Thursday, April 12, 2012

Peeta's Cheese Buns


            Katniss Everdeen never seemed like the type of woman who’d be overjoyed to receive a bouquet of flowers from a male suitor. In Catching Fire, Katniss describes Peeta regularly bringing her cheesy buns he’d made in his family’s bakery. I equated this to the gesture of bringing a girl a box of chocolates.
            After winning the Hunger Games, starvation is no longer an issue; both Peeta and Katniss are enjoying new homes and wealth. I imagined these cheesy buns to be extravagant compared to their former financial situations- a luxury to say the least. These buns are made to reflect that. They’re made with: all white flour (definitively not tesserae grain), refined white sugar, butter, and LOTS of cheese. For the cheese I would recommend medium cheddar. I used half medium cheddar, half Dubliner cheddar.


PEETA’S CHEESE BUNS

4 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for kneading)
1 cup room-temperature buttermilk
½ cup + 1 tsp sugar
2 ½ tsp active dry yeast
¼ water
½ stick+ 2 Tbsp butter
2 eggs
½ tsp salt
1lb of your favorite cheese(s)

1.     Warm the water to 110 degrees, about 10 seconds in the microwave.
2.     Place your yeast and 1 tsp sugar in the warmed water, stir well, and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Yeast is ready when it’s foamy.
3.     In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar and salt.
4.     Melt the ½ stick of butter.
5.     Add the butter to the dry ingredients. Stir.
6.     Add the eggs one at a time. Mix well.
7.     Add the activated yeast. Add the buttermilk slowly as you stir. Stir with a spoon until the batter pulls away from the sides of the bowl, forming a ball in the center.
8.     Place the dough on a generously floured, flat surface. Knead the dough for 6-10 minutes.
9.     Take the kneaded dough and make a tight ball, place the ball in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl and allow bread to rise for 1 ½ hours. Flip the dough over once at the halfway point.
10. Divide the dough into 12 equal parts. Roll each part into a ball.
11. Place newly formed dough balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place them between 1-2 inches apart. It’s ok if the buns touch while baking- the closer they are squished together the taller they grow. Cover and let rise 15 minutes while the oven preheats.
12. Preheat your oven to 350°.
13. Brush the tops of your buns with melted unsalted butter. Bake for 25 minutes.
14. While those bake, shred your cheese.
15. Remove the buns from the oven. Coat them mile-high with the cheese.
16. Return the buns to the oven and bake for 10-12 more minutes.

If a man brought me a dozen of these, I might fall for him too. If you’ve seen the movie, ladies, I know you’re dying to get your hands on Peeta’s buns. Enjoy them!

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