Recipe: Smitten Kitchen’s Cheddar Cheese Swirls Bun

I absolutely love Smitten Kitchen’s cookbook and it’s my go-to. Here’s a first attempt at her cheese swirl buns recipe, finding new and interesting ways to get through the stay home lockdowns.

How is everyone doing with your new routine of “stay home”? I’m an introvert and I really like being on my own and spending time with myself, but I have to admit it really challenges one to think out of the box and you need to summon the discipline in every cell of your body to get out of the rut – to shake things up every day.

I love Simone Heng’s inspiration nuggets and her focus on human connections. Like her, I’m a freelancer and work is pretty much non-existent and I’m still chasing on overdue payments that are reaching the 6 months mark. Staying home has been a good way to save money with the uncertainty of my next payment or job, and Simone raises a great point that all this doesn’t matter because it’s time to create and creating stuff makes one happy.

I’ve been cooking, baking and as you can see, reviving the blog that I have neglected for a while now. I’ve also restarted my skillshare courses. Once upon a time when I was living in Macao and miserable working from home with little human connection, I worked on getting better at photography and was working on better food styling. Enjoy 2 free months on me if you sign up on my link!

Now that I have time to cook and blog, I dusted off my DSLR and started taking photos again. Granted in Hong Kong – the world’s most expensive real estate, we live in small spaces but I’m looking for magic and the little things in small spaces.

So, here we go to Smitten Kitchen’s fantastic recipe. I’m a terrible baker and not meticulous about measurements, but this was completely doable and got approval from Mr chef. I highly recommend her cookbook, it’s been my go-to for years and her recipes are simple and easy to follow. If you missed out – her pizza dough recipe is the bomb. And so simple to make.

Recipe: Dough
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
few grinds of black pepper
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast
1 cup of milk
1/2 stick (55g of butter)
1 tablespoon of melted butter for brushing


Combine flour, salt, pepper and sugar in a large bowl, in a separate bowl whisk the yeast into the milk until it dissolves, then pour the mixture and melted butter into the flour. Mix together with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until you get a shaggy ball.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it. Wait for it to expand till twice its size. (about 2 hours)

Making the buns:
scoop the dough out of the bowl onto a well-floured counter
roll into 12″ x 16″ rectangle. Mix filling ingredients and spread thinly over the rectangle leaving a 1/2″ border at the short ends. Roll it up (long side). With a sharp knife, cut the log into 1″ rolls.

Line the bottom of two small pans with parchment paper. Brush the tops with melted butter, leaving a little space between them. Let it rise at room temperature to about double the size again. (approx 2 hours)

Preheat oven to 180ºC and then bake for 20-25 mins or when the top turns golden brown and the cheese starts bubbling.

1/2 cup of grated white onion
170g of grated sharp cheddar cheese (I used 250g but find that I could still have added more)
2 teaspoon of minced fresh dill
1/4 teaspoon table salt
few grinds of black pepper

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