By Rachel Holt

BOSTON – Acclaimed Chef and Owner of Flour Bakery, Joanne Chang, joins New England Living Host Rachel Holt in the Clarke Sub-Zero and Wolf Test Kitchen to bake up a new twist on one of her classic recipes – Apple Cider Sticky Buns.

In this video, we also explore Joanne’s unique journey from her days as an Applied Mathematics and Economics student at Harvard College, to winning the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Baker.

Along the way, Joanne has run 16 Boston Marathons, opened 9 Flour bakeries, written 5 cookbooks, and defeated celebrity chef Bobby Flay in a sticky bun challenge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay on the Food Network.

RECIPE – APPLE CIDER STICKY BUNS
Makes 6 buns

1/2 recipe of Master Brioche (recipe below)
1 cup apple cider
1/4 tsp orange zest
Big pinch of ground clove
Big pinch of ground ginger
Big pinch of ground nutmeg
Big pinch of ground allspice
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped in 1/2-inch pieces, about 2 1/3 cups
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup grams sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix the Master Brioche and let proof for 6 hours or overnight in the fridge as directed.

In a small saucepan heat the cider, orange zest, clove, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice and bring just under a boil. Let simmer for about 10 minutes until it reduces to about 1/2 cup. Turn the heat off and add apples to the cider in the pan. Let them sit until room temperature. Strain the cider from the apples and set both aside.

Place the butter in a medium saucepan and add 1 1/4 cups of the brown sugar. Heat over medium high heat stirring occasionally until sugar melts and starts to boil, about 3 minutes. It will look a bit like lava. Whisk the reserved cider into the butter. Whisk in the honey, heavy cream, and salt. Whisk until thoroughly combined and set aside until it comes to room temperature. This apple cider ‘goo’ may be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

On a floured work surface roll the brioche into a large 12-by-12 inch square. It will have the consistency of cold, damp Play-Doh and should be fairly easy to roll out. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, white sugar, and ground cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the entire surface of the brioche. Sprinkle the reserved soaked apples evenly on top of the sugar.

Starting from the top of the square and working your way down, roll the brioche like a jelly roll until the entire sheet is rolled up. Roll tightly so you have a nice round spiral. Trim both edges of the brioche roll about 1/4-inch to even out the ends.

Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the roll into 8 equal pieces about 1 1/2-inches wide. (At this point the unbaked buns can be transferred to a flat tray or plate and tightly wrapped and frozen for up to 1 week. When ready to bake, remove the buns from freezer. Leave them wrapped and let them defrost in the refrigerator overnight, or at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours; proceed as directed.)

Pour the reserved apple cider goo into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Place the buns in the pan, evenly spaced. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let the buns proof at warm room temperature for about 2 hours, until the dough is puffy, pillowy, and soft, and the buns are touching.

Heat the oven to 350°F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the buns are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 to 30 minutes in the dish. Invert the buns one at a time onto a serving platter and spoon any extra goo on top. Serve warm.

Best served right away, or within 4 hours of baking. You could serve next day after warming in a 300°F oven for 6 to 8 minutes.

MASTER BRIOCHE RECIPE
Makes about 2 1/2 pounds

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups high-gluten bread flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup cold water
4 large eggs
18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into 10- 12 pieces

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and eggs. Mix on low speed until all the ingredients have come together, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape the bowl if necessary to make sure all the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed another 3 to 4 minutes once the dough has all come together. It will be very stiff.

Add the butter to the flour mixture piece by piece and continue mixing on low speed for about 10 minutes. The butter needs to mix completely into the dough so stop the mixer occasionally and scrape the sides of the bowl and break up the dough with your hands if necessary to help the butter mix in.

Once the butter is completely incorporated into the dough, mix on medium speed for another 15 minutes, until the dough becomes sticky and soft and somewhat shiny. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed for about 1 minute and you should hear it make a slap-slap-slap sound as the dough hits the sides of the bowl. Test the dough by pulling at it. When you pull at the dough it should stretch a bit and have a little give. If it seems wet and loose and more like a batter than a dough, add a few tablespoons of flour and mix until it comes together. If it breaks off into pieces when you pull at it, continue to mix it on medium for another 2 to 3 minutes until it develops more strength and stretches when you grab it. You should be able to gather it all together and pick it up all as one piece when it’s ready.

Place the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover the dough with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap should be directly on top of the dough, touching it. Let the dough proof (grow and develop flavor) in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Rachel Holt

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