A combination of pastry and cheese is what makes one of the best snacks in the world – Cheese Straws! Made with shop-bought puff pastry and sharp mature Cheddar, further flavoured with cumin, this recipe is as simple as it is delicious!
A good cheese straw is by far one of Seb’s favourite savoury snacks on the go. Mine too! It has two of my favourite things in the world – cheese and pastry! What is more, cheese straws are a breeze to make, if you choose to use shop-bought ready-rolled puff pastry! It literally takes 5 minutes to assemble them and after a short chill in the fridge, they’re ready after 20 minutes in the oven.
Cheese straws are great for a variety of situations. Seb takes them to work for a mid-afternoon snack. We take them on our long walks with the dog, picnics and other longer outings. Cheese straws are also great finger food for a party and something to snack on whilst your BBQ is heating up.
The only drawback of these cheese straws is that they are the nicest when eaten on the day they’re baked. We eat them the next day too, and we love them still, although they’re no longer as crispy. But you can always pop them in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up again if you wish. With just 5 minutes of prep required, the drawback isn’t a huge one, as you can easily make small quantities often with minimal time resources.
Since it is just cheese and pastry, you want to make sure that the ingredients you use are of good quality and flavour that you LOVE! We always use strong mature cheddar in our cheese straws. We recommend Snowdonia Cheese Little Black Bomber if you’re making these for a special occasion.
How to Make Cheese Straws?
Take your puff pastry out of the fridge (but not the packet) about 30 minutes before starting (otherwise, it may crack when you unroll it). Finely grate the Cheddar. Lightly beat a small egg in a bowl.
Unroll the pastry on a floured surface. Using a pastry brush, brush the pastry with a beaten egg. Then spread 1/3 of the cheese on top and press down with your hands so it sticks. Carefully turn the pastry over and brush with the beaten egg. Add the rest of the cheese and press down again.
Cut the pastry into 9 strips. Holding one end on the surface, twist the other strip end to make a spiral. Repeat with the rest of the pastry. Then transfer them all onto a baking parchment-lined tray leaving 3-4 cm in between them. Sprinkle cumin seeds on top and place the tray in the fridge for 20 minutes (this help them to hold their round spiral shape).
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the cheese straws in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Resist opening the door for the first 20 minutes. Cool slightly before eating.
For other snacks and bites, perfect for taking with you on the go, have a look at:
- Crunchy Smoky Chickpeas
- Chocolate & Orange Date Bars | A Raw, Vegan & Gluten-Free Snack
- Sourdough Grissini
Sourdough Cheese Straws
- 190 g active sourdough starter 100% hydration
- 50 ml lukewarm water
- 175 g strong bread flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 10 g caster sugar
- 25 g butter cubed room temperature
- 170 g butter
- 100 g cream cheese
- 200 g mature Cheddar finely grated
- 1 -2 tsp smoked paprika
- First thing in the morning feed your starter,(100% hydration) so that it’s active and at its peak when you’re ready to make the dough. A good starter should double within 4-6 hours when fed.
- When the starter has doubled in size, add it to 50ml of water and half of the strong flour (90g). Mix to a rough dough and leave covered with a tea towel at room temperature for about an hour to autolyse.
- After an hour, add sugar, salt and the remaining flour (85g) to your dough and knead for a couple of minutes (you can easily knead this dough by hand as it should be quite firm and not sticky). Bit by bit, work in your butter. Keep kneading for about 10 minutes.
- Shape the dough into a ball and pop it into a large lightly-greased bowl. Cover thoroughly and place it in a warm spot to prove for 5-6 hours. By the end, the dough should feel airy, soft and elastic.
- Place it in the fridge until the next morning (for at least 8 hours, but up to 24 hours).
- Take the butter out of the fridge in advance to soften slightly. Place it on a baking parchment, place another sheet of parchment on top. Using a rolling pin, gently roll it out into a 15x15cm (6×6 in) square. Take care not to break the butter, leave it to soften further if it’s too brittle to roll. When rolled, wrap it in the parchment and place in the fridge for a short while to firm up.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and place it on a floured surface. Streatch it and roll it out into approx. 25x25cm (10x10in) square.
- Take the butter out of the fridge, unwrap it and place in the middle of the dough square. Stretching one side at a time, fold the edges into the middle creating a square envelope (see photos). Once you stretch and fold all four sides into the midgle, pinch the edges together. You should now have a 20x20cm butter parcel.
- Flour the top and using a rolling pin, very gently start rolling it out into a 40x20cm (16x8in) sheet. Be careful and gentle with the dough, making sure your rolling pin doesn’t stick and expose the butter.
- Move the pastry sheet so that the short edge is facing you. From the short edge, hold 1/3 of the sheet into the middle, then take the opposite short edge and fold it over the first one (like a letter or a pamphlet). If your butter is very soft and the dough is hard to handle, wrap it in baking parchment and pop in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes. If your kitchen is cold and you’ve worked fast, you can continue with the next step.
- Turn the dough so that the short edge is closest to you. Roll the dough out into a 40x20cm (16x8in) sheet again. Fold the dough like a letter or a pamthlet (just like before). Repeat this process once again. Folded like a letter, wrap the pastry in baking pachment and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours to firm up (ideally 8 hours or even overnight).
Assembly & Baking:
- Take the pastry out of the fridge and cut it in half (it will be a lot easier to manage). On a generously floured surface or a floured piece of baking parchment, roll each half out into a rectangle measuring approx 36x23cm (14x9in). Use half of the cream cheese to spread on the two rectangles in a very thin layer. Then use half of the grated cheese to sprinkle generously across the cream cheese. Using your palms press the cheese down, so that it sticks to the cream cheese. Carefully turn the pastry over, spread the rest of the cream cheese and sprinkle the rest of the grated Cheddar and press down lightly to stick.
- Cut each rectangle into even strips (you should have 16 in total). Holding one end on the surface, twist the other strip end to make a spiral. Repeat with the rest of the pastry. Then transfer them all onto a baking parchment-lined tray leaving 3-4 cm in between them. Sprinkle smoked paprika on top and place the trays in the fridge for 30 minutes (this help them to hold their round spiral shape).
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C Fan. Place the cheese straws in the oven for approx. 20 minutes. Resist opening the door for the first 16-17 minutes. These Sourdough Cheese Straws taste best when cooled completely. Warm cheese traws may taste a little too greasy.