Simple Sweet Dough
4 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup warm water (110 to 115º F)
1 package active dry yeast
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup milk
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Add 1 Tbsp. sugar to the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the water. Do not stir. Cover the bowl with a saucer and let the mixture stand for about 5 minutes. Stir briefly with a fork, cover again, and let stand a few more minutes until bubbly.Stand Mixer Method
In the bowl of a stand, fitted with a paddle attachment; mix in low speed the flour, remaining 3 Tbsp. of sugar, and the salt. Add the butter and continue to mix until small crumbs form, about 2-4 minutes, depending on the temperature of the butter.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg yolks, and vanilla. Add the milk mixture to the flour, along with the dissolved yeast, and mix on low for about 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix for another 30 seconds until a smooth dough forms. This is a soft dough.
In large mixing bowl, whisk together the 3 cups of flour, remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar, and the salt. Add the soft cubed butter, and using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work in the butter until the mixture resembles fine meal.
Make a well in the centre. Using a fork, blend together in a small bowl the milk, egg yolks and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture into the well and add the dissolved yeast. With a wooden spoon, gradually work the crumbs into the liquids, mixing until all the crumbs are incorporated and a rough dough is formed. Sprinkle the work surface with about 2 tablespoons of the remaining flour. Then turn the dough onto the floured surface and knead lightly until smooth.
Lightly butter a medium bowl. Empty the dough into the bowl, smoothing the top with floured hands. Spread a thin layer of softened butter on top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
You can keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to three days, or wrap tightly and freeze for up to 3 months.
½ recipe Simple Sweet Dough
1 small recipe Carole’s Favourite Streusel
1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 tsp water, for egg wash
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Remove the dough from the refrigerator 1 to 1½ hours before shaping.
Generously butter a 9x9x2-inch square pan. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough gently six to eight times, or until smooth, then pat it into a square. Using a dough scraper or a sharp knife, divide the dough evenly into 9 pieces. Cupping your hand over each piece, roll the dough on a barely floured surface, continuously rotating it until it forms a ball.
Arrange the balls in the pan, placing three pieces across and three pieces down. Be sure to space them evenly. Flatten the balls slightly until they are about ¾ inch apart; they do not have to touch. Cover the pan with a tea towel and set in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes, or until the balls begin to touch each other. While the buns are rising, prepare the streusel.
Fifteen minutes before baking, position the rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 350ºF.
Gently brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash. Sprinkle the crumb mixture heavily over the dough. Press the streusel slightly into the dough. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the streusel is slightly browned. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool. To remove the pan, place a 12-inch piece of foil on top of the pan, cupping it around the side to hold the streusel in place. Cover with a cooling rack, invert, and carefully lift off the pan. Cover with another rack, invert again, remove the foil, and cool right side up. When the buns are almost cool, dust the tops heavily with powdered sugar. Reheat before serving. Break apart when ready to serve.
Carole’s Favourite Streusel (small recipe)
6 to 7 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned in and levelled
½ cup sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp finely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Place the butter in a 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat until almost melted; remove from the heat and cool to tepid.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and nuts if using. Add to the butter and stir with a fork until blended and mixture begins to form crumbs. Gently squeeze the mixture with your hand to form larger lumps, then break them apart with your fingertips. Before using, let the streusel stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾cup very fresh light brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp light corn syrup
⅔ cup broken pecan pieces
½ recipe Simple Sweet Dough
2 tbsp unsalted butter, very soft
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup medium-chopped pecans
2 to 3 tbsp golden raisins, plumped
1 large egg lightly beaten with 2 tsp water, for egg wash
Make the Topping
Generously butter 15 muffin tin cavities. Place the softened butter in a medium bowl and gradually add the brown sugar, honey and corn syrup, mixing until a smooth paste is formed. Divide the mixture evenly into the cavities, using about 2 tsp for each. Using the back of a teaspoon, spread the topping as best as you can around the bottom and ¾ up the sides. Sprinkle the bottom of the cavities with broken pecans.
Shape the Buns
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place it onto a lightly floured rolling surface, and press it into a 4x6 rectangle. Roll the dough into a 10x15-inch rectangle with the 15 inch side parallel to the edge of the counter.
Using a small offset spatula, spread the dough with the softened butter leaving a ½-inch border on the top. In a small bowl, combine the sugars with the cinnamon. Sprinkle the mixture over the dough along with the nuts and raisins, again leaving a ½- inch border at the top. Brush the border with egg wash.
Roll the dough tightly starting with the edge closest to you. Pinch the seam well with your fingertips to seal it. Then roll the cylinder back and forth a few times to compress the layers. The finished roll should measure about 15 inches. Using a dough scraper or thin knife, cut the dough into 15 even slices. Place the slices into the prepared muffin tins cut side down and press the tops gently with your fingertips to even the surface. Cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warmish place to rise, about 45 minutes, or until puffy and almost doubled.
Bake and Finish the Buns
15 minutes before baking, position the racks into the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Heat the oven o 350ºF. Bake the buns for 15 to 18 minutes or just until they begin to turn golden brown. To ensure even browning, towards the end of the baking time, rotate the pans top to bottom and front to back. Watch carefully, these should not be over baked.
While the buns are baking, place 2 baking sheets over the waxed paper. Remove the buns from the oven, let stand for 2 to 3 minutes, then invert onto the cooling racks. Do not remove the pans for 10 minutes to allow the honey syrup to coat the buns. Carefully remove the pans. If any of the nut topping remains in the pans, spoon it onto the appropriate bun, handling the mixture carefully as it may be hot.
Source: Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More, 2007