Cheesy garlic rolls

The perfect pairing for soup, pasta and more!

Taking a few extra minutes to start your dough off by making a sponge is what sets these rolls apart. By combining the yeast, sugar, water and some of the flour, the yeast will activate fully so the product will rise better; in addition, the resulting dough will be more elastic, have better flavour and a vastly improved, fluffier texture and crumb. Using olive oil also helps to make the dough tastier and contributes to the smoother texture that makes these rolls so outstanding.


  • 1 cup (250 mL) warm water
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil, plus a bit more for brushing
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cups (435 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (25 mL) melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) finely minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) chopped fresh Italian parsley


  • Make the sponge by combining the water, yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup (125 mL) of flour a large bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest in a warm place for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Add salt, olive oil and egg to the sponge. Mix thoroughly then stir in remaining 1 3/4 cups (435 mL) flour. This will form a shaggy, somewhat sticky dough that can be pulled away from the side of the bowl.
  • Cover with the bowl with the same towel you used before and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • With your clean fist, punch down the dough and pull it away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with more flour and shape into a rectangle. With your hands or a rolling pin, flatten the dough out into a rectangle approximately 10 x 12 inches (25 – 30 cm) in size inch rectangle, about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick. Leaving a one-inch (2.5 cm) border on the long edge that is furthest away from you, brush the dough with melted butter; sprinkle with garlic, 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the Parmesan cheese, pepper and parsley.
  • Starting with the long end that’s closest to you, roll the dough evenly into a log, pressing down at the end to seal the edge of the log.
  • With a large, sharp knife, cut the log into 12 rolls. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut side up.
  • Brush each roll with olive oil. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Cover loosely with the clean towel and let rise 30 minutes then start preheating oven to 400F.

  • Bake in preheated oven until the tops are golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before serving. Rolls are delicious warm or at room temperature. Leftover (unlikely) can be frozen.

Makes 12 irresistible rolls.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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