Monday, March 21, 2011


What the heck is a Zombie? We'll if you went to my High School it's just a little piece of heaven. OK, let's back it up. . . Two years ago when I finally caught up with the world and joined Facebook, I posted some old pictures from High School. That of course invited a lot of comments, one in particular that mentioned the Zombie. Wow, I hadn't thought of those in years. A warm, soft, slightly sweet roll filled with melted cheese. Oh how I loved them and how I faithfully ate one everyday. Needless to say the comment had me craving the Zombie. I scoured the web looking for recipes. Certainly I couldn't be the only one in search of this culinary delight. But alas, I couldn't find a recipe that matched the deliciousness that I remembered. I found a few that were close, so I tweaked, fiddled, modified and experimented until I finally did it. Or at least I think I did. I posted the recipe on Facebook and my old high school chum Richard was brave enough to give it a try. The reviews were in, he liked 'em, his kids like 'em. Eureka! I did it. And now Richard and I have introduced a whole new generation to the Zombie. Join us!

Here is what you need: Yeast (I always you SAF-Instant, just works for me.), AP flour, sugar, salt, softened butter, an egg and processed American cheese. I know, I know, I normally shy away from the processed stuff but for the true authentic Zombie experience you really need to use it. The slices work great but I actually prefer Velveeta. If you just can't bring yourself to use it, go ahead and use your favorite cheese.

Preheat your oven to 170°F. When it comes up to temperature, turn it off and keep the door closed. Next you'll need 1 cup of warm (110°F) water. Use a thermometer, you don't want it too hot. Believe me, I've had my fair share of troubles with killing yeast, only you don't find out until it's too late. So again, check that temp!

Gently stir the yeast in, set it aside and let it dissolve.

Add the flour, sugar, salt and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Give the yeast a stir and add it as well.

Mix on medium speed for 7-10 minutes until you have a soft pliable dough.
This is NOT soft and pliable.

This IS soft and pliable. Now turn the mixer off, form the dough into a smooth ball and let it rest. A good 5 minutes or more. Set a timer. Don't rush it!

While your dough is resting divide your cheese into 8 1-1.5 oz. portions. If you are using slices, each is about 1 oz. so I used 1-1/2 slices of cheese per Zombie.

Once it has rested A GOOD SOLID 5 MINUTES, flatten the ball of dough and divide it into 8 equal portions.

Form each portion into a ball and then into a flattened disk. Place one portion of cheese in the middle.

 Stretch and pull the dough around the cheese pinching to seal it in. Really really pinch it good, you don't want any of that cheese leaking out.

Finish the rest of the dough the same way and place the Zombies pinched side down on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet.

Put them in the warm, but turned off, oven for about an hour until they are doubled in size. I like to prop the oven door open so it isn't too warm. Just nice and cozy so that the yeast can do its thing.

After an hour they are fluffy and twice as big. Yea! Take them out of the oven and preheat it to 350°F.

Beat the egg with 1 teaspoon of water and lightly brush the tops. This gives the Zombies a nice shiny golden brown color. You can skip it if you don't like shiny brown tops but I do. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 

Once the oven is up to temperature in they go for 15-20 minutes until they're nice and golden brown. See those nice shiny tops. Pretty!

They're best served hot and fresh from the oven but will save for a day or two. Just reheat them in the microwave for about 30 seconds to get the cheese melty. Mmmmm, comfort food. They also go great with soup for lunch.

Cheese Zombies
Makes 8

1 C. warm (110°F) water
1 "rounded" T. yeast (I use "Saf-Instant" available at King
3 C. All Purpose flour
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt (I always use Kosher)
2 T. butter softened (I used unsalted, if you use salted, reduce salt to 3/4 t.)
8-12 oz. processed American cheese (see note below*)

1 egg beaten
1 t. water

1.   Preheat oven to 170°F. When oven comes to temperature turn off and leave 
      the oven door closed.
2.   Gently stir yeast into 1 C. warm water and set aside.
3.   Add flour, sugar, salt and butter to the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer fitted 
      with the dough hook.
4.   Give the yeast a stir to make sure it is dissolved and add to the mixing bowl.
5.   Mix for 7-10 minutes until dough is soft and pliable. Let rest for AT LEAST 5 minutes.
6.   Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a disk and place 
      1 to 1-1/2 oz. cheese in the center of each disk. Pull up dough around cheese and 
      pinch WELL to seal.
7.   Place Zombies seam side down on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet.
8.   Proof in preheated (but turned off) oven for 1 hour. Leave oven door ajar. 
      Zombies should double in size.
9.   Remove Zombies from oven and preheat oven to 350° F.
10. Mix beaten egg with 1 t. water and brush tops of zombies with mixture.
11. Bake Zombies in 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.

*NOTE: For a true authentic Zombie flavor and texture you need to use Processed American Cheese. (Velveeta or the like). You can use any cheese you like but only the processed cheese will melt smoothly.


  1. Hi, I think I know this Richard person :) Everyone - these are a really close match to those Las Lomas Zombies - and bring back memories! I have had several requests from other Las Lomas family & friends that want to make them, too. Thanks Becky!!

  2. This one was for you Richard. Thanks for supporting the Zombie. :)

  3. Thank you for sharing your recipe! These look great. Last year a zombie shop opened in Concord, but now I look forward to making my own. Thanks again.

    1. Hope they turn out for you. My son has been begging me for months to make these again. Guess I'd better get to it. FYI, makes my day when someone reads and comments on my blog. THANKS!