Refrigerator Dough for American and European Pastries

Reader Contribution by Wendy Akin
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This dough makes up in 10 minutes and then rests overnight in the refrigerator. It’s supple and easy to work with as you bake up your choice of American or European pastries, light as a feather.

I like to make a couple batches on a cold winter day and keep them in the freezer, ready to bring out whenever I need something special.

Dough Recipe


• 2 cups unbleached pastry flour or whole wheat pastry flour
• 1/2 cup cane sugar
• 1 tsp fine sea salt
• 2 scant Tbsp SAF GOLD yeast*
• 1 stick butter, melted
• 1 cup water
• 1 tsp grated orange peel**
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 3 eggs
• 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour


1. In your mixer bowl with the paddle blade, stir together the pastry flour with sugar, salt and yeast.   In the microwave, melt butter in 2 cup measure cup, add water and heat until all hot, about 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Pour liquid into bowl of dry ingredients, stir in and beat a minute, then add in eggs, peel and vanilla and beat for 2 min.

3. Add the all-purpose flour, stir in and beat until smooth. The dough is very soft, more like brownie dough than bread dough.

4. Put dough into a bowl or tub at least large enough for the dough to double, and refrigerate overnight. It will rise and fall during the night, but will still be puffy.

American Cinnamon-Pecan Sticky Buns Recipe

Makes three square pans, 8 by 8 inches with 9 buns each, or one 13-inch square with 25 buns


• 1 recipe refrigerator dough (see above)
• 1/2 cup melted butter
• cinnamon-sugar mix: 1/2 cup of cane sugar with 1 tbsp Vietnamese cinnamon
• 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water

Pan glaze

• 1/2 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup
• 1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
• 1 cup brown sugar, packed
• 1 cup pecans


1. Melt the butter in a 2-cup measure, add the syrup and brown sugar, stir well.

2. Spoon a generous amount into the pan and cover the glaze with pecans. It’s nice to have a whole pecan placed for each bun and then some broken pieces between.

3. On a well-floured pastry cloth, roll the dough to 12 by 20 inches, brush with melted butter, fold in thirds (letter fold). Repeat roll, butter and fold 3 times. The dough is now layered like a Danish pastry.

4. Put dough in a plastic bag and refrigerate for an hour or so.

5. Take out, flour lightly and again roll out the dough; try to get the dough to 18 inches square. Brush generously with beaten egg and cover heavily with cinnamon-sugar. Wait a minute for the cinnamon and sugar to absorb the egg and be sticky. Then, roll the dough up into a log and slice ¾-inch thick.

6. Place in prepared pan, leaving a little space for spreading. Let rise until well doubled and quite puffy. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a bun snaps back when pressed gently.

7. Remove to a cooling rack and promptly place a plate or cutting board over the buns and invert, then slide back into the pan so the pecan glaze is on top. Turn them over, even if you’ll freeze them, or they’ll never come out of the pan right.

These freeze nicely. To serve, let the buns defrost, then cover with foil and reheat gently in a low oven.

‘Brioche Raisinee’ French Raisin Snails Recipe

Makes 18 4-inch snails, just like the ones in French bakeries


• 1 recipe refrigerator dough (recipe from above)
• 1 cup melted butter
• 1-1/2 cups raisins
• coarse Demerara sugar


1. On a well-floured pastry cloth, roll the dough to 12 by 20 inches, brush with melted butter, fold into thirds (letter fold). Repeat roll, butter and fold 3 times. The dough is now layered like a Danish pastry.

2. Put dough in a plastic bag and refrigerate for an hour or so. Take out, flour lightly and again roll out the dough.  Spread the raisins over the dough and use the rolling pin to press them into the dough. Roll up the dough lengthwise.

3. Using a very sharp knife, slice a scant 3/4-inch thick and put the slices on a parchment lined cookie sheet, one inch apart. Gently coax the slices into a round shape. Brush the tops with butter. Sprinkle each with some of the coarse sugar.

4. Let rise until more than doubled and very puffy looking. Bake at 350 degrees about 25 minutes or until dark golden. Remove from the sheet promptly and cool on a rack.

T5. hese freeze nicely. I like to pack them in sandwich baggies and then freeze all the individuals in a freezer bag, handy to grab just one.

Italian Panettone Minis Recipe

Makes about 12 muffin-sized buns


• 1 recipe refrigerator dough made with 1-1/2 tsps of grated lemon peel**
• 1/2 cup diced candied lemon peel***
• 1 cup gold raisins (other dried fruit if desired)
• Melted butter


1. Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Pat out and then knead in the fruits.

2. Form the dough into a log and cut pieces into 3-1/4 ounces each. Form each piece into a smooth ball.

3. Put each ball into a muffin cup (either silicone or paper lined). Let rise until doubled.

4. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until dark golden. Brush with butter, remove from cup and cool on rack.

*SAF Gold yeast is better suited to doughs rich in sugar and butter. It is available from King Arthur Flour. You can use regular instant yeast, but it may take longer to rise. Two scant tablespoons of bulk yeast is about the same as two packets.

**I always have grated peel on hand in the freezer. I use a potato peeler to take just the bright outer peel from an orange or lemon, toss this into the mini processor with a couple tablespoons of cane sugar and process until very finely ground. Store in a glass jar in the freezer — handy and frugal.

Wendy Akin is a happy to share her years of traditional skills knowledge. Over the years, she’s earned many state fair ribbons for pickles, relishes, preserves and special condiments, and even a few for breads. Read all of Wendy’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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