Cheddar Swirled Childhood Memories

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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.

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So why am I telling you all these…. Well, I baked some Cheddar Swirled Buns. It reminded me of childhood.

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Perhaps it’s the sweetness of the onion in the bun… when added to cheddar, brings out sweet old nostalgic memories…

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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Cheddar Swirl Breakfast Buns

Makes 12

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Cookbook

Ingredients

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

Filling:

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
black pepper

Method

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.

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