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Cream Cheese and Cherry Buns

Cream Cheese and Cherry Buns
It's that time again; time to share our monthly bread baked for the #TwelveLoaves group. With this month's theme being cheese, I naturally gravitated towards a savory loaf. As a matter of fact, I'd even mixed up rye starter than had just started bubbling and smelling reminiscent of cider mill, with plans of making Bauernbrot mit Käse (a German farmers loaf that I was going to work some Aged Havarti into). But that changed once I spied a copy of Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day at the library.

Why, you ask? Well, this book is written by fellow blogger (and #TwelveLoaves member) Donna Currie of Cookistry, and I'd been meaning to get my hands on a copy ever since it was released last November.  As I flipped through the pages, a photo of Blueberry and Cream Cheese Buns with Lemon Zest caught my eye. If you know me, then you know I'm a sucker for sweet buns. These buns happened to have (cream) cheese in them. After asking Donna if she minded me sharing the recipe, visions of a sweet bun with breakfast made me put that savory loaf on hold.

I only adapted slightly. Donna mentions switching out the dried blueberries for cherries, and I did that. I actually really wanted to use blueberries, but I didn't have any in the pantry, and the closest markets didn't have any either. I wanted them, but I was too lazy to drive around looking for them. So, cherries it was. Since cherry and almond go hand-in-hand, I subbed almond extract for the vanilla extract originally called for in the dough. Other than that, I kept ingredients and amounts the same. If you have a digital kitchen scale, weighing the flour will give you the perfect amount, no need to adjust (and if you don't - GO BUY ONE!).

Although they could be sweeter by capping them off with a drizzle of icing or a shmear of frosting, I really enjoyed that these buns only had a hint of sweetness to them. And while tender, the addition of potato flakes lends a pleasant sturdiness. Yes, I've also mentioned that potato bread a perennial favorite in these parts. The cream cheese filling sort of melts into the layers, leaving behind the flavor of cream cheese, but not the texture.
Cream Cheese and Cherry Buns
I should also mention that I didn't head the "make ahead" part of the recipe. I know, that's what this book is really all about—but I'm confident in my bread making skills, so I sped things up a bit. But as soon as I get my hands on some dried blueberries, I'll be making them again. This time, I'll start the day before and pop them in the oven before everybody gets up to get ready for work and school.

Curious as to what other recipes I want to make from Make Ahead Bread? Here are just a few: Bacon, Tomato, and Cheddar Loaf, Mini Sunflower Seed Loaves , Sauerkraut Rye, Oatmeal and Orange Buns with Toasted Coconut, Grandma Pizza, and Cinnamon Croissants. Aside from the bread recipes a helpful introductory chaper in which you can learn about ingredients, equipment, methods, and even how to make a sourdough starter, the book also includes recipes for leftover bread, as well as butters and spreads.

I can't wait to make more from Make Ahead Bread, but until then, please enjoy these tasty buns, with (cream) cheese for this month's edition of #TwelveLoaves.

Cream Cheese and Cherry Buns
These not-too-sweet sweet buns are swirled with cream cheese and sour cherries; they make a lovely treat alongside your morning coffee.
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Cream Cheese and Cherry Buns
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 20 minutes (active), up to overnight (inactive)
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Keywords: bake bread breakfast vegetarian soy-free nut-free cherries cream cheese

Ingredients (12 buns)
    for the dough:
    • 1 large egg, beaten, plus water to equal 1 1/2 cups total
    • 15.75 ounces (3 1/2 cups) bread flour, plus more as needed
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
    • 1/2 cup instant potato flakes
    • 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
    • 1 tablespoon pure almond extract
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at soft room temperature
    for the filling:
    • 8 ounces cream cheese, at soft room temperature
    • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
    • zest of 1/2 lemon
    • 1 tablespoon milk
    • 1/4 cup dried cherries
    everything else:
    • nonstick spray
    • powdered sugar, optional
    Combine all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl, then turn out and knead by hand until the dough is elastic. You could also do this step in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, or in the pan of a bread machine set to dough-cycle. Place dougn into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in size, ~1 hour.

    In the meantime, make the filling by beating together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest and milk; it should be a spreadable consistency. If it feels too thick, stir in just a dribble of milk (you don't want it to get runny).

    Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with nonstick spray.

    Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently pat and roll it into a rectangle that measures about 12" x 16". Use a rubber spatula or offset spatula to spread the cream cheese filling in an even layer over the dough, leaving 1" of dough uncovered on one of the long edges. Sprinkle the dried cherries over the filling.

    Starting at the long edge opposite the uncovered dough, loosely roll the dough up jellyroll-style; gently pinch the dough shut. Use a serrated knife to cut into 12 slices, arranging them in your prepared dish, cut sides up. Cover the dish with plastic wrap. (At this point, you can refrigerate the dough overnight, or for up to 24 hours.)

    Allow dough to rise at room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350° F during last 15 minutes of rise time. (If you refrigerated your dough, just set the pan on the counter while your oven is preheating.)

    Remove plastic wrap and slide dish into oven and bake until buns are golden and cooked through, 30-40 minutes. If you didn't refrigerate your dough, check it at the shorter time; the smell and color will tell you when they're done, but you can also stick an instant read thermometer into one of the buns (dough portion, not filling) and it should register at least 190° F.

    Let the buns cool in the pan on a wire rack; you can turn them out of the pan after 10 minutes to finish cooling, if you wish. Sift powdered sugar over the cooled buns before serving, if you wish.

    While these tender, but substantial, buns make a great morning treat alongside your coffee or tea, they are not as sweet as your typical sweet bun. A sprinkling of powdered sugar keeps that flavor profile, but you could drizzle them with some icing or spread them with some frosting if you need that sugar fix.

    -slightly adapted from Make Ahead Bread by Donna Currie
    Cream Cheese and Cherry Buns
    #TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Savoring Italy and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen, and the rest of our fabulous bakers.

    Our host this month is Robin from A Shaggy Dough Story, and our theme is CHEESE. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month's mouthwatering selection of #TwelveLoaves enter last month's Italian Breads!

    If you'd like to bake along with us this month, share your CHEESE bread using hashtag #TwelveLoaves!