Sugar Donut Muffins I did not long after starting Sugar Pies. I've always loved cinnamon sugar doughnuts and those were just so yummy and delicious.
Recently, I was watching a rerun of a Martha Stewart show called Martha Bakes. Honestly, I had no idea she had so many different specialty shows - baking, cooking, gardening, sewing, crafts, accounting, investing... OK, maybe not accounting or investing. Anyway, on this particular show she introduced a rather interesting yeast dough recipe that she then adapted to various uses such as Monkey Bread, Pecan Buns, and these delightful little Sugar Buns.
These are really very simple to do and actually not a bad introduction to yeast breads that use active dry yeast rather than the more "fool proof" rapid rise yeast.
What's the difference, you say. Active dry yeast has larger particles of yeast and is dried to a lower moisture content. That means the yeast needs to be "proofed" before use. Proofing is a process whereby the yeast is dissolved in water with a little nutrient (usually a bit of sugar) and allowed to begin the process of fermentation. This releases carbon dioxide as little bubbles (that's what makes your dough rise). These bubbles take the form of a foam on top of the liquid "proving" the yeast is alive and ready for use. Rapid Rise (sometimes called Bread Machine Yeast) have smaller particles and a higher moisture content when packaged. This yeast does not need to be proofed and can be added directly to the dry ingredients in a recipe. The smaller size particles and higher moisture will allow for maximum hydration and activation of the yeast during mixing. For more info there is a great chart at Breadworld.com.
Now that you've been enthralled by the differences in yeast, let's talk about Sugar Buns. Like my favorite Sugar Donut Muffins these use just a couple simple ingredients to achieve a wonderful flavor. In this case we have cinnamon, sugar and a little bit of nutmeg that I slipped into the recipe for an extra depth of flavor. That's it for the sugar and spice department. The yeast bread, however, has a couple things that you don't normally find in yeast breads. I'll admit, I was skeptical of one of them - white vinegar. But amazingly it turned out a beautiful dough that had a lovely flavor. The other unusual addition is sour cream.
This is not a labor intensive dough and it performed wonderfully for me even allowing me to get a very tight roll without much trouble. Give this one a try, particularly if you've shied away from yeast doughs in the past.