Tuesday, May 27, 2008

TWD: Keep Stickin' With It!!

I had no clue that when Madam Chow picked Dorie's Pecan Honey Sticky Buns that I was preparing to have the toughest, most grueling arm workout I'd ever experienced. You see I own a Kitchen Aid, but I don't have the dough hook for it, but my parents own one too and they have do have a dough hook. Ding--light bulb! When I had last visited them I made sure to grab the dough hook so that I could participate in this week's TWD bake-off. Problem solved right...wrong!!

I was very excited and nervous to start my Sticky Bins, because one, I've tried yeast baked goods before and they came out like crap and two, well who doesn't get nervous when working with yeast? Putting all that aside I cut open my two yeast packets, dumped them into my mixing bowl and started to dump in the other dough ingredients. With fingers crossed and a deep breath I turned on my mixer only to find that my parents dough hook wasn't long enough for my mixing bowl. That dam thing only scraped the top of my flour mixture!

This can't be happening, I was ready to give it up right then and there. I had no idea what I was going to do. Then I looked back at the recipe and saw that Dorie had actually done it by hand before. "Well I'm already screwed, so I might as well just try it by hand and see what happens". I was shocked and proud of myself that I was actually going to give it a go. I pulled out my wooden spoon and began stirring away, things looked good so far.

It was the adding of the butter that really got me! There was no way that I could get all the butter mixed in with my rinky-dink wooden spoon. I threw it on the counter and plunged my hands into the bowl. Kneading two tablespoons of butter in with one hand, then switching to the next to knead in another two tablespoons of butter. I did this for 25 minutes! Each minute that passed I just kept thinking that this was totally not gonna work. I was going through all of this manual labor for nothing. But, after the 25 minutes I had a dough that looked and felt like a batter...which is exactly what Dorie had said the end product would be. A little glimmer of hoped filled my heart.

Next I let my dough rise, coming every 30 minutes to deflate the air. This process really started to build up my confidence, because my dough was actually rising...something that I have never had happen before! after the two hour time period the dough went into the fridge and I gave it a good night kiss, tucking it in with it's plastic wrap blanky and slowly closing the door.

Half asleep at 5:30 in the morning I suddenly remembered my little dough baby sleeping in the fridge. I hopped out of bed quickly getting the dough out of the fridge and plopping it out on the counter. OMG!! This can't be happening! I don't have a rolling pin! Somehow that small detail slipped my mind, but I didn't get discouraged! I was going to find a way to get this damn dough rolled out. With some quick think I found a can of refrigerated pizza dough, which very much resembled a rolling pin...and worked a lot like a rolling pin!

With one more prayer I stuck my buns in the oven watching the clock tick down the 30 minutes. Beep-beep, beep-beep...moment of truth. I slowly pulled down the oven door and ---Aaaawww--- I had Sticky Buns! They were the most gorgeous buns I had ever laid eyes on! I was almost in tears because they were so beautiful and I had made them completely by hand! I scooped one off of the baking sheet and took my first bite and I nearly melted. The bun was so light and flaky, with a wonderful buttery taste. I had finally done it! I conquered my yeast fears and I did it all on my own with no fancy machinery to help me! This will be a day I will never forget! Thank you Tuesdays With Dorie and thank you Madam Chow for making this one of the best baking days I've had!

Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

For The Glaze:

1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup honey
1-1/2 cups pecans (whole or pieces)

For The Filling:

1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Buns:
1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche loaves (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating it overnight)
Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan is perfect for this).

To make the glaze: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter, and honey to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, evening it out as best you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle over the pecans.
To make the filling: Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl. If necessary, in another bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.
To shape the buns: On a flour-dusted work surface, roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months . . . . Or, if you want to make just part of the recipe now, you can use as much of the dough as you'd like and freeze the remainder. Reduce the glaze recipe accordingly).With a chef's knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends of the roll if they're very ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch thick buns. (Because you trim the ragged ends of the dough, and you may have lost a little length in the rolling, you will get 15 buns, not 16.) Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wax paper and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled and, in all likelihood, touching one another.
Getting ready to bake: When the buns have almost fully risen , center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the sheet of wax paper and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and gorgeously golden; the glaze will be bubbling away merrily. Pull the pan from the oven.
The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicone mate or buttered foil. Be careful - the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.

What You'll Need for the Golden Brioche Dough

2 packets active dry yeast (each packet of yeast contains approx. 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm

To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can-- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight. (This is where you start up on the Sticky Bun Recipe).


Madam Chow said...

You, my dear, are amazing! You should win an award for making these by hand and with a can of frozen dough as a rolling pin. I'm really, really glad that you liked them!
Madam Chow

kim said...

wow, great job not getting discouraged :) they look great!

Anonymous said...

I know that my passions truely lie in baking because a story like yours gets me all misty eyed. And it must be yours too from the sounds of it. Great job. Really.

Bumblebutton said...

That is fabulous! They look great! Now go and get yourself a dough hook and a rolling pin!

Engineer Baker said...

Wow - I must admit, the idea of kneading this silky dough by hand sounds like fun!

The Kitchen Vixen said...

Talk about a trooper! you did a wonderful job without a mixer, and they look great!

I have a secret to let you in on...you can adjust the height of the dough hook;) Its in the manual.

hornedfroggy said...

Beautiful!! :) And nice "handy-work"!

Liliana said...

You sure are resourceful! And you got rewarded with wonderful looking Pecan Sticky Buns that look sooo delicious!

Great job!

PheMom said...

They look awesome! Great job for toughing it out!

Rachel said...

What a wonderful story! Congrats!!!

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

Huzzah! You totally kicked that dough's ass!


mimi said...

wow, those sticky buns must have tasted sooo good after all that work you put into them! they look great!!

Peabody said...

Perfect...you worked off all the calories you injested!

Lemon Tartlet said...

Way to kick that dough's butt! Had to do it by hand the firt time we made this brioche, and I did the same thing. Didn't even bother with the spoon, stuck my hands in the dough in a stock pot and put the pot in my lap to watch a movie while kneading. Yours buns look good!

Gigi said...

Love it! Way to go! You're like the MacGyver of baking!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

mmm...they do look gorgeous!

Jenny said...

Hehe we will make a pioneer woman of you yet, doing everything by hand!
Nice work, those buns look great.

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

OMG, I loved your post, it gave me a good laugh! You're awesome, not many would have kept on going and you did, well done! You should feel very proud indeed and you've conquered your fear of yeast, yippie!

ostwestwind said...

Kudos, doing this by hand with such a great result!

Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

LyB said...

Wow, way to go, you really are determined! Your sticky buns look wonderful!

Jaime said...

they look great! WOW, i'm so impressed you made these by hand! :)

Anonymous said...

Hey lady, I tagged you. Look at my blog and see.

Jacque said...

Good for you!! You put a lot of work into them and they turned out awesome. You're my new hero :)

Gigi said...

So glad you stuck it out! Your sticky buns came beautiful!

Rosie said...

Just beautiful :)

Rosie x