Many sticky bun recipes call for a firm, dry dough that’s easy to shape into the proper spiral, easy to slice, and tough enough to hold a good quanтιтy of topping. Firm, dry sticky buns, on the other hand, aren’t very appetizing.
We added a cooked flour-and-water mixture to the dough to generate a softer, more tender, more moist sticky bun. The paste holds water, making the dough less sticky and harder to work with, while the increased hydration during baking turns to steam, making the bread fluffy and light. The additional water keeps the crumb moist and soft as well.
We reinforced the crumb by adding a resting interval and withheld the sugar and salt until the gluten had well eѕтablished to ensure that the soft bread would not collapse under the weight of the topping.
I’m sure you guys are gonna love it! Now let’s get into the kitchen!
MAKES 9 SERVINGS
2 large eggs, room temperature
⅔ cup whole milk
2¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1¾ teaspoons active dry yeast (from one ¼-ounce envelope)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted b͎u͎t͎t͎er, c̾u̾t̾ into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus ½ tablespoon, melted
1 large egg
Coarse sea salt
½ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted b͎u͎t͎t͎er, room temperature
All-purpose flour (for dusting)
⅓ cup honey
¾ cup heavy cream
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted b͎u͎t͎t͎er
¾ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1¾ cups chopped pecans (about 8 ounces)
¼ teaspoon finely grated orange zest (optional)
An 8x8x2″ metal baking pan
Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave until it reaches 110°–115° on an instant-read thermometer. Pour the milk into a 2-cup measuring cup and add 1 tablespoon of sugar. Mix in the yeast with the milk using a whisk. Allow for 5 minutes for the yeast to froth up.
Whisk in the eggs until they are completely smooth. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, salt, and the remaining 4 tablespoons sugar. Pour in the milk mixture. Add 12 cup room-temperature b͎u͎t͎t͎er, 1 piece at a time, to the mixer while it is still running, mixing well between additions. For 1 minute, mix on medium sp̾e̾e̾d. Knead on medium-high sp̾e̾e̾d for 5 minutes, or until the dough is supple and smooth.
Brush 1 tbsp. melted b͎u͎t͎t͎er in a medium bowl; put the dough in the bowl. Cover dough with plastic wrap and brush the top of it with the remaining melted b͎u͎t͎t͎er.
Allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 1 – 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in size.
Allow dough to chill for 2 hours.
Make ahead: Dough can be made 1 day ahead of time, before the first rise. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill. Allow 2–2 ½ hours to rise in a warm, draft-free environment until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. On a rimmed baking sheet, spread the nuts out. Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until aromatic and slightly browned. Allow to cool completely before serving. Set aside 1 ¼ cups of nuts for the buns.
In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the b͎u͎t͎t͎er. Brown sugar, cream, honey, salt, and orange zest, if using, are whisked together. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low heat and continue to cook for 3–4 minutes, or until the glaze is golden brown and shiny. Pour 1 cup glaze, tilted to coat the bottom and edges of the baking pan. Set the leftover glaze aside. Sprinkle ½ cup toasted pecans over the bottom of the baking pan and let cool.
In a medium mixing bowl, beaт b͎u͎t͎t͎er, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and kosher salt with an electric mixer on medium sp̾e̾e̾d until light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Set aside the filling.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12×16″ rectangle that is approximately 1/4″ thick. Arrange the dough on the work area so that one of the long sides is facing you. Cover dough with cinnamon-sugar mixture, leaving a 1″ border on the side away from you.
Over the cinnamon-sugar mixture, sprinkle 3/4 cup chopped pecans. Roll dough into a log starting with the long edge closest to you, tightening as you go and patting in ends if they begin to taper. To seal the seam where the long side meets the roll, pinch it together. Place the seam side of the log down.
Cut the log crosswise into 9 pieces with a big knife (lightly flour knife between slices if dough is too sticky). Turn the buns c̾u̾t̾ side up and carefully flatten the tops. If necessary, mould the buns to form round edges by gently pressing and twisting them in a circular motion with lightly floured hands. Place the buns in the prepared pan, spreading them evenly apart (buns should not touch each other).
Wrap the pan with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel loosely. Allow buns to rise until doubled in size, 45 mins –1 hour in a warm, draft-free environment, or 1 1/2–2 hours if dough has been chilled overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle. In a separate dish, whisk together the egg and 1/2 teaspoons of water. Egg wash the tops of the buns. Bake until buns are golden brown, filling is bubbling, and an instant-read thermometer put into the center of buns registers 185°, about 50 minutes, rotating pan halfway through and tenting with foil if browning too quickly.
Allow 5 minutes for cooling. Overspread the leftover glaze. Sprinkle ½ cup pecans over. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Season with a pinch of salt. Warm or room temperature buns can all be served.