I have three: butter, freshly baked bread, and Lost. You know it’s a good day when you get to indulge in all three. I can’t help but feel a little guilty, since instead of researching for my history paper, or studying for a certain test, or memorizing a monologue from Macbeth, or studying for a biology quiz, I’m sitting in front of the computer, gorging myself on Butter-Crusted Cheese Rolls, warm from the oven, and watching episode after episode of Lost.
Whatever, I tell myself, after I click on the next episode and the next. I figure that since watching all six seasons of Lost is on my bucket list, it’s higher up on the list of priorities, than say, homework. On a more legitimate note, I feel like I deserve a little treat because something that I’ve worked really hard on for months and dreamed about since last summer is going to become a reality. Guilty pleasure or not, I totally deserve it. Or so I tell myself.
Eating cheesy, yeast-y, carb-y white bread is another one of my guilty pleasures. I normally prefer whole wheat or whole grain (after years of the only choice of bread in the house being anything but white), but homemade white bread, like homemade cinnamon rolls, is my weakness.
Since I’ve started my bread-bakingclasses, I haven’t baked any bread at home. But the fresh yeast that I was able to take home from class this week was definitely motivation to bake, since I’ve never been able to find fresh yeast at the grocery store. I decided to make cheese rolls and chocolate ganache filled rolls.
The cheese rolls turned out totally cheesy and delicious; they were so good that... my entire family ate all of them before I had a chance to snap photos. Most of the ganache of the chocolate rolls oozed out of the center of the rolls while baking and ended up burning on the sheet pan, but the rolls themselves were fine.
The absolute best part of this bread is that it’s brushed with melted butter before baking and liberally doused with it after baking. Ah, bread and butter, my guilty pleasures.
Butter-Crusted Cheese Rolls
Notes: So, I kind of forgot that I was using my standard stand mixer, not an industrial-sized Hobart. So I attempted making four loaves worth of bread all at once, all at the same time. All the ingredients “fit” into the bowl per se, but once I turned the mixer on, everything went flying. Trust me, it was not pretty. I’ve scaled down the recipe to two loaves (around 16 80 gram rolls), which will fit with ease in a standard sized mixer.
Also, if you can’t find fresh compressed yeast you can substitute with instant and regular years. If using instant yeast, use 1/3 of the amount in the recipe, and if using regular yeast, use ½ the amount of fresh yeast in the recipe.
Adapted from: George Brown Art of Breads Baking Manual
Yield: two standard loaves, or approximately 16 80 gram rolls
- 30 grams fresh compressed yeast (or 15 grams regular yeast or 10 grams instant yeast)
- 305 grams warm water (approximately 32C or 90F)
- 30 grams vegetable oil
- 12 grams malt or molasses
- ½ whole egg (approximately 25 grams)
- 600 grams bread flour
- 30 grams sugar
- 12 grams salt
- a couple tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- grated cheese, optional
In the bowl of a standard stand mixer, mix the yeast, water, vegetable oil, malt, and egg together until mostly combined. In a large bowl, sift flour and sugar together. Add to the bowl of the mixer. Add salt on top of the flour, making sure that it does not come in contact with the yeast. The salt will inhibit the yeast.
Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and begin mixing on the lowest speed until everything is combined and the flour no longer threatens to make a powdery mess on your countertop. Turn the speed up to low and knead bread until it forms a ball (approximately 10 minutes). To check if the bread is done kneading, pinch off a small ball of dough and flatten it out with your fingers. If the dough will stretch without tearing to the point that it is so thin you can read this recipe underneath it, then it is done. If not, let the machine do its thing for another minute or two and check again.
Remove the dough and on a lightly floured work surface, form it into a ball. Tighten the skin of the ball by pulling the dough towards you (not rolling) on the work surface. Cover with a sheet of plastic (clean, clear garbage bags work well) and let rest for 45 minutes.
Degas the dough by punching it down completely (so therapeutic). Divide the dough into two pieces and form into balls. (I have four balls in the pictures, because I made four loaves, but you will have two). Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Degas once more, shape into a log, tucking the ends in for a uniform shape, and place in a greased loaf pan. If you want to put some cheese into the bread, do it before rolling the dough up into a log. Alternatively, you can make about 16 80 gram rolls. To make knots, simply roll the portioned dough out into a rough rectangle and place a little mound of cheese in the middle. Press the cheese down, and then form the rectangle into a rope by folding the dough over the center and pinching to seal the seam and the ends. Wound the dough the same way you would tie a knot and set it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Let the dough rise for a second time until it is almost twice as large and jiggles slightly when the baking sheet or loaf pan is tapped. Preheat the oven to 400F. Brush the loaves or rolls with butter and bake loaves for 25-30 minutes and rolls for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Brush more melted butter over top the rolls after they come out of the oven. After 5 minutes, turn the loaves out on a rack to cool. Store bread inside a paper bag inside a plastic bag.