I’ll just put this out there up front, you should probably make these cheesy buns this weekend. Eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or for all three!)—you won’t be disappointed. Imagine the puffy dough of a perfect cinnamon roll and then swap the sweet cinnamon filling for sharp cheddar cheese and onion. Yep, pretty much perfect. And, I’ve even got a secret to share so you can have them for brunch without even waking up at an ungodly hour.
Sharp Cheddar Cheesy Buns, adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
For the dough
3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
a few grinds of black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (or one 7 g packet) of instant yeast
1 cup milk (if you want the dough to rise easier, warm the milk to about 100 degrees)
4 tablespoons melted butter, cooled to lukewarm
For the filling
1/2 cup grated white onion (about half an onion)
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (you could substitute swiss, provolone, mozzarella or use a mixture)
2 teaspoons fresh dill, minced (you could also use 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme or rosemary)
1/4 teaspoon salt
a few grinds of black pepper
First make the dough. You can make the dough the night before you plan to serve the rolls for convenience’s sake, but you can also make it the day of if you plan to serve them for dinner. They take about 5 hours in total, but most of that is rising time.
Combine the flour, salt, pepper and sugar in a large bowl, preferably the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook. In a medium bowl, whisk the yeast in the milk until it dissolves. Add the melted butter into the milk mixture. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and mix them together with the paddle attachment or a wooden spoon until a shaggy ball forms.
Switch to the dough hook. Knead the dough on low speed for about five minutes, until the dough is smooth and a slightly sticky ball has formed. You can also do this by hand on a lightly floured counter.
Place the dough in lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in your off oven and let it rise until doubled, about two hours. I find that my house is too cold for yeasted bread doughs to rise well without putting them in my oven with my pilot light to keep them warm. If it is warm in your house, you can just leave the dough on the counter and appreciate your insulation.
While the dough is rising, make the filling. Combine grated onion, cheese, dill, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Line the bottom of a 9″x 13″ baking dish or two 9″ round baking pans with parchment paper.
After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Roll it into a 12″ x 16″ rectangle. With the long edge facing you, spread the filling in an even layer, leaving a 1/2″ margin on the far edge. Roll the dough tightly and seal the far end. Using a sharp knife, cut the log in half, then cut each half into thirds, then cut each third in half. You should have 12 rolls. Space them evenly in the baking dish, leaving room around each roll for it to expand.
Let the rolls rise in an off oven for another two hours, until doubled again. Alternately, you can cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge to cook the next day.
One hour before you want to serve the rolls, remove them from the fridge. Place them in an off oven. Fill a dish below the rolls with boiling water. Let them rise for 30 minutes, until puffy. Remove the rolls from the oven.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Brush the tops of the rolls with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the cheese begins to brown and bubble. Serve immediately. Don’t worry, they won’t last long.