Recipe Review

The Internet Can’t Get Enough of This Bread that Looks Like a Roll of Wool

published Mar 12, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

It’s been a year since we all started in on the sourdough trend, and now that flour and yeast are widely available again, the options for bread-baking have expanded. Many of the first-time bakers during the pandemic have found their own direction to go, whether that’s mastering challah or no-knead bread. Meanwhile, bread experts have used the time to find the coolest and best doughs and designs, and social media is full of incredible loaves to try. Recently wool roll bread has been the hottest trend, a soft dough stuffed with raisins, then cut and rolled in a mesmerizing fashion that ends up looking like rolls of wool or yarn when finished. 

This video from Apron on YouTube has been seen over six-million times since it was posted two weeks ago. There are over 3,000 comments on the video, and many people have claimed to already have made the bread. “Tried this at home and it came out to be mind blowing. All my friends told that it was the best and softest bread they had ever eaten,” explained one commenter.

Here’s how to make the bread: It’s a pretty standard milk bread dough with the addition of cream, made by stirring together lukewarm milk and yeast, then adding a mix of bread flour, salt, sugar, cream, and egg. After it rises, it’s cut into five sections, and each section is kneaded into a ball and left to rise again. Then each one is rolled flat into an oval before the key step: Using a plastic bench scraper, it gets cut halfway (longwise) every quarter-inch or so. Then the chopped dried cranberries go on the un-cut side and the whole thing gets rolled up like a burrito, so the cut parts are on the outside and facing up. Then it’s placed in a greased round cake pan, and that gets repeated with the other pieces. It rises one more time, then gets brushed with milk one last time before baking.

This video comes from a blogger out of Malaysia, and most of the Instagram posts of the viral recipe seem to stem from their video. However, the original idea seems to come from a few months earlier, when a few bakers in Vietnam posted videos, one August in Vietnamese and one in English in October featuring bánh mì cuộn len — or wool roll bread. They received about 70,000 and 20,000 views each, so not quite super-viral but widespread enough to plant the first seeds of the idea. 

The fun part of so many viral trends is the way people change it for their own interests and needs. For the wool bread, many bakers changed it to fit dietary restrictions, add new flavors, and incorporate into new designs. Eventually, these kinds of variations inspire something completely new — and we get the next awe-inspiring viral recipe (and hopefully video).