The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cheese Pockets

dmsnyder's picture

Cheese Pockets

Cheese pockets 1

Cheese pockets 1

Cheese Pockets cooling

Cheese Pockets cooling

When I was growing up, there was a Jewish bakery in town. It was quite excellent, and it really set my standard for Jewish breads and pastries. My favorite pastry was what they called "cheese pockets." I have found these in Jewish bakeries in L.A., and, in searching for recipes on the web, I found one on an Israeli food blog.  There, it is identified as Hungarian in origin. In Hungarian, they are called "Turos Taska." It turns out there is a similar Czech pastry, but all the links I could find were in Czech, which I don't read. I made the recipe I'd found a few months ago. I liked the filling, but the pastry just wasn't right.

 So, I described my memory of cheese pockets and asked our resident "Baker for over 25 years-----Ret," Norm (nbicomputers) if he had a formula that might resemble what I remembered. He generously responded in

Today, I undertook to make cheese pockets. I used Norm's formula for the dough and his procedure. I made a few substitutions because of the ingredients I had on hand with less than satisfactory results. To my good fortune, Norm was there for me, offering fixes and very gently explaining where I had gone wrong and exactly why. I highly recommend reading that topic to anyone who is still learning to bake better, which is, hopefully, everybody on this site! You can find a running account of my struggles and errors and how Norm bailed me out at

Here is the formula and procedures:

 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. (10 minutes in a KitchenAid 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 overproof!
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.



dstroy's picture

wow..those look mouth-watering! Looking forward to the review/formula!

weavershouse's picture

I knew you must have baked yet another great something and I would want to make it too. Those cheese pockets are gorgeous. I look forward to the recipe. I hope it's too hard and I won't want to try it : > )            weavershouse

dmsnyder's picture

The first piece I learned to play on the 12-string guitar was a Leadbelly show piece he sometimes called "So easy when you know how." I spent a summer just learning that one piece. (Well, to be truthful, I also was taking Chemisty 101 at Berkeley.) 

This recipe was "hard" only insofar as I didn't know what I was doing, really. By the end, because of Norm's frequent pointers, I had a much better understanding of sweet yeast doughs. While far from perfect, these pastries were a lot better than any of the sourdough breads I baked my first year. 

Sorry. You know you want to try it! :-) 


nbicomputers's picture

This was an interesting experince for me.

David  was making my formula and his first try at a sweet yeast product.  we were talking on this board back an forth during the whole baking process him on the west coast and me on the east.  not only were we talking but as he was baking the formula  so was I. we folowed each other step by step the thread is here

these are my picks i used sliced almonds and syryp wash on mine and there is a coffee cake that is still in the oven.

i will post them tomorow,

Pro Baker for over 25 years-----Ret

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Norm.

This whole experience was totally wonderful. It was a privelege to have the benefit of your guidance. I know I learned more today from you than I could have in months of reading books and trial and error baking on my own.

By the way, your coffee cake dough was a major hit with my wife. I expect my pastries are going to get consumed mostly as her mid-morning snacks at work.

Now, can you tell me just how you formed your pastries? I got so much oven spring, mine just opened up. You warned me so strongly about over-proofing, I think I under-proofed.


nbicomputers's picture

 i formed them using the method you outlind since i was trying to duplacate what you were doing.

make the pieces square and fold in the 4 corners to the center

they should get a big jump in the oven but i think this is what happened

1-you had to remix the dough which made it a bit tougher than it should be
2- under proof would cause even greater spring and would cause the opening effect that you saw becaus the dough has not relaxed anough and the gluten is still tight.

sweet doughs like this are rich and the final proof needs to be pushed (the yeast is realy working hard)

 have seen sweet doughs just stop in their tracks during final proof.  next time

mix with the padel untill about 95 percent of the dough is on the padle and only a few strands and very little dough is stuck to the bottom of the mixer bowl on a kitchen aid mixer set the speed between 2 and 4 .  i know that there realy is no speed 3 on the home machine (at least mine)but you can set it between speeds.
the change will be quick,  around the 7 minute mark the dough will sudenly (4 or 5 rotations) pull off the sides.  that does not mean it is ready i will take about another 3 or 4  minutes for full gluten development

then force the final proof by putting the pastries in a VERY warm place about 95 degrees and 95 % humidity that will realy get the yeast working and the final proof before baking will be quick

unlike bread we do not have to worry about the stone temp so put in the oven a pan of just boiled water for steam and turn the oven on at 200 for 1 or two minutes to get the temp to about 100 and then turn it off and put the pastries in the oven to proof.  when their almost 3/4 proof take them out to egg wash and top them

start the oven to 350 baking temp and let the pastries finish proof covered in the kitchen

dont allow anything to touch the top of the pastries because of the warm moist proof and the egg wash the tops will be sticky ( i find that fresh yeast is a little stronger than dry and will work better rich doughs like this, danish, babka and other rich doughs.

Pro Baker for over 25 years-----Ret

dmsnyder's picture

Thanks, Norm. 

These techniques are so different from those I'm accustomed to baking my usual breads. I've a lot more to learn, but that's one of the pleasures for me. 


dmsnyder's picture

Sunday cheese pocketsSunday cheese pockets

 Comics, cappucino and cheese pockets. Not a bad start to a Sunday. 


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Jitka.

Welcome to TFL!

Thank you for your message.

I have not made cheese pockets since these. They were my favorite pastry growing up. I have not found a recipe that made a dough like the one I remember, but I have little experience with enriched doughs.

The recipes I found for Czech cheese pastries all used cottage cheese. I am sure the ones I used to get were made with what we call "hoop cheese," which has almost no fat.

If you do make these, please let us know how they turn out.

You should introduce yourself to the general TFL group and tell us about your baking experience and interests.