. the dough should wrap around the kneading hook and clean the bowl in spots. Use as much flour as you need to get to that point.
- Remove dough to a lightly floured surface and knead 1 minute, adding additional flour only if the dough is sticking to your hands or the work surface. Form dough into a ball and place into a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Remove dough to a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate. Divide dough into 7 equal pieces (I like to weigh the dough to try and get exactly equal-sized pieces). Form each piece into a ball.
- Brush a 6-inch x 2-inch high round cake pan generously with some of the Garlic Herb Infused Olive Oil. Place balls into the pan, placing 6 balls evenly around the outside and 1 ball in the centre. *Alternately, you can use an 8-inch round baking pan, placing the balls the same way, but there will be space between each and the dough will rise out to fill the space, rather than up. Another option is to use an 8x4-inch-ish loaf pan. Make 8 balls instead of 7, then place the balls into the greased loaf pan in 2 rows of 4 rolls.
- Cover baking pan with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400F. (not fan-assisted)
- When rolls have risen, remove plastic wrap. Brush the tops of the rolls generously with Garlic Herb Infused Oil. Sprinkle tops with some coarse salt.
- Bake in preheated oven to 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375F and bake an additional 15 minutes more. Check rolls and assuming they are already well-browned, place a piece of aluminum foil loosely over-top of the rolls, to prevent over-browning. If they aren't at risk of over-browning, you don't need to cover with foil. Bake an additional 8-10 minutes or until the internal temperature when tested in the centre is at least 200F. *Be sure to bake the full time. Even if they look done earlier, the centre of the round may still be quite moist. Err on the side of over-baking rather than under baking, covering with foil as needed to prevent over-browning.
- Remove from oven and immediately remove from the baking pan to a cooling rack to cool until just warm. You can also let cool completely and re-warm later by wrapping the whole round of rolls in foil and placing into a 350F oven until just warmed.
- The baked rolls will freeze well.
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Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!