Thursday, October 29, 2015

Breakfast Baking with King Arthur Flour: Cranberry Sticky Buns

By the time you read this I'll be on my way to a much needed vacation.

I'm going to wine country! I'll be knee deep in luscious grapes and loving every minute of it.

Before I leave I had to bring you the last installment of my Sur La Table cooking class.

Sur La Table has partnered with King Arthur Flour to present a fun, hands-on class featuring Breakfast Baking.

King Arthur Flour is America’s oldest flour company, founded in Boston in 1790 bringing top-quality flours to bakers in the United States. Today they reside in Vermont and produce some of the best flours I've ever used. I use them for all my flour needs. Make sure to try them. The flour is so tender and produces some of the best products you will ever make.

Today I'm bringing you the last item that we made, Cranberry Sticky Buns. These are a mix of all purpose and whole wheat flour so they have a more nutty flavor which is perfect for fall. With the cranberries and the nuts you can't beat the flavor. They are delicious and I hope you enjoy them.

Note: Don't be put off by the long directions. They mostly explain the dough process, which is really quite easy. Try them you'll love them!

My previous item from this Breakfast Baking with King Arthur Flour is here. (Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake) and here. (Sausage, Apple, and Cheddar Pocket Pies)

Cranberry Sticky Buns

The Dough
2 eggs
warm water (to make 2 cups)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon or packet active dry yeast
2 tablespoons butter, softened, or vegetable oil
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
2 cups King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
1 tablespoon salt
3 to 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Cranberry Filling
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 to 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (depending on how tart or sweet you like your cranberries)
3 cups fresh cranberries or 1 cup dried cranberries (or more or less)
1/2 to 1 cup chopped or ground nuts (optional; leave out, or add even more)
Making the Dough: Break the eggs into a two-cup liquid measure and fill the balance with warm water. Pour this into a mixing bowl and beat until thoroughly blended.

Add and dissolve the sugar and yeast. Let this mixture work until it's bubbly and expanded, 5 to 10 minutes. Then beat in the butter or oil and the dry milk.

When all of this is thoroughly blended, add the whole wheat flour and salt. Stir in 3 cups of unbleached flour until the mixture holds together and pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Kneading & Rising: Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board. This dough will be sticky, so keep your hands well floured. Knead for 3 to 4 minutes, adding only enough flour to keep it from sticking to the board or you. Use a dough scraper to help if you need to.

Give the dough a rest while you clean and grease your bowl. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky. (This will happen, even with a soft dough such as this.) Place it in the greased bowl, cover, put it somewhere cozy, and let it rise until you can poke your finger in it without it springing back, between 1 1/2 and 2 hours. 
Preparing the Filling: While the dough is rising, gather the ingredients for the filling.

If you're using fresh cranberries, cut them in half and simmer them in a saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water and the greater amount of sugar for 8 to 10 minutes. Keep the heat low and give the mixture an occasional stir.

If you're using dried cranberries, put aside one quarter of the filling ingredients for later.

Shaping & Rising: Half of this dough will fill a 9-inch cake pan. The whole recipe needs a medium-sized roasting pan. If you brush your pans with a thin film of shortening (even before buttering them), it will help prevent sticking.

Punch the dough down and roll it into a large rectangle, about 12 x 24 inches (or, if you haven't the room, two smaller ones, 9 x 16 inches). The dough should be somewhere between 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick.

Spread the softened butter on the rectangle(s), leaving a half an inch around the outside edge unbuttered.

If you're using the fresh cranberries mixture, spread all of it on the surface of the dough leaving, again, a half an inch clear. Starting with the long edge, roll the dough up like a jelly roll. Pinch the outside edge tightly to the main body of the dough. Don't worry about how it looks.

Since this mixture is quite gloppy, lift the roll gently (or cut it in half if you're using two pans) and place it in the pan(s) you intend to bake them in. Cut the roll into 3/4- to 1-inch slices. Arrange them so they have room to expand. Some of the filling will ooze out but don't worry. This becomes the glaze on top after you turn them out of the pan. Cover the buns and let them rise for 45 minutes to an hour.

If you're using dried cranberries, sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter, then the cranberries, and finally the nuts (if you're so moved).

Butter and sugar your pan with the ingredients you had set aside. (You can even throw some cranberries and nuts in as well.)

Starting with the long edge, roll the dough up like a jelly roll. Pinch the outside edge to the main body of the dough. Cut the roll into 3/4- to 1-inch slices. Place the slices in the prepared pans with a bit of space between them so they have room to expand. Cover the buns and let them rise for 45 minutes to an hour.

Baking: Place the pan in a cold oven and set the temperature to 400°F for 15 minutes. During this 15 minutes, the buns will finish rising and assume their final, wonderful, expanded shape.

After this 15-minute period, turn the temperature down to 350°F for a further 20 to 30 minutes. Check after 20 minutes. If there's the slightest aroma of browning sugar, turn the temperature down to 325°F for the final 10 minutes.

Turning Out: While these buns are still hot, loosen the sides a bit with a knife. Then find a plate or platter that will accommodate them.

Invert the platter over the baking pan, flip them both over and allow the baking pan to stay in place for a few minutes to allow everything to come out. (Anything left in the bottom of the pan is fair game for the cook and the helpers.) 

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