The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cheese Pockets

dmsnyder's picture

Cheese Pockets

It was 1 year ago that I last made cheese pockets. I've been good, even if the scale disagrees. So, prompted by Norm's posting his Crumb Buns, I made my annual indulgence. 

These are made with a sweet, coffee cake dough and filled with a mixture that is mostly hoop cheese, which is a non-fat cheese somewhat similar to ricotta. (Recipe follows.) For some background on these pastries, please surf to my previous blog entry:

I won't repeat all the history, but I will mention of few differences in this bake which resulted from my prior experience and helpful tips from Norm (nbicomputers). But, first, the recipe:

Cheese Pockets

Coffee Cake Dough (Formula thanks to Norm)
Sugar                                     4 oz (1/2 cup)
Sea Salt                                  1/4 oz (1 1/2 tsp, or table salt 1 tsp)
Milk Powder (skim)                   1 oz (3 T)
Butter or Shortening                  4 oz (8 T or 1/2 cup)
Egg yolk                                  1 oz (1 large egg's yolk)
Large eggs                              3 oz (2 eggs)
Yeast (fresh)                            1 1/4 oz (or 3 3/4 tsp instant yeast = 0.4 oz)
Water                                      8 oz (1 cup)
Vanilla                                     1/4 oz (2/3 tsp)
Cardamom                               1/16 oz (1/2 tsp)
Cake Flour                               4 oz (7/8 cup)
Bread Flour                              13 oz (2 3/4 cups)

Other flavors can be added such as lemon or orange rind grated

Note: Using other size eggs or other flours will result in substantial changes in the dough consistency require adjustments in flour or water amounts.

Cheese Filling 
Hoop cheese or Farmer's cheese 12 oz
Sour Cream                              1/4 cup
Sugar                                       2 T
Flour                                        2 T
Egg                                          1 large
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated

Mix all ingredients well. Refrigerate until needed, up to 24 hours.

Egg Wash
Beat 1 egg with 1 T water

Streusel Topping 
Sugar (all white, or part brown) 2 oz (4 T)
Butter                                    2 oz (4 T)
All purpose flour                     4 oz
Cinnamon                              1/2 tsp. 

1. Cream the sugar and butter. 
2. Add the flour and mix with your fingers, rubbing the ingredients to a coarse crumb. (This can also be done entirely in a food processor.)

Mixing and Fermenting the Dough
1. Mix the sugar, butter or shortening, salt and milk powder to a paste.
2. Add the eggsbeaten with the vanilla and cardamom and stir.
3. If using powdered yeast, mix it with part of the water. If using cake yeast, crumble it in with the flour.
4. Add the water (the part without the yeast, if using powdered yeast, otherwise all of it),  cardamom and vanilla.
5. Add the flour. (If using powdered yeast, add the yeast-water now. If using cake yeast, crumble it on top of the flour now.)
6. Mix well into a smooth, soft dough. (20+ minutes in a KitchenAid at Speed 3 using the paddle.) The dough should form a ball on the paddle and clean the sides of the bowl.
7. Cover the dough and let it rise to double size. (2 1/2-3 hours at 60F.)
8. Punch down the dough, and allow it to rest 10-20 minutes.

Making up the Pastries
1. Divide the dough into 2.25 oz pieces and roll each into a ball. (My dough made 18 pieces weighing 2.35 oz each.)
2. Place dough pieces on a sheet pan or your bench. (I used a lightly floured marble slab.)
3. Stretch or roll out each piece into a square, 4 inches on a side. 
4. Take each dough piece and press the middle with a round,  hard object such as the bottom of a small measuring cup to form a depression in the center.
5. Place about 1 T of cheese filling in the center of each piece.
6. Take each corner of the square pieces and fold 3/4 of the way to the center, pinching the adjacent edges of the folded dough together to seal the seams. (See Note)
7. Cover and allow to rise to 3/4 double. (30-40 minutes at 70F.) Do not underproof! 
8.  Brush the top dough of each pastry with egg wash. Do not get egg wash on the exposed cheese filling.
9. Sprinkle streusel over each pastry.

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Bake pasties on parchment lined  sheet pan until golden brown. (25-35 minutes)
3. When pastries are cooled a little, sift confectioner's sugar over each, if desired.

Note: The pastries can be refrigerated overnight or frozen at this point. If refrigerated, allow them to rise at room temperature to 3/4 double, and proceed as above. If frozen, thaw at room temperature, allow to rise to 3/4 double, and proceed as above.

One thing I learned last time was that under-proofing these pastries results in exuberant oven spring, with the pastries bursting open. So, I really proofed these puppies. Maybe a little bit more than was necessary. But maybe not.

Another thing I changed was to pick up on a suggestion for speeding up proofing by putting the made-up pastries in a humidified, warm oven. I found that my KitchenAid conventional/convection oven has a proofing setting! It is actually a "dehydrating" setting, but I set it for 100F and put a pan of just-boiled water in to create a humid environment. This probably cut my proofing time in half, compared to my 70F kitchen.

As you can see, the pastries had just a bit of oven spring, which is good in this case, and they did not burst, which is also good.

Previously, I had topped the pastries with streusel. This time, I just egg washed them and sprinkled on a few sliced almonds. I skipped the painting with syrup to make them shiny. So, I could tell my wife these are the "low-cal version."

I had only one for dessert. Pretty good stuff. It will be even better with coffee for breakfast.




nbicomputers's picture

nice looking stuff

i am glad you made them because now if you make the bun formula you will realy see what a small change in a formula will do when you handle and bake the other dough

dmsnyder's picture

I'll do something with the bun formula next time I make something with a sweet dough.

BTW, this time I used all Giusto's Baker's Choice flour. And I was patient with the mixing. It took around 30 minutes for full development running the KA mixer at Speed 3, and sometimes Speed 4. As you had said, it seems like it will never come together. Then it does.


nbicomputers's picture

if your watching the mixer it's kind of magicial one second it's a sloppy mess and in the blink of an eye (after that 30 minutes) it all comes off the bowl and grabs the paddle.

xaipete's picture

That's a lot of time. Thanks for letting us know that. --Pamela

trailrunner's picture

And here I am with my coffee and that picture....sigh...those look SO good. Can I use ricotta cheese that has been drained in cheesecloth in place of hoop ? We can't get anything like that here. They sure look yummy  David ! c

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Caroline.

If you do a search on "cheese pockets" on TFL, you will find some discussion of the cheese options, as I recall.

The short answer is, "Yes. You could use ricotta, but it would be different." The most easily accessible close substitute might be no-fat cottage cheese pushed through a strainer.


Floydm's picture

Yum.  Those look like *exactly* what I'd like to be eating for breakfast right now.

sara lee's picture
sara lee

These cheese pockets look wonderful, yummy yummy, I wish if I can have one right now. Thank you David for sharing your pockets with us.

And I have a question :

Why mix cake flour with bread flour?


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Sara.

Norm is trying to achieve a specific protein percentage by mixing flours. However, as you know, different bread flours as well as AP, pastry flour have no standard percent protein, except relative to each other. So, for example, if your AP flour has the percent protein that the formula is trying to achieve, you could use all AP flour.

I hope Norm adds his own answer.


nbicomputers's picture

your spot on david

i w;ill add that tha softer cake flour has a higher starch content as well so it is not only the gluten but increassing the amount of starch as well

also the cake flour (also known as hi ratio cake flour) can hold more sugar and liqued in emulsion than bread flour

dmsnyder's picture

So, there are additional virtues to using cake flour. Interesting!


SylviaH's picture

My there are a lot of sweet tooth's around lately!  This recipe will certainly be enjoyed.  Thank you for taking the time to write it all out.  Pretty and tasty enough looking to go behind the glass in the pastry shop!


dmsnyder's picture

If you make them, let us see some pictures and hear how you like them.


sara lee's picture
sara lee

Thank you David, thank you Norm, but foregive me, I still don't understand what is the benefit of adding cake flour to bread flour, what does it do to the dough,


nbicomputers's picture

the combination of flours will reduce the total proten content and increase the amout of starch in the dough resulting in a strong but tender dough that will roll out with out pulling back and be easy to shape

the starch will also make a tender crumb but still be chewy with a nice mouth feal the crust will be thin soft and tender with no crunch or resentance when bitten into

also just as boilling bagles turns the starch into gellatin'

the increased starch content in the dough will gellatenize when baked resulting in a very soft finished baked product that will melt in the mouth  but just like a bagel it will stale fast so a dough such as the bun dough i posted is best eaten tha day it is made or if not consumed with 3 days frezz the baked product as soon as it is cool enough to go in to the frezzer.

the only to realy see the changes it makes is to make the dough with all strong bread flour and then make the dough with the blend shape and bake the doughs the same and look and eat the results.


Janedo's picture

Ah gee, I'm looking at this before breakfast!!! They look really nice. I think I'd try it with T55. I haven't done any sweet bread baking in ages.


sara lee's picture
sara lee

Thanks Norm for the information, now I understand the wisdom behind mixing the two flours,


dbswllm's picture
dbswllm Here is a link on the whole flour thing. What I have also seen recommended is to use a flour such as Martha White which is lower protein.