The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole wheat sticky buns for the morning

JMonkey's picture

Whole wheat sticky buns for the morning

Even though these are 100% whole wheat, I'm not even going to try convincing anyone (though I've tried to convince myself) that these are remotely healthy. But since whole wheat flour is what I've usually got on hand and since using whole wheat flour does make them somewhat less unhealthy (maybe), when I make sticky buns, I make them this way. The dough is an amalgamation of many recipes, but the filling and topping are from King Arthur Flour Whole Grains Baking.

In any case, however detrimental they may be to the body, these warm sticky buns are awfully good for the soul on a chilly weekend morning.

Dough Ingredients

  • Whole wheat flour: 450 grams; 1 lb; 3-4 cups
  • Lukewarm milk: 275 grams; 9.75 ounces; 1.25 cups
  • Egg: 1 large, lightly beaten
  • Honey: 85 grams; 3 ounces; 1/4 cup
  • Butter, melted: 28 grams; 1 ounce; 2 Tbs
  • Salt: 9 grams or 1.25 tsp
  • Instant yeast: 6 grams or 2 tsp
Filling ingredients
  • Brown sugar: 210 grams; 7.5 ounces; 1 cup packed
  • Egg White: 1 large
  • Cinnamon: 14 grams; 1/2 ounce; 2 Tbs
  • Salt: Just a pinch
  • Currants or raisins: 100 g; 3.5 ounces; 2/3 cup
Topping Ingredients
  • Brown sugar: 140 grams; 5 ounces; 2/3 cup packed
  • Cinnamon:2 to 3 grams; 1 tsp
  • White flour: 3-4 grams; 1 tsp
  • Salt: Just a pinch
  • Melted butter: 56 grams; 2 ounces; 4 Tbs
  • Corn Syrup, honey or brown rice syrup: 39 grams; 1 3/8 ounces; 2 Tbs
  • Chopped pecans: 106 grams; 3.75 ounces; 1 cup

If the honey's cold, I like to put the butter and honey in the same bowl and heat it for about 1 minute on medium power in the microwave. But, however you do it, first mix the milk, egg, honey and butter. Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a separate bowl, and then add to the liquids. Mix until everything is hydrated. If you wish, you can knead it now, or do as I do and use the stretch and fold method starting at 1/2 hour after mixing, and doing two more folds 20 minutes apart. You may have to adjust the flour or add some water -- the dough should be lightly tacky, but not sticky. In any case, if you've kneaded, the dough will be ready in 60-90 minutes and, if you've done the stretch and fold, it'll be done in about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, for the filling, mix everything together until smooth except the dried fruit. Likewise, mix the topping ingredients together except for the pecans (corn syrup will give you a better consistency because it prevents the sugar from crystallizing, but I don't often have it on hand, and have had good results with both the alternate ingredients).

Grease a 9x13 inch pan and spread the topping on the bottom, placing the pecans on top. Then, roll out the dough into a rectangle that's roughly 12x16 inches. Spread the filling over the dough, leaving a margin of about 1 inch on the edges. Then scatter the dried fruit over the filling.

Roll the dough into a log and then, using a serrated knife or some dental floss, divide the dough in half. Next, cut the two halves in half. Finally, divide each of these sections into three so you end up with 12 buns. Place the buns in the pan.

If you want your buns now, let them rise for about an hour or so until they're just barely touching each other, and then bake. But, if you want to bake them the next morning, simply cover the pan tightly with plastic or aluminum foil, and pop them in the refrigerator. The next morning, let them warm up for about 1 hour before baking (though, you can also pop them right in the oven if they look fully risen).

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. When they're done, put foil or parchment paper over the top of the pan, and quickly invert it onto a cooling rack. Scrape any topping left in the pan on top of the buns.

They should probably cool a bit before you dig in, but I'll leave that to your discretion. While they cool, it's important to watch them, otherwise, within minutes, they may end up looking something like this:

AnnieT's picture

Oh, JMonkey, did you have to? Wonderful looking buns and I'm going to have to bake them - no will power here. I see you are learning to cope with Oregon winter. Did you enjoy the snow? I expect Iris did. The salmonberry buds are filling out so it won't be long until Spring, A.

JMonkey's picture

Hi! Yes, Iris did enjoy the snow, especially since they canceled school for several days and she got to stay here with her usual babysitter who, thankfully, was also out of school.

We also went to Marys Peak (about 30 minutes away) on New Year's eve to enjoy the snow up there. Amazing how much difference even just 500 feet of elevation makes. It was raining at the base, snowing 1/4 mile in, and was so heavy 1/2 mile in that we had to pull off and find a hill nearby -- my little car couldn't go anymore.

Today, we're having a blessed day of sun. My bones are happy for all the vitamin D. Man, I know Oregon winters are wet, but this one has been absolutely soaking! I'm adjusting, but it's not been easy.

Hope you like the sticky buns! I've started inviting family from all over the country to come stay with us for a few days, just so I have an excuse to make them ....

ginaterp's picture

I'm new to this forum but not to whole grain baking.  Have been milling my own grain for about six years now and make everything with it.  I tell people that my sweet baked goods are less bad for you than the white flour version!  These look DELICIOUS and i can't wait to try them! 

maggie664's picture

Amazingly decatant but enormously treatworthy (even for breakfast)! Will have to make some. The whole wheat flour must add another interesting flavour dimension, especially if it is stoneground.

AnnieT, What are salmonberries? Do they look like compact bright red half-sized raspberries (but with much less flavour). I found some bushes with that sort of fruit where goldminers had set up camp 160 years ago and brought some cuttings home. A friend thoight they may be called such. If so, apart from salmon leaping out of the rivers to eat them, how are they otherwise used? M (NZ)

Floydm's picture

The salmonberries I've seen are much less red than a raspberry, light and peachy and almost like a white raspberry. They're not terribly tasty, but they are edible.

I learned a valuable rule of thumb about the berries in the wilderness around here: if it is in the raspberry family with a cluster of little berries, it may not taste good, but it won't kill you. If it is a single berry like a huckleberry or a blueberry, it might be edible, but, then again, it might kill you, so only eat it if you know what you are doing.

AnnieT's picture

Maggie, I got out my trusty Plants of the Northwest Coast so that I can give you a true description. The actual berries are yellow or reddish and "mushy", and reviews range from "insipid" to "one of the best". The branches have prickles and the leaves have 3 leaflets and are sharply toothed, but the flowers are the attraction - about 4cm across and magenta, very pretty. Both sprouts and berries were eaten by all northwest coast people, but the berries weren't dried because they are too watery. They were mixed with dried salmon spawn or eaten with salmon. Another plant that might be what you describe is the thimbleberry. These are shallowly domed, raspberry-like clusters of red hairy druplets, and they are matte where the salmonberries are shiny. The flowers are white, 4cm across and crinkled like tissue paper. The leaves are large, maple leaf shaped, finely fuzzy on both sides. The berries were dried, sometimes with smoked clams, by the northwest coast people. Salmonberries usually grow along streams and in moist to wet places, while thimbleberries like open sites - I used to pick them along the lane where we lived in Oregon and some were sweeter than others. Oh dear, not much to do with bread - but I do plan to make JMonkey's sticky buns! A.

Paddyscake's picture

Those whole wheat sticky buns look absolutely wonderful!!! I am experimenting with my starter with a levain tonight for cinnamon buns tomorrow. You had me running to the pantry to see if I had any pecans left. Alas, no..but next time around I'm trying your version!

Mary's Peak has a special place in my heart. When I first moved out to Oregon 5 years ago my husband to be took me there. It was September and the view at the top was absolutely spectacular. You could see Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, St. Helen's, 3 Finger Jack and the Sisters. It brought tears to me eyes and I felt foolish. I later learned that was what sealed it in his heart that he wanted to marry me. Sigh..enough of that..Sticky buns are on the to make list...never ending

maggie664's picture

Thank you Floyd and AnnieT,
I think these are thimbleberries. The old settlers/miners must have been desperate for jam - bright coloured and pretty tasteless. I grow them because the fruit look so pretty and my kids long ago proved they were safe to eat! Now back to yeast cookery. I am also endeavouring to buy a copy of Bread Science. M

audra36274's picture

They must not be! Carbs either! Remember the low/no carb diet craze that was popular a few years ago? I had a friend that didn't eat bread for about a year, or many veggies either.... only meat. Now she has kidney and gall stones from that stupid diet and is still the same size she was. The bunch of us here eat good homemade bread almost everyday, and from most of the photos everyone has uploaded, it hasn't hurt any of us at all! I think the difference is that we know what goes into our bread, and other foods as well. We care enough to take hours and days to make bread from scratch. Now don't get me wrong, I am not waving a green flag here or poking organtics down any ones throat. Just giving jmonkey a atta boy on those yummy ( and should be guilt free) sticky buns. You inspire us all with your pics and videos. You make that sweet girl sticky buns when ever you can. It is much better than the "honey buns" they get at school with all those mono soto something or others in there. So yea for good old flour, yeast, salt, sugar and water. It is pretty cool stuff!  We all enjoy your stuff jmonkey, keep up the good work. And also, my stepmom has children in Oregon, as well as one of my cousins lives there. Says it is beautiful country.


JMonkey's picture

Though I'd never go so far as to call them healthy. There's enough sugar in these buns to rocket one's glycemic index to infinity and beyond. All I can say is they might be a smidgen less unhealthy than those made with white flour.

But man, do they make a lovely morning treat.