Impressive buns that are totally attainable. 

By Darcy Lenz
May 14, 2019
Annie Campbell

No, it’s not just you—baking recipes that require letting dough rest and rise multiple times are intimidating. 

Given the tender, yeasty dough boasting just the right amount of chew spiraled with lightly spiced, buttery filling and draped in a luxuriously gooey, nut-studded caramel, sticky buns seem like an absolutely impressive thing to make… and that’s because they are.

Which is exactly why you should make them. 

Successfully preparing a food item that’s as impressive as a pan of (legitimately good) sticky buns and being able to share those impressive buns with other people provides the kind of sugar-powered ego boost we all need every now and again. The good news is, this particular sticky bun recipe I am here to talk to you about is blatantly not-hard to to prepare successfully.

Annie Campbell

I know, if you actually clicked that link, you’re probably thinking, “Two types of flour, nine steps, and you’re saying this isn’t difficult—what kind of fools do you take us for, lady?” But stick with me on this one, if you take this admittedly overwhelming-to-look-at Miso Walnut Sticky Bun recipe one step at a time, you’ll see that there’s nothing particularly challenging about making it. Sure, it lends itself to being more of a weekend recipe given that you’ll have to allow your dough some hours to rise before proceeding to the next step—but really what’s so tricky about walking away from a project and coming back to it a couple hours later? I do that all the time without even trying. 

The thing to realize with this recipe is that most of the characteristics that make it appear intimidating—the two flours, the number of steps required, breaking out the the least-used stand-mixer attachment, the instant potato flakes, for goodness sake—aren’t intended as barriers for entry. Quite the opposite, actually. They’re all there to ensure your success. 

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See, the bread flour is there to contribute a little more gluten (thus, structural integrity) to the party, which will help your buns stand as tall as you will when you present them to your wide-eyed admirers. Don’t think you’ll use that bag of bread flour again anytime soon? Place it in a plastic, zip-top bag and just pop it into the freezer to keep it fresh until next time. It’s true, a yeasted dough can be nerve-wracking when you’re not used to working with it, but as long as your packet of active dry yeast foams within five or so minutes of introducing it to your warm milk and sugar, you’re golden. Speaking of, I realize it probably seems finicky to pull out a thermometer to measure the temperature of the milk—but look, it takes two seconds and it’s important that you do. Getting that milk to 110 degrees means it’s warm enough to activate the yeast but not so warm that it’ll kill it. Why would you chance attempting to eyeball something like that? (

I know you’re probably not using a dough hook all that often; however, it’s just like any other mixer attachment, I swear. Latch it on and let it go. To that point, I did try a test run of this recipe without a stand mixer, and doing so throws a good bit of what I’m saying about this recipe being a walk in the park out the window. Mixing the dough will take longer and require more baker’s intuition on your part without a stand mixer and dough hook doing the heavy lifting. Point being, you’re sailing will be far smoother if you lug out the KitchenAid or borrow one if need be. 

Annie Campbell

Let’s talk about the instant potato flakes, they may seem a little out of place, right? Right, so if you check out our Guide to Alternative Flours, you’ll learn that certain varieties of highly starchy flour, especially potato flour, have a strong proclivity for absorbing and locking in moisture and fat. Instant potato flakes are more likely to already be in your pantry and act much the same as potato flour, and incorporating them into your sticky bun dough ensures an exceptionally moist and tender final product that’ll stay fresher, longer. 

If you’re not super familiar with miso paste, no worries at all. It contributes wow-factor depth of salty-sweet flavor to the filling and sticky topping for these buns, making them all the more impressive. Your tub of white miso can do the same for other sweet treats too, like this Miso Caramel Apple Pie or these Miso-Sesame Skillet Blondies, however, it is more commonly used in savory dishes such as our miso-glazed chicken wings. Try out some of our other favorite ways with the flavor-packed fermented soybean paste and you’ll be a miso pro in no time flat. 

Annie Campbell

Moral of the story: All of the intimidation factors that stand out in this recipe are far less overwhelming than they appear at first glance, but guess what? That won’t diminish the level of pride you feel when you’ve got a platter of gleaming, steaming, fresh-from-the-oven sticky buns resting before you. So the next time you need a sweet taste of YES I CAN, you know which recipe to reach for. 

Get the Recipe: Miso Walnut Sticky Buns

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