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My grandmother would always create her famous Sticky Buns every year around christmas time. Since she has passed, I would like to carry on the tradition. However, all she left behind was a list of ingredients. She had the process tucked away in her head. The ingredients are:

Dough:

  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons butter/margarine, softened
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant non-fat dry milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 - 3 1/4 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour)

Filling:

  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter or margerine
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

I have a bit of baking experience, and have found some similar recipes online, but not the exact same ingredients.

My grandfather knows a bit of the process, but not completely. He said: "I'm assuming you make it just like any other rolls (1). Because it has yeast in it, you have to let it rise. Flatten it out with a rolling pin and then put it on a cookie sheet, cover with a towel. Then let it rise for maybe 30 minutes, it should double in size. Roll it out with a rolling pin and spread the filling on it; roll it up into a pipe like tube; slice it into the thickness you want (2); place the rolls in 9-inch pans all together (no space between)(3). Spread sauce on top (4). Bake at 350 F for 20-25 min - good luck!"

Before I go and waste a ton of ingredients trying to figure it out, is there a way I can find out what best process might fit for this?

  1. What process should I use for the dough?
  2. What thickness would be preferable for the rolls to bake properly without being raw in the middle in that time?
  3. Do I really need to leave the rolls stuck together while baking, or should I keep them apart and let them expand into each other?
  4. It seems like the sauce shouldn't go on top before baking, that would make them soggy, no?
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I think that actually you already have all the information you need. Let's go through the questions you mention:

  1. You can use whichever process you prefer. Any of the usual methods for making yeast dough will give you the same result here.

  2. This is the wrong question to ask. Deciding on the baking time first and choosing the thickness second is very difficult and serves no purpose. Just use the thickness you prefer and then bake until done, no matter how long it takes. Obviously, don't go with anything crazy the first time, use a thickness that is somewhere within the typical roll range, accounting for rising.

  3. Yes, this kind of buns is generally arranged with sides touching before rising.

  4. I think that it is intentional to use the sauce before baking, but you can try both ways and see which you like more. Both will produce edible rolls, and if you distrust your grandfather's memory, there is only one way to discover which one was your grandmother's preferred method - a side-by-side test.

So good luck, and go enjoy some nice rolls.

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  • Thank you! As far as number 2 goes, what would be a good method to tell when it's done without tearing into it? Is there an internal temperature I should be looking for? Any signs like proper browning (which could be difficult when the sauce is put on top first)? – TheLittlePeace Dec 18 '20 at 14:56
  • @thelittlepeace yes, 96C is an internal temperature for basically any wheat bread. Other signs are indeed difficult with the sauce - like the sound when you tap them. Browning is independent of what happens in the middle. – rumtscho Dec 18 '20 at 15:03
  • You can also do a toothpick test, but it will be a bit difficult to judge with the rich dough and the layer of syrup. With time, you'll just learn recognizing the time it takes in your oven with your preferred tin and preferred slicing thickness. – rumtscho Dec 18 '20 at 15:09
  • And for thickness, I would also consider the size of the pan - cut it so that it nicely fills the pan and let that be the guide for the thickness of the slices. So if your roll diameter means you will fit A x B rolls, cut (A x B) equal slices. – Stephie Dec 18 '20 at 15:11
  • One possibility regarding 4. - you could pour the sauce first before placing the rolls in the pan. Bake, then loosen the edges, place a large sheet pan on top, and quickly flip the whole thing over, then scrape sauce out if necessary. That's what my mom does, but you wouldn't know unless you watched her do it. Baking the sauce turns it into a proper caramel. – kitukwfyer Dec 19 '20 at 18:58

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