Conquering Yeast with Nutella Buns

     It was my friend Elliot’s birthday, so I went big with some Nutella Buns from Saveur, that I found on a Buzzfeed article about Nutella. Excellent. For some reason I’ve tended to avoid using yeast as much as possible. I think it’s because the first and last time I used it involved doughnuts, a mishap in measuring, and general bad experiences involving deep frying. So I took this opportunity to try again. I think it worked out pretty well! Kicked yeast in the butt, and now there are so many more things that I can take a crack at.

I bought a set of Pyrex dishes for this. I was extremely excited; one step closer to adulthood.

For others intimidated by yeast and all things rising: here’s a photo story on the how-tos of yeast, and what your situation should be looking like. Here is the first step: empty packet contents into bowl.

Step two: add warm water to bowl.

Step three: mix yeast and water together some.

Step four: wait ten minutes (5 minutes in).

     It may not look like anything has happened from this photo, but there should be a foam that forms over the top.

It’s a little easier to see in this photo. Shiny! If you stick a spoon in and see that it’s not all foam, that’s okay! About halfway down it got watery. At least, for me it seemed fine. Still plenty of rising to happen.
 Ingredient essentials.
Combine it up.
     (Sometimes, the wooden spoon doesn’t cut it) Look that’s my hand. I took this. I’d like to take a moment to help you visualize the difficulty of taking this photo that I am so proud of. First off, I’m right-handed, so my non-dominant hand is wielding the instrument here. Second, I’ve only ever seen cameras with the shutter release on the top right (or bottom). My camera has no release on the bottom. So I somehow managed to take hold of my camera with my left hand, snap the shutter, and keep it steady enough to have the photo come out sharp. Okay end boast.
All doughed up

Knead it up and let it sit.

      So the recipe says let sit for two hours, but I went for 24. I definitely say go for longer than two, so the yeast has time to ferment and flavorfy, and you can throw it in the fridge overnight. But wait at least 30 minutes for the dough to warm up before you work with it again.

 15 by 20 inches may be larger than you think, so make sure you have plenty of space for rolling out.

It may look like you have lots of extra dough…but you probably don’t.
 Under non-blogging circumstances, I wouldn’t really measure out the cup and a half of Nutella, but I wanted to see what kind of Nutella overdose we were talking about. At this point in time, I think I had spread a cup of Nutella onto the dough.  It seemed like enough, but I went ahead with that extra half cup anyway.

 Good thing, too. It’s good to get all the way to three edges of the dough so you don’t have to trim them off/chuck them later. You’ll want to leave that last edge free for sealing, though. 

Make sure you flour your surface well before/after rolling out dough.

I was close in my guesstimate for twelve rolls – try the scoring trick before you commit to cutting (does this count as scoring?)

Line that dish. Brown butter-sugary carameliness.

 Also pecans. I hope you like pecans.

Classic before…

…and after. Ok yeah maybe I burned the corner a touch. Keep an eye on the oven, maybe set the timer a couple minutes early.
Y’all will have to tell me how these come out! I did hear “pretty good” things, though.
Nutella Buns, from these two brothers’ cookbook, posted by Saveur, seen on Buzzfeed
1 (¼-oz.) package active dry yeast
¼ cup, plus 1 tsp. sugar
½ cup milk
9 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs
4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
¾ cup brown sugar
⅔ cup coarsely chopped pecans
1½ cups Nutella
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1. Combine yeast, 1 tsp. sugar and ½ cup warm water in a bowl until foamy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring milk to a simmer in a 1-qt saucepan over medium heat; set aside for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining sugar, 4 tbsp. butter, and salt and stir to yeast mixture with vanilla, 2 eggs, and flour just until combined. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap; let sit until dough doubles in size, about 1½ hours.

2. Heat oven to 375°. Melt remaining butter in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, stir until smooth, and pour into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish; sprinkle with pecans.

3. Transfer dough to a floured surface and roll dough into a 15″ x 20″ rectangle. Spread Nutella evenly over dough, leaving a ½” border on one long side. Beat remaining egg in a bowl and brush the clean border of the dough. Roll dough into a log towards the end brushed with egg; trim ends and cut log into 12 rounds. Transfer rounds cut side up to the  baking dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve inverted onto plates and drizzle with syrup and nuts from the bottom of the baking dish.

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