Hunger Game Cheese Buns

I’m a woman obsessed. I seriously can’t get enough of the Hunger Games. I constantly think about the characters, their plight, how I really dislike the world they live in and hope my world is never like it, the love story, the clothing, and the food. Not all the food actually. Just the cheese buns. Peeta’s cheese buns. I love, love, love cheese buns. It’s a real shame I’m lactose-intolerant and can’t indulge in these more often. It might just be a good thing though – I can see myself packing on some serious pounds if I had free-reign over cheese buns. I probably say that about any dairy-ridden goodie that I can’t have unless I make them. But I do seriously love cheese buns.

My favorite were the ones from Sobey’s. They’re loaded with cheese. Cheese is rolled into the dough, the dough is rolled around cheese, and then more cheese is on top. The bun part is really just a vehicle for cheese getting to your mouth. Reading the Hunger Games and about Peeta’s cheese buns started a craving. Once I finished the series (because there was no chance I was getting anything done until the books were done), I set to researching cheese bun recipes. Did you know that there is a real lack of recipes on the internet for cheese buns? Nothing was exactly what I needed. So I invented, and I think the results were pretty good.

I found what looked to be a great dinner roll recipe, and bought two of my favorite lactose-free cheeses. My technique (I think) mimicked the Sobey’s ones I loved so much. I also decided to bring Katniss into this equation. They were, after all, her favorite. That’s why Peeta’s made cheese buns at all. So in honour of the girl on fire, I added some fire to half of the recipe – firey jalapeno. On a side note, I also turned some of this recipe into Spicy Jalapeno Cheese Hamburger Buns.

Now that I’ve read all the books, gone to see the movie and made these cheese buns, I think I’m ready to move on. I have to wait until November 2013 for the next movie. No sense in pining away for more Hunger Games when there just isn’t anymore yet. I might revisit these cheese buns closer to the release date of Catching Fire though. Or try making another dish they talk about in the books.

Cheese Rolls

Yield: 1 dozen cheese rolls

Active Prep Time: 45 minutes | Inactive Prep Time: 2 hours | Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:

2 tbsp white sugar
1 1/4 cups lactose-free milk
1/4 cup lactose-free butter or vegan margarine
1 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 egg
4 1/2 cups flour (approximately)
2 cups grated lactose-free cheese (I used a mix of L’Ancetre Aged Cheddar and Sylvan Star Aged Gouda)
2 jalapeños, diced (optional)

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of the sugar, the milk, margarine and salt just until the margarine has melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

2. In a small bowl, dissolve the remaining 1 tbsp of sugar in the warm water. Stir in the yeast. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, until the yeast mixture is frothy.

3. Add the yeast mixture and the egg to the cooled milk. Stir well to combine.

4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add 3 cups of the flour and the liquids. Using the hook attachment, mix until a wet dough has formed. Add the remaining flour, a 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky and has a sheen to it.

5. Allow the stand mixer to knead the dough for 10 minutes.

6. Turn the dough out on a floured surface, and knead a few more times. Form into a ball. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough a few times to cover in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm area for an hour, or until doubled in size.

7. When the dough has risen, turn out on a floured surface. Punch down and knead a few times.

8. Roll out the dough into a rectangle that is approximately 1/8 inch thick.

9. Sprinkle the rectangle with roughly half the grated cheese. Top all or half the dough with jalapeño now if you’re planning on using them.

10. Gently roll the rectangle lengthwise into a tight log. Pinch the seam so the rolls don’t come apart in the oven. This is exactly the same technique as making cinnamon rolls.

11. Carefully slice the rolled up dough into 12 even pieces. Place each roll cut side down in a baking pan, making sure the rolls are evenly spaced in the pan.

12. Cover with a clean tea towel and place in a warm area. Allow to rise for an hour, or until doubled in size.

13. While the rolls are rising, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

14. When the rolls are ready for the oven, cover each roll with a healthy handful of grated cheese.

15. Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes. They’re done when golden and sound hollow when you tap on the bottom of the pan.

16. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

(Adapted from Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls at Canadian Living.com)

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