Sticky Buns — Artisan Breads Every Day

After meeting Peter Reinhart at the Western Reserve School of Cooking and sampling a host of his baked goods, including two kinds of sticky buns, I couldn’t wait for an excuse to do some baking. The Fourth of July holiday weekend — with family visiting from out of town — gave me just such an excuse.

Although I tested recipes for Peter’s most recent book,  Artisan Breads Every Day, and of course picked up the book as soon as it came out, before the class I still hadn’t baked anything from it. I decided to remedy that by making two kinds of sticky buns for breakfast on Saturday. I made one recipe of sticky buns, and baked half of them with Susan’s (Peter’s wife) formerly secret caramel pecan slurry and the other half with honey almond slurry.

As with many of the recipes in Peter’s new book, the sweet dough came together quickly with very little mixing. It is kept at least overnight or up to a few days in the refrigerator, where it ferments and develops its structure. I also mixed up the slurries, so that on baking day all I had to do was throw it all together.

On Saturday morning I got the dough out of the fridge, cut it into two pieces, and let it rest for about 20 minutes while I prepared the cinnamon-sugar mixture and melted some butter. I rolled each half of the dough out to a 12- x 15-inch rectangle, brushed it with butter, and sprinkled it generously with cinnamon sugar. Then I rolled the dough up from the long side and sliced it into rolls.

I had to soften the slurries in the microwave for a few seconds, as they firmed up to the point of being impossible to spread. Then I slathered the slurries in 9-inch round baking pans and added the buns.

I let the sticky buns rise for about two hours, until they had risen to fill the pans, then prepared the oven for baking.

At first, I forgot to set the pans on a sheet pan to catch any overflow, but I remembered before the slurry boiled over into the oven. The buns took longer to bake than the recipe suggested. In class, Peter stressed the importance of checking to slurry to make sure it has caramelized before taking the rolls out of the oven.

As you can see from the picture, I had pretty good caramelization, with the exception of the very center of the buns made with Susan’s slurry (on the right).

When I pulled the pan out of the oven, it was like I had turned on a bug light for everyone in the house. Within a few minutes, when I was ready to cut them, everyone in my and my sister’s families was standing in my kitchen with anticipation. And once I began serving? Well, no one left the kitchen until both pans of sticky buns were completely gone.

Forgiving my lack of modesty, my sticky buns were every bit as good as the ones we sampled in class. And even though I grew up in Lancaster County, PA, eating traditional sticky buns much like Susan’s recipe, I have to say that I preferred the subtle sweetness of the honey almond buns. But it was such a close call that I think I have to make both of them again just to be sure.

Oh, and there’s one more version in the book I haven’t made yet — creamy caramel. I feel it is my duty to give it a try, too.

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16 Comments

  1. November 17, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    […] and having tasted sticky buns baked by Peter Reinhart himself; and having baked Reinhart’s sticky buns, twice; and having grown up in Lancaster County, PA, where sticky buns are standard breakfast […]

  2. July 30, 2010 at 7:28 am

    […] here or at restaurants. Flush with my recent audience with Peter Reinhart and my success making his sticky buns recipe, I decided that I would mix up a big batch of sweet dough and at least have breakfast […]

  3. Jerry said,

    July 26, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Did you find the slurry sufficient? I made 1/2 recipe back in April, and 1/2 the amount of “Susan’s” slurry wasn’t nearly enough! I put the nuts on the dough before rolling, as ABED calls for, but I think they belong in the slurry instead; your pix seem to show the slurry full of nuts too.

    • gaaarp said,

      July 26, 2010 at 10:53 pm

      I didn’t mix the nuts into the slurry; I sprinkled them on after spreading the slurry in the pans.

      I halved the slurry recipes, too. One of the slurries (Susan’s, I think) was plenty, and the other seemed like I could have used more. The honey almond was the one I didn’t think I had enough of, but the finished buns were plenty gooey, so I guess it was OK. I think next time I’ll make full recipes of the slurries and keep the extra (if there is any) for the next time I bake.

  4. ap269 said,

    July 12, 2010 at 1:51 am

    AMAZING! I do have to try the caramel cream slurry, and then of course the other two to be able to compare – lol!

  5. Julie said,

    July 10, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Beautiful!!! These look so delicious.

  6. Alexis said,

    July 10, 2010 at 10:50 am

    I just got this book a couple weeks ago. I need to try these NOW!

  7. Renee said,

    July 10, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Wow! These look amazing and my mouth is watering! I’m very curious about this slurry. I might have to pick up the book myself.

  8. Di said,

    July 9, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    All the things I tasted at Peter’s class here were quite tasty. And I’ve since made the sweet dough several times–cinnamon rolls, crumb cake and fruit-filled rolls from the book, plus doughnuts on my own. I still need to make the sticky buns, all three. =)

    • gaaarp said,

      July 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm

      I haven’t tried the crumb cake yet. It was really good when we sampled it in class. Maybe tomorrow….

      • Di said,

        July 9, 2010 at 9:31 pm

        I just love that crumb mixture–not sure why. I’ve been using it on top of all sorts of other recipes.

      • gaaarp said,

        July 9, 2010 at 10:46 pm

        I was that way with the Dutch crumb topping from BBA. I put it on everything for a while.

  9. Kayte said,

    July 9, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    See, if I had managed to be in the area, there wouldn’t have been any for me anyway! They look every bit as wonderful as I had imagined. Such fun to hear you had such success and no leftovers is always a huge compliment!

    • gaaarp said,

      July 9, 2010 at 8:47 pm

      We would have shared. I’ll make more if you come to visit in October.

  10. Abby said,

    July 9, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Wow, those look absolutely amazing! I could eat one (or four) right now! =) Is the honey almond slurry recipe in ABED?

    • gaaarp said,

      July 9, 2010 at 4:38 pm

      Yes, the book has three slurry recipes — Susan’s (traditional), honey almond, and caramel cream. And Peter insists that you must try them all to decide which you like best.


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