Cheese Brioche Buns

Recipe by PJ Hamel

These rich, buttery sandwich buns include a generous helping of finely ground cheddar cheese kneaded right into the dough. The result? Assertive cheese flavor that's wonderfully complementary in all kinds of sandwiches — especially ham.

Due to their high percentage of both cheese and butter, these rolls will feel a bit stiff at room temperature. To unlock their soft texture, reheat gently before enjoying.

20 mins
25 to 30 mins
11 hrs 50 mins
10 large buns
Cheese Brioche Buns - select to zoom
Cheese Brioche Buns - select to zoom
Cheese Brioche Buns - select to zoom


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  1. To make the dough: Cut the cheese into chunks. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Place the flour and cheese into the work bowl of a food processor. Process until the cheese is finely ground, and no chunks remain.

  2. Combine the flour/cheese with the remainder of the dough ingredients, mixing to make a rough, sticky dough. Knead the dough — in a mixer or bread machine — until it's smooth and starting to become shiny. It can take up to 20 minutes of kneading in a stand mixer to develop (see "tips," below), so we don't recommend kneading this by hand.

  3. Form the dough into a ball, place it in a greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 1 hour.

  4. Refrigerate the covered dough overnight, to make it easier to shape.

  5. The next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator about an hour before you want to shape the buns and divide it into 10 pieces (about 85g each).

  6. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces; each will be about 85g.

  7. Shape each piece into a ball; working with the chilled dough is exactly like working with clay or Play-Doh, so it's easy to shape. Position the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving space between them. Using the bottom of a measuring cup or other flat surface, flatten the balls to about 3 1/2" diameter.

  8. Cover the buns, and let them rise until they're quite puffy. This may take up to 3 to 4 hours, depending on how warm your rising environment, and how cold the dough.

  9. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

  10. To make the egg wash: Whisk together the egg white and water until foamy. Brush the buns with the egg wash.

  11. Bake the buns for 20 minutes; tent loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes, until the buns are golden brown, and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of one reads about 190°F.

  12. Remove the buns from the oven, and cool them on a rack.

  13. Storage information: Store leftover buns, well-wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Can you use other cheeses, besides cheddar? We don't recommend soft cheese; its moisture will "glue up" the flour. But so long as you use a hard, full-flavored cheese, sure, whatever you like is fine.
  • Oftentimes grated cheese gives yeast bread or rolls a speckled appearance — but not in the case of these buns. Blending the recipe's flour and cheese in a food processor grinds the cheese super-fine, allowing it to disperse throughout the buns completely rather than make "freckles" on their crust.
  • What's the easiest way to divide dough into 10 perfectly equal pieces? First, weigh it (in grams, preferably), and divide by 10; this gives you the weight of each bun. Next, break off two pieces of dough, each weighing the target weight. You now have two buns, and one larger piece of dough. Divide the larger piece of dough into eight pieces simply by dividing in half, then in half again, etc.
  • Due to its high fat content, this dough can take lots of kneading to come together and become smooth. Here's the kneading method we like best; it takes just 10 to 12 minutes. Using a stand mixer (we use KitchenAid in our test kitchen), beat with the beater attachment for 2 minutes at medium-high speed (KitchenAid speed 6). Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and repeat, beating for 2 minutes. By this time, the dough should have begun leaving the sides of the bowl; if it hasn't, scrape and repeat once more. Switch to the dough hook, and knead for 4 to 6 minutes at "kneading speed" (KitchenAid speed 4), until the dough is smooth and shiny.