Savory Mozzarella Garlic Rolls

Savory Mozzarella Garlic Rolls

  • Author: Lauren
  • Prep Time: 9 hours (lots of inactive time)
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 9 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12 rolls
  • Category: breads


Soft, tender rolls layered with gooey mozzarella, tangy parmesan, parsley, garlic and butter.  Serve with pasta sauce for the ultimate Savory Mozzarella Garlic Roll appetizer or alongside your favorite Italian meal.



  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast (one packet)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 cup all purpose flour, plus a little extra for rolling out the dough
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • additional butter or shortening for greasing the bowl


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 ounces fresh grated whole milk mozzarella cheese, about 2 cups¹
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 ½ tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley paste²
  • Optional: 1 ½ cups pasta sauce for dipping


For the dough:

  1. Warm the milk and water in a small saucepan over low heat to about 100°F.  If you don’t have a thermometer, the milk should be warm enough you can hold your fingertip in it.  If the liquid is too warm it will kill the yeast.
  2. Remove the saucepan from heat and sprinkle the liquid with the yeast and a pinch of the sugar from the 2 tablespoons.  Do not stir.  Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk together the butter and egg yolk, then whisk into the milk and yeast mixture.  Set aside.
  4. In the standing mixer, combine the flour, sugar and salt.  Stir to combine.  Using the bread hook, on low speed slowly add in the wet ingredients.  Once incorporated, increase the speed to medium low (#4 on a Kitchenaid mixer) for 2 full minutes.  The dough will be tacky and may require scraping from the bottom of the bowl, but should pull away from the sides.
  5. Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl.  Vegetable shortening or unsalted butter is perfect for lightly greasing the bowl.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Place in a preheated 200°F oven, with the oven off and the door slightly cracked.  Let rise until double in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour, then transfer to the fridge to proof overnight (or for a minimum of 4 hours.)
  7. After resting, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle with ¼” thickness.
  8. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, garlic and parsley paste.  Brush the dough evenly with he mixture, using all of it.  Sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  9. Roll the dough to form one long cylinder, brushing the very edge with melted butter or water to seal it.  Cut the rolls 2 to 2 ½ inches thick and place in a greased 9×13 baking dish.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350°F with the baking dish on the stove top, covered with a linen towel.  Let rise until double in size, about 30 minutes.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.
  11. Serve right away or if serving later, reheat until warm before serving.  Optional: serve alongside a bowl of your favorite pasta sauce for dipping.


¹Fresh grated mozzarella is going to be the meltiest, gooiest option.  You can absolutely substitute a pre-shredded version, but it may not melt 100%.  There’s just something about pre-shredded cheese that does that.

²Parsley paste is a God send.  Instead of buying a whole bunch of parsley and using a quarter of it while the rest goes bad over the next week, you can use just what you need without making a mess and the paste keeps in the fridge for much longer.

Directions for making without a standing mixer:  Once you have the milk/yeast/butter mixture set aside, combine the dry ingredients minus ¼ cup of flour in a large bowl.  Because you’re working on a floured surface the dough will take in more flour.  Make a well in the center and stir in the wet ingredients until it forms a sticky mixture.  Turn out onto a floured surface and knead about 6 to 7 minutes until it is elastic.  Shape into a ball and follow the remaining instructions above.

Tip for ‘double in size’: For the first rise, trace the shape of the dough in permanent marker on the plastic wrap.  That way you can tell for certain the dough is double in size.  If it has doubled before the 45 minute time period, remove it and follow the remaining instructions.

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