The Fresh Loaf

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Honey Glazed Spiced Apple Browned Butter Sourdough Sticky Rolls

Benito's picture

Honey Glazed Spiced Apple Browned Butter Sourdough Sticky Rolls

That’s a mouthful to say and a delicious mouthful to eat.  I have just retired from my full time practice of medicine at the end of last week.  My colleagues long complained that I didn’t bring enough baking into the office.  As you know, it can be challenging to bake during the work week so you can bring it something that is freshly baked.  Well since I’m now retired (I’ll return to work part time next year doing locums) I have time to bake during the week.

I know my staff and colleagues have a sweet tooth so I wanted to try a different sweet roll that I haven’t made before.  My source of organic stoneground whole wheat flour was totally out so I couldn’t bake with very much whole wheat so adjusted my recipe for this entirely bread flour version.  Since it is fall now, I thought what better to fill the rolls with but spiced apple and browned butter.

9” square pan


For the Filling:

1 stick unsalted butter

3 pounds Granny Smith Apples —peeled, cored and chopped into ¼-inch pieces

1 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1-2 pinches of nutmeg 

1 teaspoon kosher salt


Make the filling: In a medium Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat and cook until it just begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining filling ingredients and cook, stirring often, until the apple are caramelized and the liquid has reduced to a thick syrup, 25 to 28 minutes. Let cool completely.




1. Pre-cook Flour (Yudane) – 8:00 a.m. or night before and cover tightly.

Be sure to make the yudane ahead of time to give it time to cool before mixing. The texture of the mixture seems to improve if left to rest for at least one hour.

 Do ahead:  Alternatively, you could make the yudane the night before, let it cool, then cover and place it in the fridge. The next morning, let it warm to room temperature before mixing it into your dough.


Boil the water and pour it over the flour in the Kitchenaid mixing bowl. Stir with spatula (not a whisk as the Yudane will get stuck in the tines) until the mixture tightens up and all dry bits are incorporated. Let the pre-gelatinized flour cool on the counter until you mix the main dough. 


2. Mix 

To the cooled yudane, add milk, eggs, sugar and salt.  Mix to breakdown the eggs.  Add levain using your spatula cut the levain into small pieces.  Add bread flour, mix with the spatula until no dry flour remains.  Fermentolyse for 20 mins.  Using your KA mixer knead the dough until you can almost get a windowpane.  Then add the butter gradually to the dough in the stand mixer waiting until the previous addition is fully absorbed. 

The dough should be strong and smooth at the end of mixing with a good windowpane.  

Transfer your dough to a bulk fermentation container and cover.


3. Bulk Fermentation

At warm room temperature, around 82°F, bulk should take about 3 hours.

Give this dough three sets of coil folds at 30 minute intervals

After the third set, let the dough rest, covered, for the remainder of bulk fermentation.


4. Chill Dough

At this point, your dough should have risen in your bulk container, be puffy to the touch, and have smoothed out. If the dough still feels dense and tight, give it another 15 minutes and check again.

Place your covered bulk fermentation container in the refrigerator for at least one hour to fully chill the dough.


5. Roll and Shape

Before removing your dough from the refrigerator, make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, combine the following. It may seem like it's not enough filling to cover the entire surface of the dough—spread it thin.


The dough should be cold and firm to the touch; give it more time to chill if necessary.

Next, butter your baking pan (even if it’s nonstick) to ensure the rolls remove cleanly after baking or line with parchment paper.

This dough is very soft. Act quickly to roll, spread the filling, and cut before the dough warms and softens further. If it begins to soften, place it in the fridge to firm.

Remove your bulk fermentation container from the fridge, lightly flour your work surface in a large rectangle shape, and the top of the dough in the bowl. Then, gently scrape out the dough to the center of your floured rectangle. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour, and using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 15″ x 15″ square.


Spread the apple cinnamon filling over the dough, leaving a one cm border on all sides.  Roll the dough into a tight log and pinch to seal the seam.  Using dental floss, cut the roll into 9 equal pieces.  Place them into the prepared pan, cut side up.  Cover the pan to prevent the dough from drying out.


6. Warm Proof

Place the pan back in the 82°F proofing box.  Allow the rolls to fully proof, they should fill the pan and the spaces between them fully.  The dough should be marshmallowy soft.  This may take 5-7 hours.


Be sure to start preheating your oven at 400°F about 30 minutes before you feel the rolls will be fully proofed.



Preheat your oven, with a rack in the middle, to 400°F (200°C). After the warm proof, uncover your dough and gently press the tops of a few rolls. The fully proofed rolls will look very soft. The texture of the dough will be almost like a whipped mousse. Be sure to give them extra time in warm proof if necessary. If the dough needs more time to proof, cover the pan and give the dough another 15 to 30 minutes at a warm temperature and check again.

Once your oven is preheated, remove your pan from its bag, slide it into the oven, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.


The rolls are finished baking when the tops are well-colored and the internal temperature is around 195°F (90°C). Remove the rolls from the oven, remove them from the pan and place them on a rack. Let the rolls cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the pan, then serve.

These are best the day they're made, and certainly fresh from the oven, but can be reheated in a warm oven a day or two after.


Prepare the Glaze

For the Glaze:

½ cup confectioners' sugar

½ cup honey

1 tablespoon whole milk

1 teaspoon kosher salt


Once the rolls are fully cooled out of the oven and on a rack, drizzle the glaze on the rolls. 

So these were a hit with everyone who had one.  The apple cinnamon with a hint of nutmeg tasted like autumn and was complimented by the honey glaze and buttery bread.

 My index of bakes.


Econprof's picture

On your (partial) retirement!!

Benito's picture

Thank you very much, I’m only on day 2 and enjoying it so far.  What’s not to like I have more time to bake now.


Isand66's picture

An amazing bake to start off your retirement!  These not only look beautiful I’m sure they must have tasted fantastic!  Now that you’re semi retired you need to start milling your own flour 😊

Benito's picture

Thank you Ian, if and when we move into a place with a larger kitchen, that is when I might get myself a mill.

pmccool's picture

She thinks, as do I, that these look fabulous.  And then she said “I wonder how they would be if you used apple butter as the filling?”  I suppose there's only one way to find out.  

Congratulations on your retirement.  In my view, it's a pretty good gig. 


Benito's picture

I considered apple butter and it too would be delicious.  Thank you Paul, I’m looking forward to at least a six month break before I consider doing some part time locum work for my colleagues when they do vacations.


HeiHei29er's picture

Congrats on the retirement Benny!  Wish you nothing but the best.

And speaking of the best…. Those sticky buns look absolutely delectable!  The nutmeg and browned butter sound like a great addition to the apple cinnamon.  

Benito's picture

Thank you Troy, everyone at my clinic enjoyed them but now they are expecting bread every week!  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

How much flour is used to make the yudane or pre-cooked flour?  Feeling a little lost here. Found it ---> 99g

Can this also be pre-baked flour?   Why not use starch?

How about using dried bread crumbs? 

Congratulations on your retirement!  Soon to seem like everyday is a Sunday!  

Now with all this extra time, please explain (or post links) about yudane.  Oh, it's a "scald!"

I've got some dried nut & seeded baguette crumbs I'm thinking about putting into a sweet roll dough to roll up with granny smith apples and cinn.  No salt in my glaze or filling.  Why use unsalted butter and then add salt?  Sticky rolls sounds great!  

Benito's picture

Thank you Mini.  It looks like you’ve answered all your questions about Yudane.  Having tried it a few times I prefer a Tangzhong, with a higher ratio of liquid to flour it is easier to mix than a Yudane.  I always use unsalted butter since I can control how much salt I want in something.  The salt helped enhance the flavour of the honey glaze for sure.  My recipe made more than I needed so bottled it and brought it to the clinic with the rolls.  My co-workers loved pouring extra on the rolls.  The honey by the way is wild flower honey that my friends made.  They over to the country and have several hives so this stuff is awesome.


GlennM's picture

Hopefully you can get more time in Florida this year!  I have been retired 2 years now and love it 

I don’t really have a sweet tooth but those look amazing!

Benito's picture

Thank you Glenn.  We are heading to Fort Lauderdale next month for six weeks.  This winter we are hoping to travel to Southern Europe rather than Florida, but we do plan on spending more time in Florida in the future.  

Will you be going to Florida again this winter and if so where will you stay?  I believe you were in or near Naples but that was pretty badly hit by Ian recently wasn’t it?

GlennM's picture

Yes, we are leaving for Naples on Nov 1st this year. We were very lucky with Ian, no damage at all. Very close to us there is severe damage but we got lucky this time. Remember to pack some starter!

Benito's picture

I’m relieved to hear that your place in Naples is in good shape.  I’ll consider bringing some starter to Florida this time.  We’ll see if I do much sourdough baking while there, it might be easier just to do some commercial yeast baking.


trailrunner's picture

Those are the most beautiful yet ! Congratulations on retirement!!! Definitely more time to play but the days really fill up fast . We have a different house for March and April in 2023. It’s up in Arlington Park in Sarasota. The owner said no damage at all , they were originally in the Ian path. We will still be by our favorite bike path . I took all my Challah making stuff and my YW and starter last year. We will probably explore more bakeries and the farmer’s market up in Sarasota . 
Have great fun these next months. c

Benito's picture

Thank you Caroline, they were tasty for sure.  I don’t do a lot of apple desserts because I hate peeling apples, but when I do I remember how good they taste.


GlennM's picture

I don’t do a lot of baking but I do some.  I find the bread in the stores to not be very good in our area.  I also like to gift a loaf every once and a while. I find my starter goes crazy down there in the warm humid climate.  Have a great time!

Benito's picture

You’re right, there aren’t a lot of good bakeries that we have found in Fort Lauderdale other than Gran Forno.

MTloaf's picture

I love apples in baked goods. Congratulations on your retirement. You are a prolific baker already and with more time on your hands your oven is going to get a real workout. You may not have to refrigerate your starter anymore and will now have the time to tackle a new challenge like croissants or panettone. Or you could do what I do and just go fishing. Have fun at the beach in FLA


Benito's picture

Thank you Don, I can see why you enjoy apples in your baked goods, they are delicious.  I will hopefully be able to bake a bit more now that I have more time at least before heading south.  At some point I’d like to try croissants or panettone, but I don’t plan on doing them anytime soon.


JonJ's picture

You're too young for retirement, in spirit and body!

Love this apple idea. Adding it to my book of ideas. I'm wondering though if some lemon or lime in the glaze might not bring an interesting counterpoint to the flavour.


Benito's picture

I’d say I’m the perfect age to retire then Jon 😀

I like your idea of adding lemon to the honey glaze, that would certainly compliment the flavours especially since there was lemon in the filling as well.


Sugarowl's picture

I would say "retirement", but since you're going back it's probably just "time off." My dad retired from private practice, then did a few years as director of a medical kids camp (he says he it was retirement), then retired, then back to the hospital, and now he works with medical documents. He's 72 and loves medicine and won't stop. Not everyone can do a full retirement, but he's taking more breaks now at least.

Your cinnamon rolls look really good. I think I'll make some apple butter this year to use as a filling.

Benito's picture

Thanks kindly, I hope to enjoy my retirement and work a bit here and there without any obligations.  I still enjoy medicine and will probably enjoy it more once I’ve had a good break from it all.


SueVT's picture

I can't wait to try these! Thank you so much for the recipe. 

Benito's picture

Thank you Sue, I do hope you give them a try, they are perfect for autumn.