When I decided to make this sweet dough, it was really about making the impossible, possible. I really wanted to learn hot cross buns for a Mother Goose project I wanted to start with food. At this point, I could bake cookies and stuff out of a box, nothing really complex. Proofing? What’s that?
I didn’t stop to think this would be too difficult. I just followed the recipe, making mistake after mistake. But I learned from my mistakes and tried to include all that information so you can avoid the pitfalls. I originally used this sweet dough to make hot cross buns but I use it more for cinnamon rolls now.
This sweet dough recipe is from “America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.” The cookbook has methods for doing it by hand, with a stand mixer and a food processor. I first made this recipe by hand but I couldn’t get the smoothness of the dough I wanted so I figured out how to do it with a hand mixer. So this is how to make sweet dough with a hand mixer.
Special thanks to my husband, D. Thomas Dunwoody, for taking the pictures of me kneading the dough.
Special Equipment – Hand mixer with dough attachments
Total Time: 2 1/2 hours (but it may take more time for proofing)
1) 3/4 cup buttermilk, warm
2) 6 tablespoons butter (3/4 stick), melted and cooled until warm
3) 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
4) 4 1/4 cup all purpose flour
5) 1/4 cup sugar
6) 1 packet instant or rapid-rise yeast
7) 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Preparation #1 – Mix the Wet Ingredients.
Okay the recipe calls for warm buttermilk, melted and cooled butter and 3 lightly beaten large eggs. I admit, before I start the recipe, I put the 3/4 cup buttermilk I had in the refrigerator on my window ledge to warm up BUT it doesn’t really warm up at all.
And I get why you would need the butter melted and cooled because I think there is a possibility that if you just add melted butter to the eggs, they’ll start cooking which would be bad. I wanted to speed up the process so this is how I tackle the problem:
1) Crack 3 eggs in a medium mixing bowl and lightly beat them with a whisk.
2) Add the buttermilk and mix with a spoon.
3) Melt the butter (I use the microwave and because I don’t have the standard 1100 watt microwave, it takes about 2 minutes), then add it to the buttermilk/egg mixture.
4) Mix everything with a spoon and you’re done and the eggs aren’t cooked.
Preparation #2 – Mix the Dry Ingredients.
1) Take a larger bowl then the one you used for the wet ingredients and add the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
2) Take a rubber spatula and mix them all together well.
Preparation #3 – Add the Wet Ingredients to the Dry Ingredients.
1) Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients.
2) Take the rubber spatula and mix them together. Try to get all of the wet ingredients out of the bowl. If you take the rubber spatula and use it like a window squeegee, moving it across the surface of the bowl, you can get most of the wet ingredients out of the bowl.
3) Your dough should look “shaggy” like this:
Preparation #4 – Using a Hand Mixer, Knead the Dough.
Put the dough attachments on the hand mixer and put it on low. Knead the dough by turning the bowl round and round until the dough is fairly smooth (about 6 minutes).
Preparation #5 – Test the Dough for Stickiness.
You’ve measured the ingredients perfectly up to this point but you still have to test the dough. If it’s too sticky, you didn’t use enough flour, or you used old flour.
Take some of the dough in your hand. If you can’t get rid of the dough by shaking your fingers you need to add more flour to the dough. If the dough is too sticky, you can’t do anything with it, so this is really important and something it doesn’t say in the recipe. But you need to test it before you take the dough out of the bowl otherwise, it’s super difficult to fix it.
Preparation #6 – Knead the Dough by Hand.
1) Flour a flat surface, then place the dough on the surface.
2) Though you used the hand mixer to work the gluten in the dough, I always knead the dough for a minute or two, depending on how well I mixed the dough.
3) Plop the dough on the floured surface and push it up into a rectangle.
4) Fold it over.
5) Turn it 90 degrees.
6) Repeat steps 3-5.
7) Shape it into a ball.
8) Clean the bowl you used for the wet ingredients then grease it with vegetable oil. You need to grease the whole bowl because when the dough proofs it will take up most of the bowl.
Preparation #7 – Proof the Dough
1) Place the dough in the oiled bowl.
2) Cover with plastic wrap.
3) The dough needs to proof to twice its size. How long this takes depends on whether you have a warm place in your house. I try to put the bowl underneath a window. Sometimes it just takes 1 1/2 hours, sometimes longer.
I know it’s done because the dough is touching the plastic wrap.
Don’t let it proof too long or it will be overproofed and the dough won’t taste as good when baked. You’ll know it’s overproofed if you saw it touching the plastic wrap and then you see it has gone down a little.
Now you’re ready to make something with it!