Brie & cranberry stuffed dough balls make the perfect Christmas snack! Made with a tangzhong, these are light, fluffy & super cheesy.

This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no extra cost you. For more information, click here.

brie & cranberry dough balls

These brie & cranberry dough balls make a great festive starter, snack or side dish! Made with an enriched tangzhong dough, this bread is soft & fluffy, stuffed with creamy brie & sweet cranberry sauce then topped with sesame seeds.

This recipe makes a batch of 12 generously sized dough balls. For even more flavour, the bread is also brushed with melted butter & fresh thyme, once baked. An easy recipe to make with fantastic results!

Using A Tangzhong For The Fluffiest Bread

Using a tangzhong is the secret to making the softest, fluffiest bread! This is an Asian technique where a small portion of the flour & liquid in a bread recipe is pre cooked in a saucepan, to make a thick paste (like a roux). This paste is then cooled down & incorporated into the dough along with the other ingredients.

To make these bread rolls even fluffier, we are making them with half milk & half water, plus we’re using butter & egg to enrich the dough. All of these techniques combined makes the softest ever dough balls!

brie & cranberry dough balls

What You’ll Need

  • Brie
    A good brie makes all the difference here! You’ll need 180g, cut into 12 pieces.
  • Cranberry Sauce
    Each dough ball gets stuffed with half a teaspoon of cranberry sauce. This can be homemade or shop bought.
  • Sesame Seeds
    We’re adding a sprinkling of sesame seeds to the top of our dough balls for some added crunch. Feel free to leave these out, if you’d prefer.
  • White Bread Flour
    A strong white bread flour is needed for this recipe. Your flour should have a protein content of around 13%. I use a Canadian white bread flour from Shipton Mill.
  • Butter
    We’re adding softened butter to our dough & brushing melted on top of the cooked bread. Make sure to use unsalted butter!
  • Dried Active Yeast
    For the best results, I recommend using dried active yeast instead of instant/fast action. This needs activating in warm milk/water before adding to the dough.
  • Whole Milk
    For a softer, richer dough, we’re using whole milk. If you’ve only got semi skimmed milk, this will work as well.
  • Salt
    A good quality sea salt works best here. I like to use Maldon.
  • Milk Powder
    Adding a teaspoon of milk powder is optional but gives the bread a golden colour & softer texture.

How To Make Brie & Cranberry Dough Balls

The full, printable recipe card for these dough balls can be found at the bottom of this post!

Step 1 – Making The Tangzhong

First, we need to make the tangzhong. To do this, place strong white bread flour, whole milk & water into a small saucepan. Whisk this together then cook over a low heat until thick, stirring constantly.

Transfer this to a bowl & leave to cool to room temperature.

tangzhong

Step 2 – Mixing The Dough

Before mixing the dough, first whisk together warm milk, water & the dried active yeast. Leave this somewhere warm for 5-10 minutes, until bubbly.

Next, place flour, salt, sugar, milk powder, an egg, olive oil, the cooled down tangzhong & activated yeast mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook, mix the dough until it starts to come away from the sides of the bowl. This will take around 5 minutes.

With the mixer still running, add in room temperature butter a small amount at a time then continue mixing until the dough passes the windowpane test.

tangzhong dough

Step 3 – First Rise

Leave the dough to rise at room temperature for 1-1½ hours, until it has doubled in size.

gluten development

Step 4 – Shaping

Once doubled in size, knock the dough back then transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Use a dough knife to cut the dough into 12 equal pieces (each will weigh around 60g).

Next, take a ball of dough & flatten slightly. Place ½ tsp of cranberry sauce into the centre then top with a piece of brie. Fold the dough’s sides up & over the cheese, to seal completely then flip the dough over & shape into a ball with your hands. Place into a lined baking tray, seam side down then repeat with the remaining dough.

Step 5 – Final Rise

When all the dough has been shaped, cover the baking tray loosely with clingfilm then leave to rise at room temperature for 1 hour. Once proved, the dough balls will be well risen & will just be touching each other.

proved dough balls

Step 6 – Baking

Next, brush the top of the dough balls with egg wash, sprinkle over sesame seeds then bake for 25-30 minutes @ 180°c/160°c fan (350°f/320°f). Once baked, brush the bread all over with melted butter & thyme.

Leave to cool slightly then serve.

brie & cranberry dough balls

The Windowpane Test

The best way to assess the gluten development in your dough is by using the windowpane test.
Here, you take a small piece of dough & stretch it between your fingers. If it stretches thin enough so that you are able to see through it, enough gluten has been developed. If it tears, more kneading is required.

How To Reheat Dough Balls

Although this bread is best eaten fresh, if you happen to have any leftover, store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, either wrap the baking tin with foil & place into a low temperature oven (around 160°c/320°f) for 10-15 minutes. Or, place the bread onto a plate & microwave for 20-30 seconds or until warm.

Cooking Dough Balls In An Aga

With all of my recipes, I include cooking instructions for conventional ovens, fan ovens & also Agas.

To cook these brie & cranberry stuffed dough balls in an Aga, place them on the bottom set of runners in the baking oven & cook as per the recipe.

Equipment Used

Please note that these are affiliate links & I may make a small commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no extra cost to you. For more information, click here.

More Bread Recipes To Try!

If you have enjoyed this brie & cranberry dough balls recipe, it would mean a lot if you could leave a review & rating!

brie & cranberry dough balls
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Brie & Cranberry Dough Balls

Brie & cranberry stuffed dough balls make the perfect Christmas snack! Made with a tangzhong, these are light, fluffy & super cheesy.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Proving Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 55 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Bread, Lunch, Snack
Cuisine: English
Servings: 12 Dough Balls

Equipment

  • Digital Scales
  • Digital Food Probe
  • Stand Mixer
  • Dough Scraper
  • Metal Bench Knife
  • 9" x 12" Baking Tin
  • Pastry Brush
  • Palette Knife

Ingredients

Tangzhong

  • 20 g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 40 g Whole Milk
  • 40 g Water

The Dough

  • 380 g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 85 g Whole Milk
  • 85 g Water
  • 7 g Dried Active Yeast
  • 8 g Maldon Salt
  • 15 g Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp Milk Powder
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 30 g Unsalted Butter At Room Temperature

To Stuff

  • 180 g Brie
  • 120 g Cranberry Sauce

Egg Wash & Topping

  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 tsp Whole Milk
  • 1 tsp Sesame Seeds

To Finish

  • 25 g Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tsp Thyme Leaves

Instructions

Tangzhong

  • Place the flour, milk & water into a small saucepan & whisk to combine. Cook over a low heat until you have a thick paste, stirring constantly with a spatula.
    Transfer to a bowl & leave to cool to room temperature.

Dough

  • Next, place the milk & water into a jug & warm in a microwave to 38°c/100°f (alternatively you could heat this up in a saucepan then transfer to a jug), then whisk in the yeast & leave to go bubbly, 5-10 minutes.
  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, salt, sugar, milk powder, egg, oil & the cooled down tangzhong. Give the activated yeast a whisk then add to the bowl.
    Using the dough hook, knead the dough on a medium speed until smooth & starting to come away from the sides of the bowl, around 5 minutes.
  • With the mixer still going, add in the butter a small amount at a time, incorporating each piece fully before adding more. Once all the butter has been incorporated, keep mixing until the dough passes the window pane test, this will take roughly 5-10 minutes.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm or a tea towel & leave to double in size at room temperature, 1-1½ hours.
  • In the meantime, cut the brie into 12 equally sized pieces then place in the fridge.
  • Grease & line a 9" x 12" baking tin.
  • Once risen, knock the dough back then transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Using a metal bench knife, portion the dough into 12 equal pieces. They will weigh around 60g each.
  • Take a piece of dough & flatten slightly. Place ½ tsp of cranberry sauce into the centre then top with a piece of brie.
    Fold the sides of dough up & over the cheese (so that the filling is completely covered) then flip the dough upside down & use your hands to shape into a ball.
    Place seam side down into the baking tin.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough. In your baking tin, you should have four rows of three dough balls. Make sure that they are spaced equally apart.
  • Cover the tin loosely with clingfilm & leave to rise at room temperature for 1 hour. The dough should have risen & the dough balls will just be touching.
  • In the meantime, preheat an oven to 180°c/160°c fan (350°f/320°f).
  • Once the dough is well risen, whisk together the egg & milk for the egg wash. Brush this all over the top of the dough then sprinkle over the sesame seeds.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until a deep golden brown.
  • Melt the butter, mix with the thyme leaves then brush over the bread, whilst it's still hot.
  • Allow to cool slightly then serve.
  • To remove the bread from the tin, run a palette knife around the outside & in between each bun. You will then be able to pull the bread out with your hands.

Notes

1. Cooking In An Aga- Cook the dough balls in the baking oven, on the bottom set of runners.
2. Storage – This bread is best served fresh but if you have any leftover, it can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. 
3. Reheating – To reheat, either wrap the baking tin with foil & place into a low temperature oven (around 160°c/320°f) for 10-15 minutes. Or, place the bread onto a plate & microwave for 20-30 seconds or until warm.
4. Flour – The flour that I used for this bread, is a Canadian strong white bread flour from Shipton Mill (in the UK). Any strong white bread flour can be used but I get the best results using this one.

Similar Posts

2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made these for thanksgiving and they were a hit!! We had leftovers of everything except these 🙂

    My partner was worried these would be “desserty,” so in case anyone else is, let me reassure you that they are not. They paired excellently with dinner.

    My only critique is that the sesame seeds don’t really add much, in my opinion. I’ll probably keep them anyway because it’s not like they were bad. I’m making these again, because everyone that tried them is asking me to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating