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Master Sweet Dough

Master Sweet Dough

Makes 1 pound, 10 ounces Servings

This versatile dough recipe is ideally made in a stand mixer, but a food processor works surprisingly well, too. Use the dough to make sweet rolls, pretzels, and more.


  • 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from one 1/4-ounce envelope)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus 1/2 tablespoon, melted

Recipe Preparation

Stand Mixer Method

  • Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°–115°. Transfer milk to a 2-cup measuring cup; stir in 1 Tbsp. sugar. Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs; whisk until smooth.

  • Combine remaining 4 Tbsp. sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. (If making Vanilla Cloverleaf Sweet Rolls, scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. If making Apricot-Anise Tarts, add aniseed.) Add milk mixture. With mixer running, add 1/2 cup room-temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Knead on medium-high speed until dough is soft and silky, about 5 minutes.

  • Brush a medium bowl with some melted butter; place dough in bowl. Brush top of dough with remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic; chill.

  • Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 1–1 1/2 hours (or 2–2 1/2 hours if dough has been refrigerated).

Food Processor Method

  • No stand mixer? Don't worry. Fit your food processor with the standard chopping or dough blade, then make the milk mixture according to the dough recipe (above), including whisking in the eggs. Combine remaining 4 Tbsp. sugar, flour, and salt in food processor. If making Apricot-Anise Tarts, add aniseed.) Pulse to blend. Add milk mixture; process until combined. With processor running, add 1/2 cup room-temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions. Process until dough is soft and silky, 2–3 minutes longer. Dough will be sticky but should not be greasy. If it is greasy, process for an additional 1–2 minutes. Transfer dough to the buttered bowl and continue with recipe as directed.

Recipe by Melissa Roberts,

Nutritional Content

One serving contains: Calories (kcal) 190 Fat (g) 9 Saturated Fat (g) 5 Cholesterol (mg) 55 Carbohydrates (g) 25 Dietary Fiber (g) 1 Total Sugars (g) 5 Protein (g) 4 Sodium (mg) 180Reviews SectionNot a great sweet bread recipe. I found that this needs double the called-for yeast. The first time I made this, I got zero rise on the second despite almost an hour and a half. (And no I didn’t kill the yeast and yes it was in a warm space). Second time, I doubled the yeast amount to much better results. The sugar content is nice though, not too much and I love the richness of this amount of butter. It’s just that with that much enrichment, it needs considerably more yeast to feed on.I don't make a lot of yeast dough, so wasn't sure how this dough ought to be. It was very sticky (I called it octopus dough because I would unstick it in one place & it would attach to one or more other spots) & I had to use quite a bit of flour on hands & prep board to keep it from sticking. However, it turned out plump & delicious after baking. I made the dough with anise seeds & - yum! Oh, and, although it doesn't mention hand mixing in the directions, it definitely can be done, at least if you have a Danish dough whisk.nlynnsonoma county03/05/20CookingMom2,agree with Anonymous -- no issues, whatsoever with dough. Would rate this ten stars, if possible!Weighing flour is by far, most accurate method for successful dough/bread baking.Check mfg side panel on bag of flour used. Typically, many U.S. brands state 1/4 C = 30g.Converting to metric weight and quickly using baker's math to get percentages of each ingredient in relation to flour (by weight), this is a high-hydration dough, ~76%, includign eggs which is ideal for soft, fluffy sweet dough.Key to working with a high-hydration dough is to develop a bit of gluten, by hydrating just flour into liquid, ~30 mins, max before adding other ingredients.This enables the dough to more quickly and easily form a ball, right before incorporating butter, and eliminates excessive kneading, which avoids over-oxidation of doughThis master sweet dough is superior to most of the other "bready" formulas on the 'net, as it use all milk (again, in a higher amount), and a bit more butter, which is how sweet dough should be.While not quite in the brioche realm, this master sweet dough could not get better.As for sweetness, adjust to taste a bit, but sugar percentage is also standard for this formula's ratio.Avid BakerMTN STATES07/10/18Au contraire, last reviewer!MY experience with this recipe was GREAT! It was not only successful in its use for cinnamon rolls, but, was also very instructive for one who has, for 30 years, not had success with dough of any kind! That said, the dough was quite soft, even fragile, and I'm wondering if it would have defeated the recipe to add a little more flour during the kneading process !?!AnonymousAthens, OH02/17/18I've made sweet dough for years. I wanted to try a new recipe. Let's say, this was a huge fail. I followed directions, what were there, and what is supposed to be a ball of dough, is a sticky, gooey mess. Not enough flour by far. And not sweet enough. I had to add another 1 1/2 cups of flour and another 1/4 of sugar. Can't figure out why recipe was so "undoughy" I didn't add more liquid either. I'll take any recommendations.cookingmom2Vermont12/31/17

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