It’s time for some savoury baking I would say, wouldn’t you? I am not one for New Year’s resolutions and don’t plan to cut out sugar now that it is January, but we have to make sure salt does not feel left out. Don’t worry, I have been putting my new ice cream maker to good use so it will be back to sugar before you know it. I have contemplated making a savoury ice cream though. I think it would be a fun juxtaposition to serve it on a hot dish and have it melt into everything to create a sauce. Just a thought. It’s one of those ideas that would either turn out amazingly or horribly.
If you are looking for something a bit safer, how about cheddar cheese buns? There are two critical aspects to these buns. First of all, don’t skimp on the cheese. It looks like a lot, but when it melts into the bread it really is not that much. More importantly, buy good cheese! I don’t think this one needs an explanation but super cheesy cheddar cheese buns don’t magically taste good just because you use a lot of crappy cheese. Actually when is crappy cheese good? Never, exactly. Sound logic, no? A sharp cheddar or aged gruyere would work swell. Just not any pre-shredded plastic.
Now that I have gotten that out of my system, let’s talk about making bread for a quick sec. If you are even the slightest bit intimidated, read over my 12 steps for making bread
. I won’t re-hash too much because it is all there but I will emphasize that once you know the basic procedure, you are set to make any bread, recipe or not. Take these cheese buns. Without cheese, the dough easily could be made into cinnamon buns. Or if you stick with the cheese, you could shape it into a cheese loaf. Bread is super versatile and isn’t like other baking in that you have to be super precise with your measurements. All you need is a couple cups of flour, a spoonful of yeast, some salt, water, fat (in the form of oil, butter, etc.) and you are ready to get started. Making bread is all about technique so once you have got it down, you can make anything. Although cheddar cheese buns are always a good place to start…
Cheddar Cheese Buns
Makes 12-15 buns
1 tbsp. instant yeast
2 tbsp. honey
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
3 cups bread flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
warm water, as needed (about 1 cup)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter, melted
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast and honey with a splash of warm water. When the yeast starts to foam, add in the remaining ingredients. Turn the mixer on low and begin adding more water as necessary to bring the dough together. Depending on the humidity of your environment this will vary. It is extremely dry where I live so it took at least 1 cup of water to keep the dough soft and slightly sticky.
2. Once the dough comes together, turn the mixer up to medium. Knead for 5-7 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
3. Place the kneaded dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover and allow it to rise until double (30-60 minutes depending on how warm your kitchen is).
4. When the dough has doubled, punch it down. Stretch it into a rectangle on an oiled or floured countertop. Drizzle the melted butter over top and sprinkle on the 2 cups of grated cheese. Start at the edge closest to you and begin to roll the dough into a log, keeping it nice and tight.
5. Slice the dough into about 1″ thick pieces. Place them in a greased pan or on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Unless you have a gigantic pan, you will probably have to use 2 of them to fit all of the buns.
6. Cover and allow the buns to rise again until doubled, about 30-40 minutes.
7. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Cool slightly and enjoy. They are best served warm while the cheese is still melty. If there are any leftovers, be sure to wrap them as air-tight as possible as fresh bread dries out rapidly!
* If you don’t have a mixer, feel free to knead the dough by hand. You are essentially doing the same thing except on your countertop. Once it is smooth and elastic you are good to go!