After I finished my MBA I ran off to France for a summer and completely failed at learning how to make bread. When I returned I had a lot of free time on my hands and decided to try and redeem myself by working on my bread making skills. Some time ago I had invested in “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread”. I’ve mentioned before that if you’re interested in bread you should invest in a good quality book and this is one of them.
One of the biggest issues with bread is that it takes time. If you have the time, however, you can have fresh bread and it is good. My dad makes a no-knead bread that takes very little active time but it requires a cast-iron dutch oven and a strong set of teeth if you aren’t going to eat it while still warm. My grandmother is still afraid to eat my dad’s bread, especially after she just recently had a lot of work done on her teeth. And speaking of my grandmother’s teeth… In February, my Gma had to make an emergency trip to Indonesia to get several teeth pulled and a brand new set of dentures. What does this have to do with me and making bread? Well I went along with her and for 3 months I learned how to use my uncle’s tiny gas oven up in the mountains. I’m now fairly well known up there for brownies and cinnamon rolls. Those cinnamon rolls come from a recipe in “The Baker’s Apprentice” and is one of the best I’ve found. When at home, I usually make sticky buns using the same recipe but I wasn’t about to go hunting across Java for corn syrup and I certainly wasn’t going to deplete the supply of butter I’d brought with me (Yes, there is butter in Indonesia but it is very expensive and I also tend to do a lot of baking in a 3-month-barely-employed period).
I’ve included the recipe from the book. When at home I like to make the cinnamon rolls and then make them into sticky buns, so just a sort of combining of the two recipes. I’ve tried refrigerating the dough overnight and then baking in the morning and this method works great for breakfasts or brunches as long as you remember to take it out of the fridge early enough to proof. Also, and I learned this the hard way, you really do have to put the pan on the lower rack if you are making sticky buns. You can check the buns by inserting a knife between the buns and separating them slightly to see if they are cooked all the way through. I have also found that glass baking dishes work better for this recipe than the metal ones.
And for those of you who aren’t sure what the window pane test looks like you are looking for something like this: