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.