These are my little “fistful” buns which are delicious and my two children love to help me shape them. Twist each little bun closed tightly as they can open during baking although I love the freeform shapes when they are baked.
2 tsp fast action dried yeast
220ml warm milk
120g very soft butter
100g parmesan, grated
60g pecorino cheese
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp paprika
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper
Polenta, for dusting
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
Egg wash, 1 egg with 2 tbsp water, beaten
Brush a shallow muffin tray with olive oil. Place the flour, salt and yeast into a mixer bowl. Pour in the warm milk and mix to form a soft dough and mix for about 3 minutes. Then transfer to a floured surface and knead in the softened butter until smooth, about 5 minutes. Brush a large mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough into the bowl, cover with a plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, can take up to 3 hours.
In the meantime, mix the cheeses in a medium size bowl, add the egg, paprika, rosemary and a little black pepper and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 3 to 4 minutes. Divide into 12 pieces, weigh each. Roll each one into a 12cm circle.
Carefully spoon the cheese mixture onto the dough circles. Brush the edges with egg wash and gather the overhanging dough together and twist slightly to secure. Place each cheese bun into the individual holes of the muffin tray.
Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes. Allow to cool slightly in the tins and transfer to a cooling rack. Serve warm.
Tip: For a sweet version, fill with chopped strawberries, brown sugar and thyme.