January 7, 2020

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns (Vatrushka Recipe)

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns (Vatrushka Recipe) are freezer-friendly, soft and fluffy sweet buns filled with delicious smooth farmer’s cheese filling. These are BEST when they are warm and fresh from the oven. When you start at one, you won’t be able to stop until all are gone.  

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Sweet Cheese Filled Buns (Vatrushka Recipe): freezer-friendly, soft and fluffy sweet buns filled with smooth farmer’s cheese filling. | olgainthekitchen.com #vatrushka #sweetbuns #farmerscheese #olgainthekitchen #bread #ukrainianrecipe #cheesebuns

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Vatrushka buns are typically filled with farmer’s cheese, potatoes, jam, cabbage or other flavors. They are very popular in Ukraine.

Our favorite flavor is with farmer’s cheese and if you’re been following me for a while, you know that farmer’s cheese and I are best friends ;). The fact that I get requests for more farmer’s cheese recipes all the time, I feel like I’m obligated to share the cheese version with you.

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns (Vatrushka Recipe): freezer-friendly, soft and fluffy sweet buns filled with smooth farmer’s cheese filling. | olgainthekitchen.com #vatrushka #sweetbuns #farmerscheese #olgainthekitchen #bread #ukrainianrecipe #cheesebuns

Sweet Cheese Buns Family Recipe:

After I got married, my sister Alla shared a sweet buns recipe with me that she got from our grandma. I slightly tweaked grandma’s recipe and took my other sister’s, Mariya idea of making vatrushki into mini pies. I filled them with farmer’s cheese filling (of course ;), and we got these very addicting mini pies with a really smooth and creamy topping.

These are really easy to make, but just need a good amount of rising time so they turn out soft, fluffy and mouth-watering.

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns (Vatrushka Recipe): freezer-friendly, soft and fluffy sweet buns filled with smooth farmer’s cheese filling. | olgainthekitchen.com #vatrushka #sweetbuns #farmerscheese #olgainthekitchen #bread #ukrainianrecipe #cheesebuns

I remember when my mom, sisters and I visited Ukraine in 2011 (I believe that’s the year). We used to go to bazaar just for these goodies. They would sell out really fast early in the morning. People just LOVE them!

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns Recipe:

The ingredients are very basic and very likely you have them in your fridge already. We use instant dry yeast to rise the dough by combining with some sugar and whole milk to activate it. In addition to large eggs, I add another egg yolk. The salt balances out all the flavors and the sour cream and oil make this dough elastic and light as an air. 

Make sure you are properly measuring the flour. Spoon flour into a measuring cup and scrape off the top with the back of a knife. There is no need to cool the melted butter if you’re making the dough using bread machine. Just pour the melted hot butter over flour. 

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns (Vatrushka Recipe): freezer-friendly, soft and fluffy sweet buns filled with smooth farmer’s cheese filling. | olgainthekitchen.com #vatrushka #sweetbuns #farmerscheese #olgainthekitchen #bread #ukrainianrecipe #cheesebuns

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns Filling:

Combination of homemade farmer’s cheese and cream cheese make the yummiest cheese filling in buns. My family prefers these more on the sweeter side, so I always add a generous amount of sugar into the filling. Adding a bit of vanilla for some extra flavor is always a plus. 

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns (Vatrushka Recipe): freezer-friendly, soft and fluffy sweet buns filled with smooth farmer’s cheese filling. | olgainthekitchen.com #vatrushka #sweetbuns #farmerscheese #olgainthekitchen #bread #ukrainianrecipe #cheesebuns

How to Make Cheese Filled Buns – Vatrushki:

To Make Sweet Buns Dough:

  1. In a glass measuring cup, combine and stir 1 cup whole milk, 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast and 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar. Let rest 10-15 minutes for the yeast to activate. Then pour the mixture into the bread machine basket.
  2. Into the basket, add 2 large eggs, 1 egg yolk, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon fine salt, 3 tablespoons sour cream, 2 tablespoons oil and 4 cups all-purpose flour. Microwave to melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and pour it over flour. If making dough by hand or mixer, slightly cool butter before adding.
  3. Set bread machine to dough cycle. When it starts mixing, I like to peek in to make sure it doesn’t need more flour. (It depends on the flour and its moisture). The dough is perfect when it is no longer sticking to the walls of the bread machine basket. Do not add more flour past this point.
  4. Line parchment paper with 2 baking sheets and set aside.
  5. Once the dough cycle is complete, the dough will be tripled in volume. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down the dough and knead it for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Divide the dough into half and then cut each piece in half, then again in half and keep repeating until you get a total of 16 pieces from the entire dough.
  7. Shape the dough into balls. Place 8 balls of dough per baking sheet, evenly spaced on your baking sheet (2-3-inches apart). Cover baking sheet with clean kitchen cloth and let the dough balls rise at room temperature, in a draft-free area for 45-60 minutes.

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns (Vatrushka Recipe): freezer-friendly, soft and fluffy sweet buns filled with smooth farmer’s cheese filling. | olgainthekitchen.com #vatrushka #sweetbuns #farmerscheese #olgainthekitchen #bread #ukrainianrecipe #cheesebuns

To Make Cheese Filling:

  1. Press 2 cups farmer’s cheese through a strainer. Place few tablespoons at a time and press down with a spoon. This will ensure the cheese filling is really smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pressed farmer’s cheese, 2 (8 oz) cream cheese, 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat with mixer until everything is fully combined and filling is smooth, about 2 minutes.

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns (Vatrushka Recipe): freezer-friendly, soft and fluffy sweet buns filled with smooth farmer’s cheese filling. | olgainthekitchen.com #vatrushka #sweetbuns #farmerscheese #olgainthekitchen #bread #ukrainianrecipe #cheesebuns

To Fill Sweet Buns with Cheese and Bake:

  1. Make egg wash by combining and whisking 1 egg and 1/2 tablespoon milk; set aside. 
  2. Push a round 2/3 measuring cup or a narrow drinking glass over the center of each dough round to make a well in the center.
  3. With your fingers, make the well wider again and spoon about 2 tablespoons of cheese into each well. Use a teaspoon to spread the cheese into sides. It would seem as there’s too much cheese and won’t fit, but it will work just fine. Let rise at room temperature for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to a 360°F. Brush the buns with egg wash. Bake 1 or both sheets at the same time at 360°F for 20-22 minutes or until tops are golden brown. These are best fresh and warm. Store sweet buns at room temperature, covered with plastic food wrap. 

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns (Vatrushka Recipe): freezer-friendly, soft and fluffy sweet buns filled with smooth farmer’s cheese filling. | olgainthekitchen.com #vatrushka #sweetbuns #farmerscheese #olgainthekitchen #bread #ukrainianrecipe #cheesebuns

Working with Yeast Dough:

Number one rule is to never let the dough or yeast get too hot during the rising process or you will kill the yeast. I personally ALWAYS let anything bread rise at room temperature. I think I’m kind of old-fashioned this way.

Try not to let the mixture get warmer than 100°F. That means your milk cannot be too hot and your oven cannot be above 100°F while the dough is rising or you will ruin the dough. 

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns (Vatrushka Recipe): freezer-friendly, soft and fluffy sweet buns filled with smooth farmer’s cheese filling. | olgainthekitchen.com #vatrushka #sweetbuns #farmerscheese #olgainthekitchen #bread #ukrainianrecipe #cheesebuns

Filling Variations for Sweet Buns:

When it comes to filling vatrushki, you want a filling that’s thick and not runny. Few variations are:

  • Sweet cherries. Pitted and topped with 1/2 teaspoon sugar for each bun. Summer-perfection!
  • Poppy seed. Even though my family does not really like poppy seed, many people love it and it works like a charm in vatrushki.
  • Preserves or jam. You might need to add 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch, but don’t add too much jam into each bun. Jam tends to leak out when heated.
  • Cheese and berries. Sweet cream cheese filling, topped with fresh or frozen blueberries.

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns (Vatrushka Recipe): freezer-friendly, soft and fluffy sweet buns filled with smooth farmer’s cheese filling. | olgainthekitchen.com #vatrushka #sweetbuns #farmerscheese #olgainthekitchen #bread #ukrainianrecipe #cheesebuns

Do I Need Bread Machine to Make the Dough?

No, a bread machine is not required for this recipe. You may follow the same instructions and make the dough by hand OR with your big KitchenAid stand mixer. I personally always use bread machine to make any type of buns or bread dough. It is so much easier and I get to do other things around the house. The bread machine mixes, rises and prepares the dough to work with in slightly over 2 hours.

The key is to let the dough rise. Whether you’re preparing the dough by hand or mixer, make sure to give that time for it to rise. Proper rising time will make sweet buns fluffy and soft.

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns (Vatrushka Recipe): freezer-friendly, soft and fluffy sweet buns filled with smooth farmer’s cheese filling. | olgainthekitchen.com #vatrushka #sweetbuns #farmerscheese #olgainthekitchen #bread #ukrainianrecipe #cheesebuns

If making dough by hand: cover your mixing bowl with plastic food wrap or clean kitchen cloth and let rise in a warm 100°F oven for 1 hour (or at room temperature 2 hours). The dough should triple in volume.

Our Favorite Ukrainian Bread Recipes:

If you love farmer’s cheese like we do, don’t miss our most popular Crepes With Cheese, favorite breakfast treat Cheese Pancakes and easy Farmer’s Cheese Blueberry Crumb Cake

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns (Vatrushka Recipe): freezer-friendly, soft and fluffy sweet buns filled with smooth farmer’s cheese filling. | olgainthekitchen.com #vatrushka #sweetbuns #farmerscheese #olgainthekitchen #bread #ukrainianrecipe #cheesebuns

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns (Vatrushka Recipe): freezer-friendly, soft and fluffy sweet buns filled with smooth farmer’s cheese filling. | olgainthekitchen.com

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns (Vatrushka Recipe)

5 from 4 votes
Servings: 16 buns
Prep Time: 4 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes

Vatrushka Buns are soft, fluffy sweet buns filled with farmer’s cheese and are very popular in Ukraine. They can be baked completely, cooled and frozen for up to 3 months to enjoy later by thawing at room temperature.

Ingredients

Sweet Cheese Filled Buns Recipe:

  • 1 cup warm whole milk or 2% milk (about 100°F, not hot)
  • 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs – room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk – room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar + 1/2 tablespoon for activating yeast
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (might need more), plus more for dusting

Sweet Buns Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg - room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole milk or 2% milk

Sweet Buns Cheese Filling:

Instructions

To Make Sweet Buns Dough:

  1. In a glass measuring cup, combine and stir 1 cup whole milk, 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast and 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar. Let rest 10-15 minutes for the yeast to activate. Then pour the mixture into the bread machine basket.

  2. Into the basket, add remaining ingredients: 2 large eggs, 1 egg yolk, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon fine salt, 3 tablespoons sour cream, 2 tablespoons oil and 4 cups all-purpose flour. Microwave to melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and pour it over flour. If making dough by hand or mixer, slightly cool butter before adding.

  3. Set bread machine to dough cycle. Mine takes 2 hours 20 minutes to rest, mix, rise and fully prepare the dough to work with. When it starts mixing, peek in to make sure it doesn’t need more flour. You might need to add up to 1/2 cup more. (It depends on the flour and its moisture). The dough is perfect when it is no longer sticking to the walls of the bread machine basket. Do not add more flour past this point.

  4. Line parchment paper with 2 baking sheets and set aside.

  5. Once the dough cycle is complete, the dough will be tripled in volume. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down the dough with your hands and knead it for 1-2 minutes.

  6. Divide the dough into half and then cut each piece in half, then again in half and keep repeating until you get a total of 16 pieces from the entire dough.

  7. Shape the dough into balls. Place 8 balls of dough per baking sheet, evenly spaced on your baking sheet (2-3-inches apart). Cover baking sheet with clean kitchen cloth and let the dough balls rise at room temperature, in a draft-free area for 45-60 minutes.

To Make Cheese Filling:

  1. Press 2 cups farmer’s cheese through a strainer. Place few tablespoons at a time and press down with a spoon. This will ensure the cheese filling is really smooth.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the pressed farmer’s cheese, 2 (8 oz) cream cheese, 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat with mixer until everything is fully combined and filling is smooth (about 2 mins).

To Fill Sweet Buns with Cheese and Bake:

  1. Make egg wash by combining and whisking 1 egg and 1/2 tablespoon milk; set aside.

  2. Push a round 2/3 measuring cup or a narrow drinking glass over the center of each dough round to make a well in the center. Wipe the bottom of measuring cup with oil if necessary to prevent from sticking (I usually don’t).

  3. With your fingers, make the well wider again and spoon about 2 tablespoons of cheese into each well. Use a teaspoon to spread the cheese deep into sides. It would seem as there’s too much cheese and won’t fit, but it will work just fine. Let rise at room temperature for 20-25 minutes.

  4. Preheat the oven to a 360°F. Brush the buns with egg wash. Bake 1 or both sheets at the same time for 20-22 minutes or until tops are golden brown. (I did 20 minutes). These are best fresh and warm. Store sweet buns at room temperature, covered with plastic food wrap.

Recipe Notes

  • Special Tools: Bread Machine | Baking Sheets | Pastry Brush | Strainer | Handheld Mixer or KitchenAid Stand Mixer
  • Working with Yeast Dough: number one rule is to never let the dough or yeast get too hot during the rising process or you will kill the yeast. Try not to let the mixture get warmer than 100°F. That means your milk cannot be too hot and your oven cannot be above 100°F while the dough is rising or you will ruin the dough. I personally ALWAYS let anything bread rise at room temperature. 
  • Measuring flour: spoon flour into a measuring cup and scrape off the top with the back of a knife.
  • If making dough by hand: cover your mixing bowl with plastic food wrap or clean kitchen cloth and let rise in a warm 100°F oven for 1 hour (or at room temperature 2 hours). The dough should triple in volume.
  • To freeze sweet cheese filled buns: cool baked sweet cheese buns completely. Tightly wrap each bun in a plastic wrap. Place wrapped buns in a large freezer-friendly storage bag or plastic container. Date the bag and use for 2-3 months. Thaw wrapped or unwrapped sweet cheese buns in the refrigerator or at room temperature. They will taste fresh-like once again.

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