The Bread Bible recipe for July was the delectable Caramel Sticky Buns. The name really says it all - how could they be anything but good? I really enjoyed baking these, as I do with most yeast recipes, and they turned out to be delicious. I did find their degree of deliciousness was affected by their treatment post-baking. The first small batch I baked (seen in the photo below) were tipped out and eaten after a very short while. You can see the caramel sauce is on top of the buns. The second larger batch (which I don't have an upside down picture of) I took out of the oven and turned upside down into foil where they sat for a couple of hours. When we came to eat them they were soaked in caramel, all the way through. That batch won the deliciousness stakes hands down.
I made a few substitutions just for convenience's sake, using dark brown sugar instead of muscovado, walnuts instead of pecans and brandy instead of rum (I found the little bottle of rum later). I don't think they would have made much difference to the end result except perhaps for the dark brown sugar which resulted in a very dark caramel.
I always post way too many photos of bread recipes but I can't help it - I love watching the dough puffing up into something that is so much more than the sum of the ingredients.
Caramel. It's been talking to its close cousin, toffee, and now it hates me too. Rose loves it and I'm baking through two of Rose's books. So I'm stuck between a rock and hard place.
I had to add water to thin the sugar mixture before the sugar would melt properly. Just before I did that I was pretty sure the sugar was starting to burn. I guess it could have been a result of using the dark brown sugar but I'm just going to take it personally.
The caramel is poured into the bottom of the tin/s. The instructions (later on) are to carefully place the walnuts on the bottom of each bun after shaping. I think to myself - can't I just put the walnuts on top of the caramel in the tin? Guess who chose the less finicky path? In this case I don't think it made a difference to the finished product, lucky for lazybones.
I didn't take any photos of the bread dough process because it's the same brioche dough I've made several times before now. It does take a lot of time to make and it can be quite challenging to fit all the chilling and rising phases into your day. I did manage it over a couple of days without letting the dough over-rise which was my main concern.
Once the dough is ready to shape, it's rolled out and sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon, walnuts and alcohol-soaked sultanas. Then it's rolled up and cut into little rolls which are set into the caramel to rise for the last time.
I wasn't sure about the juicy, translucent look of the sultanas after soaking overnight - they looked a bit like those slugs you sometimes dig up in the garden which have never seen the light of day. But once they were cooked they just melded into the moist, caramely bun.
This little enamel tin is so cute. These buns were glazed before they were baked. The second batch weren't glazed because I put the pan of glaze back on the stove to warm it up and then promptly forgot it. Luckily I smelled it before it burnt onto the saucepan.
This second larger batch were baked without (the now burnt) glaze and had a few minutes less cooking time since I thought the first batch might have been dryer than than they should be.
The big pan I took to share with friends while we were helping a friend move house. They sat for an hour or two in foil and they were soaked in caramel and soft when we finally ate them. Strangely there are no photos. They got a definite thumbs up from the 7 and 11 year old movers. And the adults came back for seconds too.
In August we're baking the Cinnamon Raisin Loaf from the Bread Bible. I baked the recipe a few weeks ago from the Baking Bible in an attempt to catch up with a couple of Alpha Baker weeks I missed. But I think I'll try the Bread Bible recipe too, for the benefit of domestic science, you understand :)