I used to be afraid of yeast. If I saw it listed as an ingredient in a recipe, I immediately turned the page.
It all seemed so fraught with complexities and complications that there’s no way I’d be able to master the art of baking with it. But then I realized that if I wanted to eat pizza and cinnamon buns at home, I’d have to conquer my fear. And so I leaned into the magic and chemistry that is so evident in yeasted baked goods.
There are a few principles to keep in mind. Use yeast that hasn’t expired. Check those little best before dates on the packages! And then, be sure that the liquid in which you’re dissolving it isn’t too hot, or too cold. Once you see the yeast bubbled up and frothy, you’re golden. The rest of the work comes from kneading the dough, but that’s where a stand mixer comes in handy.
A basic yeasted dough is full of so many possibilities, but to celebrate spring and Easter, I wanted to create a sticky bun using cherry jam instead of the usual brown sugar and butter gooey caramel. This is the prime time to use up any preserves from your pantry that you put away last summer or fall. If not, look for a good quality jam that is not too runny. I like the Bonne Maman brand best.
The jam is spread on top of the rolled-out dough, so that when you roll it up and slice it, the jam is spiraled throughout the individual buns. Sticky and soft, these buns are made even better by the sweetened sour cream drizzle. Served on a platter to your favourite people, these will surely be devoured with gusto and glee.