These vegan Sourdough Sticky Buns make a delicious breakfast or dessert, and bonus, you can make it with your discard or unfed starter. They are gooey, sticky, crusted with caramel-coated pecans, and absolutely scrumptious. A soy-free recipe.
If eating sugar-laced goodies make you sigh with guilt instead of screaming with joy, you should really think about baking with sourdough.
Let me clarify that I am not making a case for the healthfulness of sugary foods because, sorry, there is no such thing. But it is also true that when you bake with sourdough, your desserts actually get less unhealthy because the sourdough digests the starches in the white flour, bringing down its glycemic levels. So you can actually have your sourdough sticky bun, eat it too, and feel pretty good.
I get many questions from readers about ways to use up the discard portion of the sourdough starter — the bit you need to get rid of when you feed your sourdough. I get it. As a wannabe frugal cook, I hate waste too, and my favorite ways to use up the discard is to add it to rotis or Indian flatbreads, to waffles and pancakes, or even to this amazing no-knead sourdough bread.
Now, I have one more, delicious way you can use up that unfed starter: these Sourdough Sticky Buns, vegan, of course.
Like almost any food that uses sourdough, you need to plan ahead for these buns. And no, I don’t mean this will be time-consuming — in fact, it’s anything but. But if you want to have sourdough sticky buns for breakfast, you can’t plan on waking up at seven and putting your dough together. Most sourdough-containing baked goods need a long standing/rising period during which the bacteria can go to work, digesting the starches in the flour and producing those wonderful gases that will help your baked good rise. So if you make these buns, you will have to start your dough the night before, let it rise in a warm place overnight, and endure another one-hour wait in the morning. But, I promise, it will all be worth it when you bite into one of these beauties.
I want to clarify that when I say you can use your discard starter, I don’t mean the neglected starter that has sat around in your fridge for a month or two, gathering mold and heaven knows what. You need to have fed your well-established starter at least within the last seven days. You can also just use recently fed starter, if you prefer that, but not a brand-new starter that hasn’t gained any strength yet. Get it? If you need a better explanation, visit my post on how to make a sourdough starter.
I’m going to leave you with the recipe now. If you try it, be sure to come back and let me know, and if you have questions, just ask. 🙂
Vegan Sourdough Sticky Buns
For the sourdough buns:
- 1 cup sourdough starter (fed or unfed are both fine)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup almond or other nondairy milk
- 1/4 cup aquafaba (chickpea brine) You can just replace this with more nondairy milk if you'd rather.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (olive oil will add a slightly fruity flavor. You can substitute with a flavorless oil like avocado or another vegetable oil)
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
For the filling:
- Mix all ingredients for the sourdough buns except the flour in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 1/2 cups of flour and mix in, then continue to add the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until you have a smooth, supple dough. You may not need to add all of the flour, or you might need a little more.
- Continue to knead for 4-5 minutes. Roll the dough into a smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat the top with oil. Cover tightly with a lid or cling wrap and let it rise overnight in a warm place.
- The next morning, lightly grease two 8- or 9-inch cake pans. Prepare them by sprinkling the sugar for the glaze at the bottom of each, and then sprinkling the pecans atop the sugar.
- Make the rest of the glaze by mixing the melted butter with the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Pour over the pecans and sugar in the cake pans.
- Knead the dough lightly, lightly flour your work surface, then roll into a rectangle about 16 inches in length and 9 inches in width.
- Make the filling by mixing together the cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. Spread it evenly on the dough you have rolled out, leaving a 1-inch border clear along one of the long sides of the rectangle.
- Starting with the long edge covered by the sugar mixture, roll carefully into a log. Use a sharp or serrated knife to cut into 16 1-inch pieces lengthwise.
- Arrange eight rolls in each of the cake pans. Cover the pans and let the rolls rise for 1-2 hours or until puffy and doubled. About 1/2 hour before baking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the buns in the oven and bake 30 minutes.
- After removing from oven, let the buns stand five minutes, then invert carefully on a plate. Tuck in!
Learn how to make a sourdough starter with step-by-step instructions and photos: