Smell. Scent. Aroma. No matter which word you use, the sense of smell can cause the most amazing and immediate reactions (good or bad).
Chocolate chip cookies baking on a cold and rainy day.
The slightly salty, fishy smell of a riverside market.
Freshly baked bread filling up a house with a warm and comforting aroma.
My favourite has to be the last one. Sure, I love freshly baked cookies, and don’t even get me started on how excited the smells of Christmas time can get me, but there is only one scent that will make me immediately salivate – the smell of bread baking. Whether at home, at a bakery, or even while driving past the local bread factory, I would drool over this smell morning, noon, and night, 365 days a year.
I remember a Japanese folk tale that I was once told: Ooka and the Stolen Smell. A poor student lived above a tempura shop and would fill up on the mouthwatering smell of fried fish from below. When the shopkeeper heard about what the student was doing, he got so mad that he took the student to court for stealing his smell. The judge, Ooka, decided that the student had, in fact, stolen the smell, and ordered him to pay the shopkeeper by passing the coins from his left hand to his right hand. Thus the punishment for stealing a smell was the sound of coins.
I’m glad that shopkeepers can’t really take us to court for stealing smells, because if that were the case, I’d be in litigation with every baker from here to the Arctic Ocean!
Bread is a great vehicle for flavour, whatever palate you have: sweet, salty, or spicy! One of my favourite ways to enjoy bread is this savoury Jalapeno Cheese Bun. It’s delicious spirals of garlicky bread are bound together with gooey cream cheese that gets a kick of heat from freshly cut jalapeno rings.
This is the perfect addition to a game day party, an appetizer that will have everyone licking their lips, or delicious on its own as a snack. These are a cross between a bun and a jalapeno popper, all baked up fresh in your oven.
- 2 t instant yeast (non-GMO)
- ½ c + 1 T warm filtered water
- pinch of sugar (organic, unbleached)
- 2 c flour (I use all purpose)
- ¼ c oil - try coconut or avocado (organic)
- ¼ c buttermilk (full-fat from the store, or make your own)
- 2 t sea salt or Real Salt
- 2 t garlic powder (non-irradiated)
- 1.5 t parsley flakes (non-irradiated)
- 1 t black pepper (non-irradiated)
- 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature (organic, full-fat & grassfed or make your own)
- ½ c shredded cheese (organic, full-fat & grassfed) - mozzarella is my favourite, but use any you like!
- ½ c jalapeno, sliced in rings
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand, covered, 2-3 minutes.
- Uncover the bowl and add 1 cup of flour, oil, buttermilk, and spices. Mix with dough hook. Once mostly mixed, add in the rest of the flour and continue mixing until well combined, about 5 minutes. The dough should not feel dry to the touch.
- Grease bowl and dough and cover in a dark, warm place for about 4 hours. Punch dough down and allow to rest for another hour.
- Roll out dough to about 12 x 10.
- Spread out cream cheese along the surface of the dough and then sprinkle the shredded cheese and jalapeno on the dough.
- Tightly wrap up and cut into 3 inch rolls (you’ll get 6 rolls). Place rolls on a greased pan (I use a 6-inch round baking pan) and let sit for an additional hour.
- Bake at 375 for 15 - 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and enjoy hot!
The flavour varieties are virtually endless, too, as you can add in a variety of peppers (spicy or not), or change up the type of cheese that you use within the buns. And while the dish has a long prep time, most of it is hands-off, so it’s a great dish to start ahead of time and finish up right before you want to eat them!