Recipe: The ultimate cheesy dough balls

Dough Balls by Charlotte Smith- Jarvis. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Dough Balls by Charlotte Smith- Jarvis. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Don’t order in on Saturday night - try Charlotte Smith-Jarvis’ ‘fakeaway’ dough balls recipe instead.

I don’t know about you but when I visit a certain mid-range pizza chain (you know the one), the only thing I ever really want to eat is the dough balls!

Forget the pizza. They can keep it. It’s those doughy, soft nuggets of bread I hanker for, all sweet with yeast, golden crusted and ready to dunk in melting garlic butter.

In the autumn and winter, it’s hot, moreish, slightly naughty things like these that really sate my appetite – especially on a Saturday night when I’m more likely these days to be watching Strictly with the kids than bar crawling with my mates (it’s too cold out).

Saturday night is ‘fakeaway’ time. I’m too tight when it comes to takeaways. By the time the four of us have over-ordered everything we want to eat, we might as well have gone to a restaurant for the price!

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So I prefer, on Saturdays, to whip up something vaguely resembling anything that usually arrives in a box, foil tray or plastic container. It could be a vat of curry with naan breads and steaming rice (with Bombay through it – honestly, try it). Or a sticky stir-fry with a couple of bags of prawn crackers thrown in the bowl. A four-tier pizza tray and stand bought by my mum as a Christmas gift (from Lidl or Aldi I think) has come in very very handy for homemade pizza nights.

But the ultimate thing that makes my kids’ eyes widen is my fluffy dough balls. Filled with chunks of cheese and salami, the oversized pieces of dough are rolled into balls, popped into a dish layered with more cheese, baked until golden and smothered in salty, heady garlic butter.

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The platter, hot from the oven, smells divine. And it’s so satisfying sitting around together ripping apart the dough balls, sharing them and dunking them in the juices at the bottom of the dish.

Add to the mix a bottle of white wine and a good movie and that’s Saturday night sorted.

The ultimate dough balls

(makes enough for four to share)


For the dough: 600g bread flour, 7g yeast, 1tsp fine sea salt, 1tbsp sugar, 1/2tsp fresh ground black pepper, 3tbsps fresh oregano (or 1.5tsps dried)

Filling: 150g Lane Farm salami cut into 1cm pieces, 150g Suffolk Gold cheese cut into small pieces

Topping: 100g butter, 3 cloves crushed garlic, 1 sprig rosemary finely chopped, salt to taste

125g Shipcord cheese or Parmesan for dusting


Start by making the dough. Mix the yeast with the sugar and a little hand hot water. Leave for 10 minutes. Add to the flour with the salt, oregano and black pepper. Pour in enough hand hot water (around blood temperature) bit by bit, to bring the dough together. It shouldn’t have any dry bits and can be a tiny bit moist. Leave to rest for 10 minutes then knead for five to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Place in a clean bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour.

Knead the dough once more. Cut into 18-20 equal pieces and fill each with a piece of cheese and salami. Form them into balls.

Scatter the grated cheese into a large baking dish and set the oven to 220C.

Cover the dough balls and leave somewhere warm for another 30 minutes then bake for 15 minutes.

Make the garlic butter by mixing the butter with the garlic and rosemary and season with salt to taste.

When the dough balls come out of the oven, cover them with the butter and brush over.


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