Sticky Buns

>> Thursday, May 13, 2010

When I order cinnamon rolls at a bakery, I can't help but call them "sticky buns," which often results in looks of perplexity or even pity. It's from all those years reading about my old childhood friend, Paddington, the quirky little bear who lived in London and loved sticky sweet foods.

This recipe was snatched from Home Baking: the Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. An amazing, get-yourself-lost-for-hours cookbook which would make a spot-on gift for a baker friend. Great recipes, photos and stories.

These sticky buns are actually named "truck-stop cinnamon rolls" but even with an exceptional name as that, I can't refrain from nicknaming them my sticky buns. Here we go...

1 tablespoon dried yeast
5 cups warm water
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
about 13 cups all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached

1/4 cup vegetable oil
about 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar or granulated sugar
1/4 cup ground cinnamon

Dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl. Stir in 6 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, always stirring in the same direction. Then stir for about another minute, in the same direction. Let the sponge rest for 2 hours, covered.

The sponge will be lively and will have grown. Gently stir it, then sprinkle on the sugar and salt and stir in. Add about 6 cups flour, a cup at a time, stirring and turning as a dough begins to form. When the dough becomes too difficult to turn with the spoon, turn it out onto a well-floured work surface. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes, incorporating more flour as needed, until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a large lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in volume, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl and transfer to your work surface. Flatten it to a square approximately 24 inches across. Pour on the oil and rub it around to completely cover the surface of the dough. Sprinkle on the sugar and then the cinnamon.

Roll up the dough into a jelly-roll shape, then cut into 12 rounds. If you want them softer, wrap them in plastic overnight. To make smaller ones, slice the rolled-up dough thinner, into eighteen rolls.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Lay the cinnamon rolls on the baking sheet, placing them approximately 1/2 inch apart. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the rolls for 35 to 40 minutes, until they are a beautiful brown colour. Lift the rolls off the sheet and transfer to a rack to cool. To soften the crusty tops, cover loosely with a cotton cloth after 10 minutes.

worth the time


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