For me, the holidays were marked with a plethora of sweet desserts, sweet bread, chocolate, and of course, cookies. I craved a savory respite: something soft, a little buttery, salty, and something ushering in a new year with a unique flavor profile.
These savory sourdough rolls evolved over many trials, trying to home in on that savory flavor profile and soft texture I was after. The result was a versatile, naturally leavened dough paired with a savory filling that I could probably eat by the spoonful straight from a bowl. And the dough itself turned out to be a fantastic base for playing with many different savory filling options.
I gravitated toward a somewhat typical Italian pairing of ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and fresh thyme to fill these rolls. But I also found I liked grated cheddar cheese with a touch of fresh sage, Gruyère with herbs and chopped ham, or even the classic bacon, cheddar, and chive that always pleases. Because the dough has no sugar added, any savory combination would work well.
As is the case when I make enriched doughs that require rolling out to fill, it’s best to refrigerate the dough after bulk fermentation (its first rise) to make rolling and shaping easier. Once the dough is in the fridge and chilled, it can rest there for hours, or even until the next day, whatever works for your schedule. —Maurizio Leo