Amish Sticky Buns
When The Amish: Shunned premiered on PBS in 2014, American Experience received a lot of requests for the recipe for the cinnamon buns that appear about a half hour into the documentary. (The documentary's producer tweeted that she ate so many of them while filming that day.) Author and interviewee Saloma Furlong, who started a small baking business in her early 20s, publishes the recipe — and others — on her website (and in her book, Bonnet Strongs: An Amish Woman's Ties to Two Worlds) and she has given us permission to republish it here.
Mem's White Bread
Mix together in a large mixing bowl:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups hot milk
Proofing the yeast:
1 cup lukewarm water (The same temperature as you would use to give a newborn baby a bath)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons yeast
While the hot milk is dissolving the sugar and melting the butter, proof the yeast until it becomes nice and foamy. Meanwhile, cool the milk mixture with ice cubes until it becomes lukewarm. (If it's too hot, it will kill the yeast). When it becomes lukewarm (same as for proofing the yeast), add the yeast mixture and stir.
Sift flour into the milk mixture. At first it will be lumpy, until you add more flour and then it should become nice and smooth. Beat well, and keep sifting about a cup in at a time. The more you stir it at this point, the easier it will be to knead the dough later. When the dough forms a ball, it is ready to be kneaded. I turn it out onto a clean counter with sifted flour on it to knead it. Anna actually kneaded the dough right in the bowl. If you do this, then you need a bowl that is a lot bigger than the dough, so you can work it better.
The amount of flour is approximately 6 cups. You want the dough to be soft and yielding, but not sticky. I knead my dough for 10 minutes after I've stirred in all the flour that I can.
Turn dough into a greased bowl and cover with a clean, lint-free towel. Let rise about an hour, then punch down and let rise again for 45 minutes.
The dough is now ready to form into loaves or rolls. Or you can make it into sticky buns (see recipe below). I've broken Anna's recipe down into what will yield three 9-inch pans of sticky buns.
A batch of Mem's White Bread
Softened butter (about a stick)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
Sticky Bun Stuff (below)
To make the Sticky Bun Stuff, mix together and bring to a boil:
1/2 stick butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 T. corn syrup
2 T. water
1 T. vanilla
Pour the sticky bun syrup into three nine-inch pie pans. Add pecans or walnuts if desired. Mix together the white sugar and cinnamon and set it aside.
Grease a clean counter with butter. Without punching down the dough, place it on the greased counter. Roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick. Smather this dough with soft butter. Pour the white sugar and cinnamon over that and spread it all over the dough. Roll it up like a jelly roll. Take a cutting board and slide it under the "tube."
Cut the roll into slices, just under two inches thick. Place in the pie pans with the sticky bun syrup. Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes to an hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place sticky buns low into the oven, second to the bottom rack. Bake for 5 minutes, and then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake until golden brown (about 35-40 minutes).
Remove from oven and let sit five minutes. Turn a large plate upside down over the top of the pan of sticky buns and turn over. The sticky buns should separate from the pan. Scrape any excess syrup and spread over the top of the buns.
Serve while warm.