Cheese buns are a lunchbox favourite for my kids.

They tried store bought pizza buns, and didn’t like the sauce. They tried the pizza like-garlic cheese buns from the bakery bin instead and thought they were just so-so. The plain cheese roll, they like. Damn picky kids..

So tonight I needed to scare up something for tomorrow’s lunch but I really didn’t feel like a trip to the store. I decided to bake these instead. I made these in a muffin tin, because.. well actually, I don’t know why. It was an odd choice, but worked beautifully. But you certainly don’t have to, and probably wouldn’t if you planned to use them for sandwiches. My kids don’t want a sandwich though, they just want the bun. The less fuss and fancy the better, and when it comes to making lunches, that’s just fine by me. Hubby and I liked these too, perhaps without the cheese they’d make great dinner rolls. They have a crusty outside and super soft inside, and if you serve them warm, with a dab of butter – boy golly, that melty cheese is heaven.

The gadget level on this recipe is 3 to 4. Bread machine, kitchen thermometer, and/or electric kettle with temperature setting and a clean mist bottle. (I have one to bake & water my plants, you can get them at Dollarama – just wash really well).

My Mom loves tea, and she babysits for me often when I’m showing clients houses, so she bought her own kettle for my house. My stove-top whistler wasn’t cutting it when it came to her tea tastes. Her electric kettle boils to your preferred tea temperature. Handy for tea aficionados, and handy for bakers who use yeast. I used the temp setting on the kettle, but I also used my digital kitchen thermometer to ensure my water was 45 degrees c, the perfect temperature to activate yeast.

Here we go: 7 ingredients

2 tbsp white sugar
1.5 cups water heated to exactly 45 degrees C
1 tbsp bread machine yeast (active dry)
2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
4 cups bread flour  (higher gluten, reacts better to yeast than a.p flour)
1.5 tsp salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
+ cold water in a mist bottle

In the bread machine bowl, place the white sugar, and warm water. Immediately sprinkle the yeast evenly over the surface of the water, and use a toothpick or skewer to swirl the top to ensure all of the yeast gets wet. I do this because using a spoon/utensil with a large surface area is a bad idea, as all the yeast will stick to it. Let yeast sit 10 minutes to froth. (If you have trouble with yeast, it’s likely because it’s old yeast, or your water isn’t the right temperature. It’s so easy when you get it right.)

Add the oil, flour then salt in that order. (Salt and yeast don’t touch) Set to dough setting on your machine to knead and proof until it has doubled in size. (About 25 mins kneading, 60 mins proofing) During the mix-in stage, or with about 10 minutes left in the knead cycle, add just 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (reserve 3/4 cup cheese).

Grease your non-stick pans. Either a muffin tin, cake pan, or cookie sheet with oil, or spray with baking PAM.

When the dough has risen, turn out on to a floured board. Be gentle, it’ll deflate fairly easily. Cut off chunks to portion to your desired size, taking in to consideration they’ll double again. My portions (14-16) were between a golf-ball and a tennis ball if that helps. With floured hands, flatten each portion slightly and added a big pinch of shredded cheese to the middle. Fold in the corners and pinched the balls shut. I placed the dough balls, seam side down in a muffin tin, but you can set them in a cake pan as well, leaving room between the buns to grow.

When the buns are happy in their pans, use the spray bottle to gently mist the tops of the buns with cold water. The finer the mist the better to not soak them. Top the buns with the remaining cheddar cheese.

Proofing

Allow the buns to proof once more, again doubling in size. Sit the buns in a warm place like a sunny window sill. To keep them from drying, I’ll sometimes dampen a tea towel with hot water and wring it out, and cover the buns with the warm damp cloth. If your house is too cold, they may not get the rise they need. And since we can no longer rely on the climate controlled bread maker anymore, I’ll sometimes use my oven to proof instead.  I’ll do this by setting my oven on the lowest temp it will go and turn it off, let it cool off a bit with the door open, and then put the buns in and close the door with it slightly warm (not hot). The cheese may soften, but shouldn’t melt. They should not bake, just rise.

 

When they’ve doubled (about 30-40 minutes) take them out of the oven (if you used oven to proof). Preheat the oven to 385 degrees F.

When the oven is to temperature, bake for 15 minutes, misting the tops with cold water at 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and 13 minutes. When you mist, open the oven quickly, don’t remove them but mist them in the oven, and close the door. Don’t let your oven temp drop. The misting with cold water builds a crisp crusty outside. Once they’re out, allow them to rest in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Ta Da! Cheese Buns!

Don’t be afraid of these babies browning. The crusty outside and soft inside is the appealing part of this recipe! I hope you (and/or your kiddos) like these buns. They’re a bit salty, a bit cheesy, and a bit crusty. I thought they were great with a dab of butter, or on their own. No preservatives = fresh taste, but keep them in a ziploc bag or container once they’re cool and eat within a couple of days.

Why is one missing?? Pro-tip, because it takes two pans, and makes about 15, I used a 12 vessel muffin pan, and a 6 vessel, but I left a cavity empty in the pans to easily grab them out of the oven with one hand without smushing.. I’ve been baking a long time, and I try to make things easy on myself.. ha!

 


Recipe By Jessica Hill   |Wife|Mom|Boss|Realtor|

Jessica attended Culinary School at Fleming College in Peterborough Ontario, receiving a diploma in Culinary Management, and studied Professional Baking at George Brown College in Toronto, Ontario. A lover of education, she also studied Sociology and Gender Studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, and received her Realtor’s licence from Ontario Real Estate College in Toronto Ontario – studying Property Management and Property Appraisals. Jessica is licensed to sell Commercial, Residential, Industrial and Land Properties in the Province of Ontario. Being a Realtor with The Parkhill Team is Jessica’s full-time career, and baking with and for her kids is her favourite hobby. <3