I initially made these pomegranate pull aparts as an experiment, inspired Food Junkie's Kumquat and Smoked Cheese Bread. I wasn't sure if the pomegranate could pull off the same effect, but they turned out to be just fantastic. The first time I made them was for a dinner party and I was surprised the overwhelming approval of this unconventional bread. Pomegranate is an interesting fruit because it can surprisingly pair well with many flavors. I decided to make these pull aparts as a tribute to my childhood, giving a nod to my mother who would often buy the brown-n-serve buns in a ready-to-heat tin for big family gatherings. Of course, this is my American mom, not my Greek father - who would only be caught purchasing artisan bread like the kind they have in every fournos or bakery in Greece, but he always took part in consuming these mass produced buns with no complaints. Although I could have tossed some pomegranate seeds and cheese on some ready-to-heat buns and called it a day, but I love bread way too much to do that.
Thanks to the new technology of Artisan bread in 5 minutes, I used the base recipe of one of my favorite Greek bloggers - Peter's of Kalofagas - for the dough of these rolls. This bread recipe is amazing. I will never go back to my 14 year old starter again, which I wouldn't be able to anyway after its traumatic death caused by being moved 40 miles from Hollywood to Huntington Beach. R.I.P.
I would have liked to use mestsovone, a smoked Greek cheese, in this recipe, but that is impossible to find in Portland, so I used Asiago instead. It worked brilliantly with the tangy pomegranate forming a perfect savory crust for the rolls. The color contrast was also nice. I would make these again for any Holiday party as the red pomegranate seeds are fun and festive.
Pomegranate and Cheese Pull Aparts
- 2 Tbsp. instant dry yeast
- 3 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 1/2 Tbsp course sea salt
- 6 cups all purpose flour (may not use all)
- Seeds from 1 large pomegranate
- 1 cup grated Asiago cheese
- In a large bowl, add salt, water and yeast. Allow yeast to activate for a couple of minutes. Add flour (you may not need all 6 cups) until dough is smooth but not sticky. Allow to sit with a loose towel on top for at least 2 hours, although ideally you should make the dough before you go to bed and bake it in the morning.
- When the dough is ready, sprinkle flour on a surface to mold the dough into rolls. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten the rolls as much as possible, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and top with grated cheese. Let rise for another 45 minutes.
- Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Once hot, bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for a a few minutes.