baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2023 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

sticky buns

Recipe: sticky buns

I haven’t done any yeast doughs since we moved from sea-level. If you consider the pizza dough we make, it isn’t actually we, but Jeremy who makes that. I really love the yeasty smell and flavor of home baked breads. I tend not to bake breads because I know I’ll just end up eating them. I’m a sandwich whore. The other main deterrent for not baking breads is that I wasn’t a seasoned bread baker at sea-level and then tossing our elevation into the mix makes for quite some uncertainty. We’re not even at a “nice” elevation like 5000 feet which is what “high altitude” directions usually target. 8500 feet delves into the realm of “who the hell lives up there?” We do.

get that yeast action going

Today I tried a bastardized combination of two recipes: a dough from The (not so) New High Altitude Cookbook and the sticky part from a recipe by Nancy Silverton. I really wanted to make the whole recipe by Silverton until I read that the brioche dough required 4-6 hours of refrigeration and I wasn’t planning to run the oven in the afternoon. But eventually I will make brioche, just about my Favorite Bread in the Whole World.

when the dough is ready, rub some butter around the surface

while you’ve got the butter out, rub a stick in each pan

sprinkle brown sugar and pecans

I only put 2/3 of a stick of butter in each pan, although in hindsight, I should have done the whole stick. I just don’t want to be killing everyone with 100% fat sticky buns. I guess there are worse ways to die.

roll out the dough into a long rectangle

brush obscene amount of melted butter, sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans

roll it up

pinch it closed


set in pans and let rise

The baking instructions were somewhat different between the two recipes, so I compromised somewhere in between on the temperature and the time. I think I should let it bake longer because the first two pans came out slightly grainy in the sugar topping. I’m guessing this is partly because of the reduced butter and partly because I need to let it really caramelize (cooking longer). The second two pans baked longer and had the better gooey topping. Be sure to turn it out immediately because when the caramel cools, it might not be so easy to remove from the pan. Don’t serve it right out of the oven though – people will burn their mouths on the caramel.

we like the gooey

sticky buns: delish!

Now, before you go and try the recipe, just be warned that most of the doughs for the rolls call for baking soda/baking powder at sea-level. This version is high altitude, which omits those leavening agents because… air pressure is lower and so the dough rises pretty darn well on its own. You could easily replace the dough with another recipe and follow the rest.

High Altitude Sticky Cinnamon Buns
[print recipe]
makes about 4 9-inch pans

2 packages active dry yeast (4.5 tsps)
1 cup lukewarm water (100-110°F)
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
1 cup scalded milk
6 tbsps melted butter
2 tsp salt
3 eggs, beaten
7 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup cinnamon (or less, I just sprinkle it on to my liking)

4 sticks (1 lb.) butter, softened
2 cups pecans, chopped
2 cups brown sugar, packed

In a large bowl (to accommodate your raised dough), sprinkle yeast into lukewarm water and add 1 tbsp sugar. Stir to dissolve. Mix the melted butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt into the scalded milk. Cool the milk mixture to lukewarm and add to yeast mixture. Add beaten eggs. Mix well. Add one-third of the sifted flour and mix batter until smooth and satiny. Add remaining flour gradually and switch to hands or dough hook as dough stiffens. Knead for a few minutes. Grease the surface and cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place (about 80°F) until doubled in size (about an hour).

Meanwhile, prepare 4 9-inch round pans. Spread one stick of butter (4 ounces) into the bottom of each pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans.

When dough is ready, punch it down and roll it out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape it into a large rectangle. Brush butter onto the dough and sprinkle the brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon evenly over the butter. Roll the dough like a carpet and pinch the end onto the roll. You can use some water to help it stick to itself. Slice the roll into 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch pieces and set in baking pans. Cover the pans with a damp cloth and allow to rise a second time until doubled in size (about 45 minutes).

Bake at 375°F for 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Remove from oven and invert onto serving plate. Let cool. Serve that day.

9 nibbles at “sticky buns”

  1. SPG says:

    Thanks for the recipe, I am at 10,000 and this worked great! Only change is, I melted the butter and brown sugar and then poured in the bottom of the pan.

  2. jenyu says:

    SPG – that is exactly what I need to do! Thanks for the tip and I’m really glad it worked out (it’s good, isn’t it?!)

  3. zainab says:

    i like cinnamon buns thanks alot

  4. jenyu says:

    Zainab – you’re welcome.

  5. StumpyGirl » Blog Archive » Recipe: High Altitude Sticky Buns says:

    […] I did a little digging and found this recipe from Use Real Butter. It is a super recipe, but I tweaked it a little, this is what I […]

  6. Dianne says:

    Thanks for this recipe! I’ve been using it for two years with great success. Last year I modified it slightly to make a Mardi Gras King Cake for a friend of mine. Perfect!

  7. Lindsay says:

    This recipe is amazing! Just moved to CB, and was so excited to find it. Thanks so much!

  8. Melissa says:

    Would you be able to provide measurements for leavening agents? I’d love to make this for Christmas morning :)

  9. jenyu says:

    Melissa – I believe the recipe lists 2 packages or 4.5 teaspoons of active dry yeast.

leave a reply