Serious Eats: Recipes
Bread Baking: Indiana Cheese Buns
OK, before the entire Hoosier state questions my sanity, I'll admit that these buns have absolutely nothing at all to do with the state of Indiana. Nothing. Nada. It's all about a pun. These buns are stuffed with ham and cheese, and when I hear "ham and cheese" I tend to pun it into Hammond Cheese. Like Hammond, Indiana. Get it? Ham and ...
Oh, never mind.
These buns are meant to be a hot sandwich, and are parbaked until the dough is fully baked but not browned. Then they're cooled and stored so you can heat-and-eat later. I've only tried reheating these in a regular oven, but they'd probably be just fine in a toaster oven, too. Bake until they're brown and the inside should be warm and gooey at the same time.
I used two cheeses here—Colby and pepperjack—because it's what I had on hand. But any cheese you like should be just fine. No ham? These would be a great way to use up whatever leftover deli meat or roast you have on hand. Freeze them after par-baking, and you'll have an easy meal later on.
I've found that baking anything filled can be a challenge. The cavern inside always grows much larger than the filling, so sometimes it feels like you've been cheated out of as much filling as could have been there. I find that's especially true when there is a wet or melty component right next to the dough, since it can make the dough around it a little more dense and doughy. With meat as the top and bottom layers of the filling, there's still empty space, but the dough isn't affected as much, making for a much nicer sandwich.
About the author: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. She writes the blog Cookistry and has joined the Serious Eats team with a weekly column about baking.