Sticky buns have a Germanic origin, it’s thought that they originated in the form of Schnecken, they travelled with the German settlers, and have remained long after other traits have vanished.
Traditionally a fairly plain white dough, this helps to carry the sweet glaze. Walnuts are traditional, but pecans are popular and the additions of cinnamon and raisins are both highly contested.
It’s a yeast leavened dough. I start my yeast out in some warm milk, and while I can leave it to foam up (and should) I tend to be impatient and add it to the rest of the dough as soon as it starts producing bubbles, if it’s bubbling the yeast is alive and there’s no need to let it foam up fully.
Like all doughs knead until the gluten is formed, then place in a greased bowl and leave to double in size.
While the dough is proofing I make my glaze. A mix of brown sugar, butter, honey and cream, melted down together. Then poured into a greased pan. You can use any pan you like, I seem to have gotten into the habit of using round pans.
Once the dough is risen, knock it back and roll it out into a rectangle. Length and width depends on whether you want fewer, larger buns (wide and short) or many smaller buns (long and thin). I then smear it with softened butter (though brushing with melted butter is just fine) and sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped pecans.
It then gets rolled up and cut into slices, and arranged into the pan.
Cover it with greased cling wrap and leave to double in size again.I left mine too long, this is what overproofed sticky buns look like. See all those bubbles on the surface, they shouldn’t be there, and the way it bulged right out.. all bad things. I had to carefully place them in the oven (one knock and they would collapse – too much air not enough structure), and it was sheer luck that didn’t leave them tasting yeasty (a sure sign you overproofed).
Once they’re baked turn them out (they need to be turned out while still hot or the sugar will cool and set and stick to the tin) and try to refrain from eating them until the sugar glaze has cooled enough to not burn you, it’s a tough task I tell you! If your friends are anything like ours you’ll have to fend them off with a stick!