Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Buns

In their glorious form as dinner rolls
Well, now that most of the holiday-ing is over, I fear that I will soon be embarking on some of my resolutions for 2012 that involve less cream, less butter, and less over-the-top decadent desserts. Not permanently. I have just decided that, probably from now on, the month of January will be dessertless. It will also be soda-less, cookie-less, cake-less (except for my son's birthday party), ice-creamless, and specialty coffee-less. It will include more fruits and vegetables, more fiber, and more whole grains. I am also resolving to drink my eight glasses of water a day. I figure that if I put "drink 8 glasses of water" and "eat two servings of veggies" on my daily to-do list then I will probably do it. If I don't put it on the list, it probably won't get done. And for the record, I am trying to eat two servings of vegetables outside of my meals, not that those are the only vegetables I am get what I am saying, right?
So, before all of those resolutions take effect, at the magical stroke of midnight (it's all over SUNDAY!!) I have resolved that for the remaining few days of 2011, I will have as much of the aforementioned soon-to-be-forbidden things as possible. Including these delicious-looking breakfast puff things.
Another thing I will probably make this Saturday, along with those breakfast things, will be these ham buns. I am planning on making them with some of the leftover baked ham that I made for our Christmas celebration. Which, as a little side note, instead of using apricot-pineapple jam, this year I used orange marmalade and it was AMAZING! And, a great little punch idea, if you are having a New Year's Day bash, you can make a delicious punch out of 3 bottles of sparkling apple cider, 1 bottle of cranberry-pomegranate juice, the juice of two limes, and a few frozen cranberries floating in the top. Unless, of course, you want to make an ice ring, which I completely forgot to do. I just filled my punch bowl (AKA upside down cake dome) with water and ice and let it set until I was ready to combine the magic juices. It was really, pretty good.
So, here are the hambuns. After you assemble them, you can freeze them, setting them out on a counter the night before, or just leave them in the fridge until the next morning. You would need to leave them out for about half an hour, or increase the cooking time to make up for the cold dough.

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Buns
(makes about 24)

For the Dough
1 1/4 oz packet active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup sugar
7 1/2 to 8 cups flour
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled, plus more for brushing
2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons Dijon
1 Tablespoon salt, plus more for sprinkling

8 oz ham, finely chopped
2 cups grated cheese (your choice: sharp cheddar, pepper jack, Gruyere)

1. Bloom the yeast: Place 1/2 cup warm water (about 110) into a large bowl, sprinkle with yeast and whisk in the sugar. Let sit about 1 minute, then gently stir in 1 cup flour. Set aside.
2. Make the dough: Mix the melted butter and milk in a mixer with the hook attachment on low speed. Add the eggs and mix until blended. Scrape in the yeast mixture and mix until incorporated. Add 6 1/2 cups flour, Dijon, and 1 Tablespoon salt; mix until the dough forms a ball, 2 to 3 minutes, adding up to 1/2 cup more flour if dough is too sticky.
3. Let it rise: Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and let it rise in a warm place, 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until doubled in volume.
4. Shape the dough: If you are baking the buns now, preheat the oven to 375. Spray a muffin tin or line it with parchment squares (cut into 4" pieces). Dust a clean flat surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Flour your hands; gently press the dough into a 16-by-8-inch rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick.
5. Cut the dough: With the short side in front of you, cut the dough in half lengthwise with a floured knife, then slice crosswise into 12 strips. Sprinkle the cut pieces of dough with chopped ham and shredded cheese.
6. Shape the dough: One at a time, fold each strip of dough away from you, then pull the bottom over the top toward you, creating a roll. Tuck it into your muffin tins. At this point, you can freeze or refrigerate the dough if you are making it later.
7. Bake the rolls: Bake until golden brown, 18-20 minutes. If frozen, bake 25 minutes at 325, then 10 minutes at 375. When you remove them from the oven, immediately brush with softened butter and sprinkle with salt.
 *** Omit the Dijon, ham, and cheese and pop these babies in the freezer for the next time you have company and you will find yourself with delicious homemade yeast rolls to serve your guests.

1 comment:

  1. I love ham and cheese buns, not only for breakfast, but also for an aperitif or starter. Yours look delicious.


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