For breakfast with friends this Sunday, I had a request to bring sticky buns. Sticky buns are not in my repertoire, so I went to my no-fail source for a good recipe: Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible.
RLB’s recipes always work for me, but I find them a teensy irritating (sorry, Rose). Her recipes remind me of the way some people give driving directions. I call them “up a hill-down a hill” directions. I’m almost positive RLB gives up a hill-down a hill driving directions.
Me: Hey Rose, can you tell me how to get to Tom’s house? I need to see him today.
RLB: Sure, it’s easy. Go to the bottom of your driveway and take a left. Go past that house on the corner, you know, the one that always has the beautiful roses in June? Go past that house, and you will come to a traffic light. If you go left, that will take you to Tim’s house. Did you know he was moving? If you go right, you will go to that really good bakery with the gigantic muffins. Don’t go left or right, just keep straight. Then you will go up a hill, and down a hill, and you will come to a traffic light. There is a Walmart and a bank. Keep going. At the next light, by the car dealership, take a left. Go up a hill, and as you are going down the hill, look for a white mailbox on the left. It says #14 in black letters. That is Tom’s house. But he isn’t home today.
Me: Oh. Thanks. (My hand cramped up after “beautiful roses”, so I stopped writing everything down, and tried to just get the important stuff. Unfortunately, because I was listening, editing and writing, I missed the whole “he isn’t home today” part.)
Other people (ahem, my husband) give “just the facts” directions.
Me: Hey Honey, can you tell me how to get to Tom’s house? I need to see him today.
Husband: He’s not home today.
Me: Oh, thanks. Wait! Where are you going? Can you give me directions so I can see him when he is home?
Husband: Take a left. Third light, left. #14.
I like my recipes like I like my driving directions; I don’t want to be flooded with detail, but I do appreciate a few landmarks to let me know I haven’t taken a wrong turn.
But, for these sticky buns, I decided to suffer through the “up a hill – down a hill” because I knew I would get a fabulous result.
To ensure I wouldn’t get lost in the words, I pre-read Rose’s recipe and made a skeletal outline of the time points.
If I don’t do this, I sometimes find I have to stay up late because I didn’t see the “chill the dough for 4 hours” step until it is too late.
These sticky buns are made with brioche dough. Brioche dough is rich with butter and eggs.
Another cookbook gives three recipe options for brioche based on increasing amounts of butter and calls them, poor man’s brioche, middle class brioche and rich man’s brioche.
RLB’s recipe for brioche falls in the middle class category. But with the addition of caramel, cinnamon sugar and rum-soaked raisins however, it appears this bourgeoisie dough has won the lottery and spent it all on booze and strippers.
I made this recipe over three days (!). On Friday, I made the brioche sponge and dough, let it rise a bit, and then wrapped it and put it in the fridge.
On Saturday morning, I made the filling, soaked the raisins and made the caramel.
Hey look! It’s my new thermapen!
On Saturday afternoon, I assembled the sticky buns and put them in the fridge overnight for the final rise.
Good tip from Rose: Use dental floss to cut the cylinder into 1″ buns.
On Sunday morning, first thing, I took them out of the fridge to warm up and finish rising.
Then (finally) I baked them.
I didn’t get a nice final photo of a sticky bun on a plate, but they were delicious.
The buns were light and airy and the filling was flavorful. The only change I would make for next time is to reduce the cooking time on the caramel. It was a little too firm for my taste, but they were yummy just the same.