Being the only child for the first six years of my life, I was spoiled beyond words. I get puffiest of the puffiest sleeve dresses – lots of them. The 80’s was the decade for puffy sleeves so stop the judging. Dad used to take me shoe shopping – oh hello there, Mary Jane. It is not hard to figure out how I became such a shopaholic/fashion police.
I used to dance to Beatles and Bee Gees music with Dad. I’ll be on the bed – to make up for the height difference. I would’ve been about 4. If I’m not dancing, I’ll be jumping on the bed demanding for dinner at McDonald’s.
What I want, I usually get. What a brat. On the other hand, that was one durable bed.
So why am I telling you all these…. Well, I baked some Cheddar Swirled Buns. It reminded me of childhood.
Perhaps it’s the sweetness of the onion in the bun… when added to cheddar, brings out sweet old nostalgic memories…
I’ve moved out of home for almost 10 years now but one very clear memory I have of living at home is there’s always food! Again, I believe it is because we’re Chinese. All we think of is food and we’re so afraid of starving. Well, I am anyway. Dad used to say, “Even when poorest, one should always eat”. For a short period in my life, I would’ve disagreed and replied, “I need that dress more than I need to eat. Besides, I would fit into the dress better by not eating.”
We always had buns at home (how Asian of us) – cheddar buns, sausage rolls, cinnamon buns… Honestly, with the amount of food we have on the table, you’ll think we’re a family of 10.
All is different now – my house never runs out of food. Well, I unless I go on a strike and refuse to grocery shop. Even then, I have some slice-and-bake cookies in the freezer. I’m all covered. Maybe I’m turning more Asian as I age. I’m a bit unsure as to how I feel about that.
With every bite, I recall a bit of my childhood. Then I take a sip of coffee, I feel grateful to be where I am today.
So, thank you yeast, cheddar and onion for this lovely trip down memory lane.
Cheddar Swirl Breakfast Buns
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Cookbook
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon table salt
few grinds of black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
1 cup milk, warm
4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon for brushing
½ cup grated white onion
1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon dried parsley (original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons minced fresh dill)
¼ tsp table salt
Make The Dough:
In a mixer bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper and sugar. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, add yeast to warm milk. Let stand for 10 minutes until frothy.
Add yeast-milk mixture and butter into the flour. Using the paddle of an electric mixer (or a wooden spoon), mix the ingredients together until a shaggy balls can be formed.
Switch to dough hook and knead the dough for 6 minutes until smooth. If not using electric mixer, turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for about 8 minutes.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
Make The Buns:
Scoop the dough out of the bowl onto a well-floured counter. Roll dough into a 12 x 16 inch rectangle. Spread filling ingredients evenly over the dough, leaving 1/2 inch border on the short ends.
Starting from the short end, roll the dough into a tight log, about a 12-inch log. Using a serrated knife, trim off the scraggly ends. Then slice the roll into twelve 1 inch rolls.
Line a 13 x 9 inch pan (or two 8 or 9 inch square pan) with baking paper. Arrange rolls in the pan – make sure they are evenly spaced. Brush the top of rolls with melted butter. Cover pan/s with cling wrap. Allow to rest for another 2 hours or until doubled in volume.
When rolls are almost doubled, preheat oven to 175°C. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until rolls are golden brown and cheese has bubbled up.
Note: Because I don’t like leaving bread sitting around for too long, I halved the original recipe – 3 buns each, between me and Mr Snax. I also have a confession to make. I did a blunder. While making these fabulous buns (you are all so going to judge me for this)… I rolled the dough up from the wide end rather than the short end. Yes, it was 7 pm – caffeine was not allowed and after a glass of red wine I only got too relax to think straight.