These sticky buns have to be started the night before, but they’re so delicious they’re worth the extra time.
2 packages active dry yeast, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm milk, about 110 degrees
6 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut in pieces, plus more for the pan
3 1/3 cups pecan halves
2 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
In a small bowl, combine yeast and milk. Let stand until yeast is creamy, about 10 minutes. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Add yeast mixture and eggs, and mix on low speed until completely combined, about 3 minutes.
Increase the speed to high and add butter, several pieces at a time. When all the butter has been added, continue mixing dough until it is smooth and shiny, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer dough to a parchment-lined 13-by-18-inch baking pan and use your hands to spread the dough out to fit the pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
Generously butter one 12-cup or two 6-cup, 7-ounce-capacity muffin pans. Chop 2 cups pecans, and break remaining 1 1/3 cups pecans in half lengthwise, keeping the two types separate. Pour 3 tablespoons corn syrup into each muffin cup, and add about 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to each muffin cup. Add about 2 tablespoons of the halved pecans to each muffin cup, and set the filled muffin pan aside.
Remove dough from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Roll out dough lengthwise, 1/4 inch thick by 15 inches long by 20 inches wide. Using a spatula, spread sour cream over the surface of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Dust sour cream with cinnamon, and sprinkle with 2/3 cup brown sugar. Cover brown sugar with chopped pecans, and roll dough up lengthwise to form a roll 18 inches long by 3 inches in diameter.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a sharp knife, slice dough into 1 1/2-inch-thick slices, and place in the prepared pan or pans, either cut side down, until every cup is filled. Cover buns with parchment paper, and let rise in a warm place until they rise 1/2 inch above cups, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer sticky buns to the oven, placing a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any drips. Rotate the pans between the shelves to ensure even baking, until buns are dark golden brown, about 40 minutes.
Remove the pans from the oven, and immediately turn buns out onto a second parchment-covered cookie sheet. Replace any pecan halves that fell off buns when turning them out. Place the cookie sheet on a wire rack to cool.