Fluffy, cheesy, and just the right amount of spicy, these Sriracha Cheese Swirl Buns are downright addictive! Make them as is or customize with flavor add-ons to your heart’s delight.
From a baking enthusiast’s standpoint, it brings me a lot of joy seeing so many people all over the world discovering the wonders of making homemade breads in the past few months. While bread-making is indeed a worthy activity to do while we’re all forced to stay at home, in my opinion, knowing how to make bread is also an important life skill. To be able to make something that is consumed by most people on a daily basis is pretty valuable, don’t you think?
Today I’m here with one of my favorite bread recipes for all my fellow home-based bread-bakers. (And bread-eaters!) This recipe is adapted from a recipe I made many many years ago, but which I tweaked and adapted into these awesome Sriracha Cheese Swirl Buns. To describe them briefly, these buns are super fluffy, but they also have a cheesy kick that makes you keep wanting more. And the good news is, they are actually very easy to make, especially with a stand mixer.
The process of making these Sriracha Cheese Swirl Buns is the same as that of a cinnamon roll, and if you’ve never made that before, I imagine you guys will have fun in the part where some dental floss is involved.
When it comes to rolls where cheese is the heaviest featured ingredient, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you twice that you should be using good cheese. None of that processed filled stuff. You want creamy dreamy cheese that melts really nicely, and that will give you some fantastic tasting Sriracha Cheese Swirl Buns. Seriously, we deserve the best right?
Lucky for me, I received a package of California Cheeses just last week. Knowing that these cheeses are made using Real California Milk, I was able to make my Sriracha Cheese Swirl Buns with the confidence that they will turn out perfectly. And since I have worked with the fine folks at the California Milk Advisory Board and eaten a lot of California cheeses at this point, I am equally confident about promoting any of the cheeses that have the ‘Real California Milk’ seal on them.
Whenever I shop in the supermarket– which feels like lightyears ago, by the way– I make the conscious effort to look for cheeses with this seal. I even buy artisan California cheeses from places like Sourdough Cafe because I already know that I can expect topnotch taste and quality. And if you still don’t know me by now, let me assure you I never repeatedly advocate brands I don’t like or don’t believe in.
I pretty much jumped for joy when I received this pot of gold. I mean… Bag of California cheese. This was a seriously unexpected but highly appreciated package! It allowed me to use a combination of cheeses for these Sriracha Cheese Swirl Buns. Before they sent the cheeses to me, I only had cheddar cheese of this exact brand in the fridge. (I told you I am a loyalist when it comes to brands I patronize.)
The cheeses I used for this recipe are a combination of regular Cheddar and Orange Cheddar. That’s why the ooze comes out as a dark orange hue. Part of that is the red Sriracha coloring the filling, but most of it is from the Orange Cheddar.
I can’t begin to describe how I excited I was when I began getting that waft of cheesy scent floating from the oven. It smelled a little bit like pizza actually. It made my mouth water! Frankly, I only ever smell that kind of true cheese fragrance when I cook with good cheese, but the reward is in the actual act of eating. I feel like the only proper way to eat these would be to gobble them up.
When you tear these Sriracha Cheese Swirl Buns open while they’re still warm, you get a wildly satisfying cheese pull. Cheese pull aside, you get a generous amount of cheese marbled throughout the fluffy bread. This is the kind of cheese-loaded you only ever get with something you made yourself. And before I forget to mention again, this bread was SUPER fluffy. It’s the perfect vessel for the melty cheese!
I mentioned that this recipe was adapted from a loaf bread recipe I made 7 years ago. That was back when I didn’t know what Sriracha was, and when I didn’t know California cheeses existed. (Oh how things have changed!) I loved the experience of this recipe back then, but with the modifications I made now in turning the dough into rolls and using Real California Cheese, I love this recipe even better. It’s like a dream team of two things I love in cheese & spicy food in my mouth! The really great thing about this recipe is that you can make it your own apart from just using cheese and Sriracha.
Now as satisfying as seeing cheese pull may be, it’s even more satisfying if you make these and eat them yourself. Let me walk you through the recipe because I think I’ve bombarded you with enough photos and words in my “intro”.
This recipe starts with a really easy-to-handle dough. If you want to knead your dough by hand, feel free to do so. I, however, prefer the speed and convenience of a stand mixer. Just dump in all the dough ingredients into the bowl of the stand mixer, then use a wooden spoon to mix it all together until a really rough looking dough forms.
At this point, you attach the bowl to your mixer and let the dough hook do all the kneading. It will take maybe 7 minutes on medium-low until you get a dough that is smooth, pulls away from the sides of the bowl, but still a bit sticky. If you touch it, it should feel a bit supple or wet.
When in doubt, a really good way to check if your dough has been kneaded enough is to do the windowpane test. Just pinch of a little chunk of dough and try to stretch it out gently. If you can get it to form a “windowpane” or this translucent membrane like the one below, then it has developed enough gluten to move on to the next stage.
Now you want to transfer the dough into a large lightly greased bowl. Use lightly oiled hands to shape the dough into a round first. This dough is not going to give you a lot of trouble. Now before you leave the dough to proof, roll it around in the oil of the bowl to coat it a bit, then cover and proof your dough for about 1 hour. Or less if it’s as hot as my country where you’re at.
Once the dough has doubled, do a bit of kung-fu fighting and punch it down. This part is always so satisfying.
Turn the dough out onto your lightly floured surface and knead briefly to get any residual air out of the dough. This will make rolling a little easier. Now pat or shape the dough into a rectangular mound.
And then just roll it out into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle. Ish. I’ve always been bad at evenly rolling out dough lol.
Spread your Sriracha onto your dough. You can use up to 1/3 cup of Sriracha, or as little as 1/4 cup, as long as you spread it out evenly. You can also leave about half an inch of space on one of the long ends so that the filling doesn’t overflow when you roll this thing. It can get messy, but I still spread my filling to the edges because I didn’t mind getting my hands dirty. Just remember to wash your hands immediately after because Sriracha is a chili sauce, and it can leave a burning sensation on your skin. Trust me, I have a Sriracha burn on my left arm to prove it. (Didn’t notice I got some Sriracha on there until it was too late lol.)
Next is the cheese. We’re using 2 cups of shredded cheese to make sure we don’t have a shortage inside our rolls. Remember to use cheeses with this seal right here:
Scatter your cheese evenly over the Sriracha layer. At this point, you can sprinkle on some dried herbs or other flavorings, but if you decide to add sausage or pepperoni or some sort of meat, you can cut down on the cheese by 1/2 cup.
Okay, so now that the toppings are on, it’s time to roll this baby up. This was possibly the hardest part because this thing is loaded and kind of heavy. The first lift and roll was the hardest lol. Once you get to the end of the roll (where it will probably be pretty messy, as seen on my video above) pinch the edges against the body of the roll to seal your filling in. Don’t worry if it doesn’t pinch all the way. The rolls will still form nicely if you properly place them in your baking pan.
To divide the dough into 12 rolls, I find that dental floss works best. You can use a knife but it has to be very sharp so you don’t do any sawing motions that will disfigure the rolled dough. If you’re using a floss however, all you need to do is slip the floss underneath the roll, hold the two ends and just pull them to opposite sides, crisscrossing the floss string to cut a part of the log off. I also like to use the floss to score my log into portions first so I know where to cut.
Place the sliced rolls into your 9×13-inch parchment-lined baking sheet, giving a bit of space between each to allow for expansion.
After 20 to 30 minutes of final proofing, the buns will have grown and will be pushing against each other. At this point, I sprinkle my sesame seeds on top. You can use dried herbs as well, with the option to brush the tops of the rolls with some egg wash to help the topping adhere. The egg wash will also give the buns a more golden color.
Bake in a preheated 400°F (200°C) oven for 20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and the buns are cooked and a bit golden. Mine were perfect at 20 minutes!
Now as tempting as these will be fresh out of the oven, they will also be EXTREMELY hot to handle, so give them like 10 minutes or more to cool down before you dig in. These are best eaten warm, when the cheese is melty, but I don’t want anybody to burn their fingers or their tongues! We’re here to eat some really good Sriracha Cheese Swirl Buns, not to get hurt. But hey, maybe the pain will be worth it?
How about another gooey cheese photo? Am I the only one drooling right now?
- 4½ cups (585 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2¼ teaspoons (7 grams) instant yeast
- 2 Tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons (9 grams) salt
- 2 Tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1½ cups (355 mL) warm water
- ¼ to 1/3 cup (60 to 80 mL) Sriracha or other Thai hot sauce
- 2 cups (I used 300 grams) shredded cheddar cheese
- Egg wash (optional)
- Toasted sesame seeds (optional but good)
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, use a wooden spoon to combine the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, butter, and water, until a shaggy dough forms. Make sure to reach the flour bits at the bottom of the bowl too.
- Attach the bowl to your stand mixer, and using the dough hook, knead at medium-low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and becomes smooth, but still be a bit tacky and supple. This should take more or less 10 minutes. The dough should be elastic enough to pass the windowpane test.
- Remove bowl from stand mixer. With lightly oiled hands, form the dough into a ball then transfer into a lightly greased bowl. Roll it around the bowl to coat with a bit of oil. Cover with cloth or plastic wrap and let proof in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Once risen, punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead briefly to deflate leftover air, and form into a rectangular mound. Roll the dough out to a 16 x 12-inch rectangle.
- Spread the hot sauce all over the surface as evenly as possible, then sprinkle on the grated cheddar. (You can leave a half inch of untouched dough on the long end farther from you to make sealing this a little easier later on.)
- Starting from the long end closest to you, roll the dough as tightly as you can until you form a cylindrical shape. Pinch the seams against the body of the roll to seal. (It might be a bit messy if you cover the dough end to end with toppings.) Take care to immediately wipe off any spilled Sriracha as it can stain white or light surfaces.
- Using a very sharp knife or a long string of dental floss (recommended!) divide the cylinder into 12 rolls. You can slice off the uneven ends first if you wish, though it should fit inside the baking pan. Place the sliced rolls into a parchment-lined 9x13-inch baking pan that's 3 inches high. You should be able to fit 3 rolls per row. Space them a tiny bit apart to give room for the second proof.
- Cover the rolls with a tea towel or plastic wrap and leave them to rise another 20 to 30 minutes, until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Before baking, brush with egg wash if you want a more golden hued bread, then sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top. Bake the buns for 18 to 20 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and bread is a light golden color.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool briefly, until manageable to hold with the hands. Enjoy warm while bread is at its fluffiest and cheese is at its ooziest! These will keep fresh in an airtight container at room temp up to 2 days. Refrigerate leftovers after that. Reheat in toaster or microwave before eating.
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