These Small Batch Cheese Buns are super easy and fun to make. They have a fluffy dough made with the Tangzhong Method, and are filled with a thick and creamy cheese filling. The cheese rolls come together quickly, and are the perfect accompaniment to any meal. This small batch bread recipe can easily be doubled.
Table of contents
- Small Batch Cheese Buns
- A Super Versatile Small Batch Bread Dough Recipe
- How to make Small Batch Cheese Buns
- What sort of cheese should I use for the cheese buns?
- Dental Floss vs Bread Knife for cutting buns - how to get the perfect clean cut
- FAQ for Small Batch Cheese Buns
- For more Super Soft Bread Recipes, Check out:
Small Batch Cheese Buns
Hi hi! My husband has requested that I let you know in this post that eating two of these small batch cheese buns in a row is too many. He suggests pacing yourself. He came home from work and promptly inhaled two very quickly, then had to lie down on the floor. Dramatic if you ask me, but good to know that they are just THAT good.
I small batched my Cheese and Chive Brioche Buns, which is a great recipe, but I had a feeling I could make it even better. So I did what I've been doing with every bread recipe lately - I added Tangzhong. Predictable. But it just works SO well. I wrote more about the role and origins of Tangzhong in this post - it is an asian method in which you start your dough by making a roux of flour and milk (or water).
This gives you a super soft and stretchy dough that can be kept relatively 'lean' and is SUPER soft and SUPER fluffy. It's a dream to work with, and it worked so well for these super cheesy, super fluffy small batch cheese buns. I adapted my super soft burger bun recipe, scaling it down and removing the egg to avoid any awkward egg dividing situations.
A Super Versatile Small Batch Bread Dough Recipe
This small batch dough recipe is super, super versatile, and I can certainly see myself using it for other small batch baking recipes. It is super soft and easy to make, and would work perfectly in both sweet and savoury applications.
It would also work great for a small batch dinner roll recipe - I will work on getting something together to share with you for the dimensions and rising time etc! You could divide the dough into 6 balls and then arrange in the pan for a tiny dinner roll situation.
It worked perfectly as the base for these cheese buns - I rolled the dough out to about half the dimensions of my regular recipe (just half the length, and took 2 inches off of the width). I then cut the dough into 6 buns and arranged in an Eighth sheet pan. Super, super cute. I hope you give these ones a go!
How to make Small Batch Cheese Buns
These small batch cheese buns are super easy to make. They have two components - the dough and the filling. Ideally the filling needs a little time to chill down so I like to make it the day before if I can. Here's the steps!
- Make the cheese sauce filling - I use a mix of cheese here, but you can use whatever you like, as long as it all adds up to 130g. The filling is just a basic roux mix with some milk to make a bechamel, then allll the cheese goes in! I do a mix of cheese and then also some cream cheese. The cream cheese helps keep the filling spreadable. It will set quite thick but I did that on purpose so it doesn't all drop out in the oven. I like to do this the night before but if you are in a pinch, just pop the filling into a shallow dish and cover with plastic wrap to help speed up the chilling process.
- Prepare the dough - Your mixer will do all the work here! Make the Tangzhong then add everything except for the butter and let it hang out. Then add in the butter and mix until incorporated. Leave it to rise for a bit.
- Assemble the cheese buns - This dough is a little more squishy than a brioche so needs to be handled a little differently. It's puffy so you have to roll it out a little more gently. The dough is spread out then spread with the filling, rolled up and cut into buns. I like to use floss to cut these as opposed to a bread knife.
- Second rise and bake - The buns need to go through a second rise. At this point I like to sprinkle them with pretzel salt, or you can use flaky sea salt. Bake them for perfectly golden fluffy buns!
What sort of cheese should I use for the cheese buns?
I used a mix here. You are welcome to use whatever you like though - just whatever you have on hand! They are super good with some parmesan in there or a sharp cheddar. I do like to use some havarti or gouda just for smoothness but you do you here. You can also add in other things if you like - caramelised onion would be so good, or some wholegrain mustard. Mix it up and play around as you like!
Dental Floss vs Bread Knife for cutting buns - how to get the perfect clean cut
I usually cut my rolls using a sharp bread knife. I find that that gives me the cleanest cut, particularly if the buns have a filling such as nuts. However with this soft squishy Tangzhong based dough I used for the cheese buns, the best way to get a super clean cut on these buns is to use unflavoured dental floss.
To cut buns with dental floss you place the floss under the log of dough where you want to cut it. Try not to drag it up so it doesn't get caught on the dough. Then you just cross the ends over and it cuts them! I like to cut the dough into two sections first, then cut each one into three from there.
If you don't have unflavoured floss and are making these Small Batch Cheese Buns, you could use some kitchen twine, or some fishing line. I've also only had peppermint stuff on hand one time and it was honestly fine too. I won't tell anyone if you don't.
FAQ for Small Batch Cheese Buns
You can roll the dough to 14x14 and cut into 9 rolls and do them in an 8" pan. They will be slightly smaller but will work just fine!
I used this pan. They are so cute and can be used for so many things! A few other companies make them too.
Yes! You can roll it to 24"x14" (60cmx36cm) and then roll up from the long side. Cut it into 12 rolls and bake them in a lined 9"x13" (20cm x 30cm) pan.
Yes! You can do the first rise in the fridge overnight. Leave the dough to stand on the counter for 20 to 30 minutes, then pop it into the fridge to rise for the night.
I haven't tried - it is super soft and stretchy though so I would think that it really needs the mixer.
Yes. The dough needs it for strength. Otherwise you end up with slime.
I haven't tried it, but it should be ok to leave it out.
Yesss! Add anything that you like!
For more Super Soft Bread Recipes, Check out:
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A note on salt and oven temperature
It is important to note the type of salt that is called for in a recipe. I use Diamond Crystal salt throughout my recipes - if you use a different sort of kosher salt or regular table salt you will need to adjust accordingly as some salt is 'saltier' than others. Morton's salt is twice as salty, so you will need half the quantity. Same goes for a regular table salt. I am working to get gram measurements throughout my recipes for salt but still getting there.
All oven temperatures are conventional unless otherwise stated. If you are baking on fan / convection, you will need to adjust the temperature. An oven thermometer is a great investment to ensure that your oven is the correct temperature.
Using the double / triple function in the recipe card
You will notice that there is a '1X' '2X' '3X' button in my recipe card. This can be used for doubling or tripling a recipe. However, please note that this only doubles the ingredient quantities in the ingredients list and NOT in the method. If there are quantities or pan sizes in the method of the recipe (for example weigh out 150g brown butter), you will need to scale this number manually. It will also not change the baking time in the recipe so you will need to adjust this yourself too. It is always a good idea to read through a recipe fully before doubling it just to check this. If you would like to scale this recipe or convert for another pan size, use my calculator!
Tools and equipment
For a list of my go-to tools and equipment, I have a post you can refer to here.
Why is this recipe in grams?
I post my recipes in grams as it is the most accurate way to bake. Cups are not only inaccurate but they vary in volume worldwide. There is no way for me to provide one cup measure that works for everyone. However, posting in weight fixes this issue. If you would like the recipe in cups you are welcome to convert it yourself via google, but please do not ask me to do it for you as I am not comfortable providing a recipe using a method that I have not tested. Baking with a scale is easy, accurate, and also makes cleanup super simple. Here is the scale that I use if you would like a recommendation! Here's to accurate baking!Print
These Small Batch Cheese Buns are super easy and fun to make. They have a fluffy dough, and are filled with a thick and creamy cheese filling. The cheese rolls come together quickly, and are the perfect accompaniment to any meal. This small batch bread recipe can easily be doubled.
Cheese Sauce Filling
- 15g unsalted butter
- 20g all-purpose flour
- 150 g whole milk
- Salt and Pepper to Season
- 50g Havarti grated
- 40g sharp cheddar, grated
- 40g parmesan cheese, grated
- 40g cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 1-2 scallions, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp freshly chopped chives
- 20g bread flour
- 95g whole milk
- 180g whole milk, cold
- 20g sugar
- 1 ½ (5g) tsp instant yeast
- 270g bread flour
- 20g milk powder
- 1 tsp (3g) kosher salt
- 45g butter
- Pretzel Salt and extra freshly chopped chives to finish, optional
CHEESE SAUCE FILLING
- In a medium pot, melt the butter, and then add the flour, whisking well to combine. Cook, for 1-2 minutes over medium heat, or until the mixture is bubbly and foaming slightly. Remove from the heat, and, whisking constantly, add the milk. Whisk well to combine, then return to the heat and cook for a further 4-5 minutes, whisking continuously, until the mixture has thickened.
- Season well with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and add the havarti, cheddar, parmesan, and the cream cheese, and mix well to incorporate, continuing to stir until the cheese is melted. Add the chilli flakes and stir well.
- Transfer to an airtight container, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cheese sauce. Place in the refrigerator until completely cool, 3-4 hours or ideally overnight.
- Combine the milk and bread flour in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens into a paste. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer.
CHEESE BUN DOUGH
- Add the cold milk and mix to combine, checking with your finger that it is not hotter than lukewarm (the cold milk should cool the hot tangzhong enough). Add the sugar, yeast, milk powder, salt, pepper, and flour. Transfer to the mixer and fit with the dough hook.
- Mix the dough on medium speed until it is smooth and elastic and clearing the sides of the bowl, about 12-15 minutes. Don’t freak out, as it is sticky - if you have made it by weight you will be fine. Set a timer and walk away from the mixer if you need. If after that time it really isn’t coming together and you’re worried, add flour a teaspoon at a time just until the dough just comes together.
- Add the butter and mix for a further 5 minutes until incorporated. The dough should be smooth and elastic, and pass the windowpane test.
- Turn the dough out onto a surface and flour very lightly if needed to bring into a tight ball with a bench scraper. Transfer to a greased bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Place the dough in a warm spot and rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 ½ hours.
- Grease and line an Eighth sheet pan (9.5”x6.5” - 24x16cm). Alternatively you can roll the dough to 14”x14” and cut into 9 rolls and arrange in an 8” square pan.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat out into a rectangle, then roll into a rectangle measuring 12”x14” (30x35cm).
- Remove the cheese filling from the fridge and stir briefly to smooth out. Spread over the surface of the dough using an offset spatula. Sprinkle with the chopped scallions and chives.
- Starting with the short side of the dough, roll up the dough into a tight sausage shape. Trim the ends if desired. Using unflavoured dental floss or a bread knife, cut the log of dough into 6 equal rolls. I like to cut the log into 2 and then divide each section in 3.
- Arrange the rolls in the prepared sheet pan, with a little space between.
- Lightly cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the rolls have puffed up. When you lightly poke one with your finger, it should leave an indentation that slowly springs back, 40 minutes to an hour.
- While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 360°f / 185°c. Sprinkle the rolls with pretzel salt or flaky sea salt.
- Bake the rolls for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. They should register an internal temperature of 200°f / 95°c.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers lightly covered at room temperature. Refresh in the microwave before eating if desired.