Cheddar Beer Rolls

Cheddar Beer RollsLet the Good Times Roll
I am not a huge beer drinker. I really have to be in the mood for a beer. And even then, I have very specific beer tastes. It’s either a lighter beer like a Corona when it’s hot or I am on a beach. Or, usually, when it’s cold outside at the tailgate, it’s a Guinness or other type of stout. Nothing in between.

I do, however, cook with beer…a lot.

I have a number of recipes that involve beer from Beef Short Ribs Braised in Dark Beer with Bacon and Red Onion to Spicy Beer Marinated Flank Steak but one of my favorite ways to cook using beer is to make bread.

Sure you could do a straight-up beer bread like my Classic Beer Bread recipe which is a great addition to any fall chili or soup dinner. But, if you are looking for something with a twist give this Cheddar Beer Rolls recipe a shot. They are great on the table as dinner rolls. But, they work equally well when made into hamburger buns for a little something unexpected to up your tailgating game…and if you really want to get crazy, add some diced jalapeños.

Cheddar Beer Rolls Recipe
Adapted from NY Times Cooking
Yields 12 dinner-sized rolls or 6 hamburger buns

The addition of beer makes these Cheddar Beer Rolls recipe especially light and fluffy. And, you can also make delicious burger buns.

6 cups bread flour, plus more for work surface
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
4 tablespoons butter (2 tablespoons softened, 2 tablespoons melted), plus more for the bowl and pan
1/4 cup honey
2 cups lager or pilsner
1-3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
4 ounces canned jalapeños or green chilies (very optional)

Make the dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine bread flour, yeast, salt, 2 tablespoons of the softened butter, honey, and beer. Mix the ingredients on low speed for 4 minutes. The dough should come together around the dough hook. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix the dough for 2 minutes more, occasionally stopping to scrape it from the hook. Add 1 cup of the Cheddar cheese and the jalapeños (if using) and mix until incorporated (about 30 seconds to 1 minute.)

First rising
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise until nearly double in size (about 1 hour).

Shape the dough
For the rolls: Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch pan. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 12 even pieces. Gently round each piece of dough into a ball, and place them into the prepared pan. The rolls may not touch now, but they will when they rise and bake.

For the burger buns: Lightly grease a rimmed cookie sheet. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 6 even pieces. Gently round each piece of dough into a ball, and place them into the prepared cookie sheet. Leave enough space between the burger buns so they will not touch after rising and baking.

Second rising
Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until they look visibly puffy (about 35 to 45 minutes). Toward the end of rise time, pre-heat the oven to 400º F. Brush the rolls or buns with 2 tablespoons of melted butter, and top each with 1 tablespoon of the remaining Cheddar (a bit more for the burger buns). Be careful to keep the cheese away from the edges of the pan or cookie sheet.

Bake the rolls or buns
Bake the rolls or burger buns until golden brown, and the cheese on top is melted and browned (about 17 to 22 minutes). If you are using a thermometer, the rolls should have an internal temperature of 190º F.

Allow the rolls to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Allow the burger buns to come to room temperature before slicing.

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