Wool Roll Bread


I've spun quite a few yarns but one thing I've never done is make a bread that looks like a bunch of rolls of wool yarn. If this looks like it's going to be super hard and complicated, that's good-that's exactly what we want people to think. It'll be our little secret how simple and easy this technique is. Although it's great with a dark chocolate filling, this is really a technique recipe and video-this will work with just about any filling you can think of, like dried fruit, jams, custard, or go savory with cheese, meats, etc.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
45 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs 40 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 55 mins
1 loaf

The internet is still trying to decide who invented Wool Roll Bread. Until they figure it out, let's just credit the food blog Apron with unleashing this viral, spiral creation upon the world. Regardless of who the original creator was, this visually arresting loaf was destined to be shared (albeit reluctantly, since once you show someone how to make it, and they realize how easy it is to do, they're not quite as impressed with your skills).

Above and beyond how amazing this looks, what I love about the technique is that we can fill the center of each roll with pretty much anything we like. As usual, for demonstration purposes, I went very simple here with some chunks ofdark chocolate. But I'm looking forward to trying out some of my favorite dumpling and Asian-style bun fillingsin this.

Besides trying different things inside, as long as you can make the proper cuts, I don't see why this wouldn't work with almost any type of bread dough. Pizza wool roll bread, anyone? What I'm trying to say: You have lots of fun, creative, delicious work ahead of you, and I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

an almost pleated-looking ring of bread served on a plate with apple blossoms in the center
Chef John

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For the Water Roux Starter:

  • ½ cup water

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

For the Dough:

  • ½ cup whole milk, warmed

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast

  • 3 tablespoons white sugar

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • ½ cup dark chocolate chunks

  • 2 tablespoons whole milk


  1. To make "water roux," whisk together water and flour in a small saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium heat until a very hot, gluey paste is formed. Mixture should reach at least 150 degrees F (65 degrees C). Remove from heat and let cool completely.

  2. While roux cools, pour 1/2 cup warm milk and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer and let bloom for 10 minutes.

  3. Add the cooled starter, sugar, salt, beaten egg, flour, and butter to the yeast mixture. Using the dough hook, knead on low speed until a smooth, elastic, slightly sticky dough forms, about 10 minutes.

  4. Shape dough into a ball and transfer to a buttered bowl; let rise until doubled in size, 60 to 90 minutes.

  5. Transfer dough to work surface and press into a round disk. Use a bench scraper to cut dough like a pie, into 5 equal wedges. Form each portion into a ball of dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

  6. Generously butter a 10-inch springform pan, or 10-inch round cake pan. Cut a round piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom, place into the pan, and butter that as well. Set aside.

  7. Take one ball of dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface into an oblong shape, about 5 inches wide by 9 inches long. Take your bench scraper and make lots of lengthwise cuts, about 1/8 inch apart, starting 1/3 of the way from one of the ends, slicing all the way through the dough to the opposite end, forming many equal-sized strands of dough. When done, two-thirds of the dough will be sliced, and one-third will not be.

  8. Roll the unsliced part of the dough to flatten to 1/8-inch thickness. Place a rounded tablespoon of chocolate chunks (or the filling of your choice) in the center of the unsliced dough, and roll it up, tucking in the sides as you go, until the chocolate is covered, and you've reached the beginning of the cuts.

  9. Slowly roll up to form a "wool roll," being careful not to crush the sliced edges of the dough strands, finishing with the seam on the bottom. Transfer to the prepared pan, and place on the bottom, just barely touching the edge of the pan. Repeat four more times. Place the rolls around the inside of the pan to form a ring.

  10. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough double in size, 45 to 60 minutes.

  11. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  12. Brush the bread's surface lightly with remaining milk.

  13. Bake in the center of the preheated oven until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Chef's Note:

Bread flour will also work perfectly fine for this. You can use 1/2 teaspoon fine salt instead of kosher.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

222 Calories
6g Fat
37g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 222
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 26mg 9%
Sodium 160mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 5g
Calcium 30mg 2%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 115mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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