Yafawi Sfeeha – Palestinian Cheese Buns

The July Daring Bakers’ Challenge was brought to us by Manal from Manal’s Bites. She introduced us to an authentic Palestinian dish from Jaffa that is served as a main meal along with a bowl of soup or a salad. The “Yafawi Sfeeha” or also known as “Milwayeh” which means twisted, is crispy yet tender and full of flavor.

Yafawi sfeeha - Palestinian halloumi cheese buns - Domestic GothessI have had a truly terrible week, and am in somewhat of a foul mood at the moment, so I apologise if I don’t really feel like talking about food today and this post gets a bit ranty… Skip straight to the recipe if you like! We were supposed to be going on holiday today to Wacken festival in Germany, everything was booked and paid for (and non-refundable…); but we are unable to go because the British passport office are the biggest bunch of unhelpful incompetents I have ever encountered.

Halloumi cheese buns - Domestic GothessDamian’s passport was up for renewal so we sent it off in (what we thought) was good time before our trip. The passport office has now been processing his application for over nine weeks (and counting)…it should take no more than three weeks to issue a renewal… They knew when we were supposed to be traveling, and we have been in near constant contact with them for six weeks. Apparently Damian was “randomly selected” to undergo extra security checks (for the second time…?!) which involved sending a form out to a counter-signatory, which she never received…They didn’t tell us until last week that they were waiting for the form to be returned (by that point they had sent three…with no attempt to phone anyone to check whether they were being received), so neither we nor the counter-signatory had any idea that a form had even been sent out. They then said that they would send one next day delivery to a different address, they bloody sent it second class post! So it didn’t arrive until Saturday… we were then told that we could make an appointment at the passport office in London, take the completed form with us and they would be able to send it off to the appropriate office and then print the passport there and then… So we traveled to London yesterday, went to the passport office, and they wouldn’t even see us…we were told that no they couldn’t do what we were told they could, they couldn’t issue an emergency travel document and that essentially there was sweet f%k all we could do. Everyone we have spoken to has told us something different, and none of them has seemed to know what is going on. So the long and the short of it is that we are unable to go on holiday and have just wasted £700. Rant Over.

Palestinian halloumi cheese buns - Domestic GothessOn to the food. This months Daring Bakers challenge was for Yafawi Sfeeha which are a kind of meat pie/bun from Palestine. We were given the option of making a vegetarian version filled with cheese rather than meat so that is what I went for, filling mine with a mixture of grated halloumi cheese (though you could use crumbled feta), egg and parsley. The dough is a sort of un-yeasted bread dough that needs to be stretched out really thin – to the point where you can see through it, before adding the filling and rolling it up. The shaping technique takes a bit of practice to get right but you get the hang of it after you have done a couple. The buns were delicious, especially when served with a bowl of soup. You can find the original recipe here, which has some good step by step photos of the shaping technique, and recipes for a meat filling and for a sweet walnut one.

Yafawi Sfeeha - palestinian cheese buns - Domestic Gothess

Yafawi Sfeeha - Palestinian Cheese Buns
Makes: 8
  • 210g (1 + ¾ cups) plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tbsp sugar
  • 1½ tbsp powdered milk
  • 1½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 130ml (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) water
  • olive oil or ghee for shaping
  • 250g (9 oz) halloumi cheese, grated (or feta, crumbled)
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • small handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • pepper
  1. Place the flour, salt, sugar, powdered milk and vegetable oil in a bowl, gradually add the water until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. Turn out onto a worksurface and knead for about 10 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough into 8 even pieces and shape into balls, place on a greased tray and cover with oiled clingfilm, leave to rest for at least a couple of hours and up to overnight.
  3. Once the dough has rested make the filling, simply mix together the grated cheese, beaten egg and chopped parsley in a bowl with some freshly ground black pepper. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.
  4. Grease a worksurface and your hands well with olive oil or ghee; take one ball of dough and use your hands to gently spread it out on the oiled surface into a large, thin circle. You should be able to spread it out to about 25cm (10in) wide and it should be thin enough to see through.
  5. Fold one side of the circle over the middle, then the other, so that the dough is almost folded into thirds.
  6. Spread some of the filling along one edge of the dough, fold the closest side over the top of the filling then roll it up into a tight sausage; coil the sausage up in a spiral shape, place the bun on a baking tray.
  7. Re-grease the worksurface and your hands and repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.

Palestinian cheese buns - Domestic GothessI am sharing these with Bake Of The Week, Fabulous Foodie Fridays, Fiesta Friday, Foodie Fridiy, Foodie Friends Friday, Friday Favourites and Friday Features.
Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

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20 Comments on Yafawi Sfeeha – Palestinian Cheese Buns

  1. Julie is Hostess At Heart
    July 28, 2015 at 12:59 pm (1 year ago)

    I don’t know why the administrative offices can get away with stuff like this. It’s the same all over the world. They never have to account for their actions. Your Sfeeha came out beautiful!

    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 7:41 am (1 year ago)

      Yeah they are protected by the fact that they are government institutions so they don’t really have anyone to answer to…the passport STILL hasn’t arrived…

  2. Emma's Mamma
    July 28, 2015 at 1:23 pm (1 year ago)

    Wow they look amazing! I’ll have to pin this recipe 🙂 #TastyTuesdays

    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 7:41 am (1 year ago)

      Thank you!

  3. Girl and the Kitchen
    July 28, 2015 at 3:21 pm (1 year ago)

    Gorgeous! Absolutely love these!!! Just saw them on Chef in Disguise as well! These would work out perfectly for a dinner party app!

    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 7:43 am (1 year ago)

      Thank you 🙂

  4. Hilda
    July 31, 2015 at 3:54 am (1 year ago)

    That certainly is a situation to rant about. Such stupidity indeed. But with all that, you still managed to post a great recipe. Hope the rest of the week cheers you up.

    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 7:52 am (1 year ago)

      Thank you Hilda 🙂 I’ve pretty much gotten over it now…apparently the weather where we were meant to be going is terrible anyway…

  5. Jhuls
    July 31, 2015 at 1:26 pm (1 year ago)

    This bread looks so filling. And with soup sounds like a good idea. Happy FF, Hannah! 🙂

    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 7:57 am (1 year ago)

      They were delicious with soup, and yes, very filling 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  6. Jess
    July 31, 2015 at 2:40 pm (1 year ago)

    Oh man, that’s awful- as someone who really pinches pennies, I can definitely understand your anger- I would be LIT.

    But! We still have sfeeha- they look wonderful. And we’re all here to give you a good time at the FF party this week 😉

    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 8:00 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks Jess, Yeah I wouldn’t have been too bothered about not being able to go if we weren’t losing all that money… 🙁 Have a good weekend!

  7. Lucy @ BakingQueen74
    August 1, 2015 at 7:55 am (1 year ago)

    These buns look really delicious, I love halloumi. I’ve heard lots of people having passport issues this year – it’s so unfair. Thanks for joining in with #Bakeoftheweek!

    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 8:03 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks Lucy 🙂 yeah I think that the passport office has stepped up security but they are outsourcing the security checks to a private company (that’s what we were told by them) so it’s all a bit of a mess!

  8. Hayley (@SnapHappyBakes)
    August 1, 2015 at 6:34 pm (1 year ago)

    The buns look delicious! But how annoying you didn’t make it on holiday. Hopefully you can complain and get some sort of reimbursement? Thank you for linking up to #CookBlogShare

  9. Honest Mum
    August 2, 2015 at 4:29 pm (1 year ago)

    Oh wow these look delicious and remind me of an Easter pastry we have at Greek Easter. Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays

  10. Sandhya
    August 2, 2015 at 11:27 pm (1 year ago)

    This looks so good! I love the shape and your photos have captured the texture of the bread so well too!

    • hannahhossack
      August 8, 2015 at 7:29 am (1 year ago)

      Thank you 🙂

  11. Suchitra
    August 7, 2015 at 12:22 pm (1 year ago)

    The cheese stuffed buns look awesome! Love the texture! Congratulations on being featured! Happy FF!

    • hannahhossack
      August 8, 2015 at 8:11 am (1 year ago)

      Thank you 🙂 The texture was lovely – crisp but chewy. Have a great weekend!


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