World's Best Sticky Buns

Make the Dough


1/4 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups hot milk
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons salt
4-1/2 to 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour


Pour the water into a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Set aside. Combine the oats and sugar in a very large bowl. Pour in the hot milk and stir to dissolve the sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Whisk the eggs and yolks to liquefy them, then add to the oat mixture. Cut the butter into pieces and add it to the oat mixture, along with the lemon zest, vanilla, salt, and dissolved yeast. Stir 3½ cups of the flour into the liquid, then beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for 100 strokes. Set the dough aside for 10 minutes.

Gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft, kneadable dough. Turn the dough out and knead it, or knead it right in the bowl if bowl is big enough, for 5 to 6 minutes, using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, 1-½ to 2 hours.

Prepare the Pans

Make the Filling


12 very large buns


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