Combine milk and water and heat in the microwave until it reaches a temperature between 105-115F (40-46C). Be sure to stir before checking the temperature as sometimes the microwave heats unevenly.
Pour warmed milk/water into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle yeast and a pinch (about 1 teaspoon) of granulated sugar over the yeast. Stir and allow to sit for about 5-10 minutes or until yeast is foamy (if your yeast does not foam it is likely dead and you will need to start over).
Once yeast is foamy, add ⅓ cup sugar, melted butter, eggs, salt, and 2 cups (250g) of flour. Stir well until ingredients are well-combined.
Gradually add additional flour (this can be done by hand or with stand mixer and dough hook attachment on low-speed) until dough clings to itself and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Dough should be slightly tacky to the touch, but not so sticky that it can’t be handled. If making by hand, transfer to a clean, lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic (or about 5 minutes with dough hook on low speed in stand mixer).
Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turn the dough to coat with oil, cover bowl, and allow it to rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size (about 1-2 hours).
Once dough has nearly finished rising, prepare your glaze and filling.
Sticky Bun Topping:
Combine butter, cream, syrup, brown sugar, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir often until butter is melted and mixture is bubbling. Allow mixture to bubble for 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour into lightly buttered 9x13 baking dish . Sprinkle pecans evenly over syrup mixture. Set aside and prepare filling.
Prepare topping by whisking together brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small dish. Your butter will need to be soft enough to easily spread, so pop it in the microwave for a few seconds if it’s still firm at room temperature. Set aside these aside separately as well.
Once dough has risen, gently punch down and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll with a rolling pin into a 10x20” rectangle.
Spread softened butter evenly over the surface, leaving about ½” of the perimeter untouched, and sprinkle the butter evenly with brown sugar mixture. Starting with one 20” long side, roll dough into a tight roll.
Cut into 12 even slices and place cut-side down into prepared baking dish over the syrup/pecans, spacing evenly. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise again for 30 minutes (they’ll increase in size about 50%). Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350F (175C).
Once sticky buns have risen again and oven is preheated, remove towel and bake on 350F (175C) for 30 minutes or until buns are baked through. After baking, immediately and carefully invert onto a heatproof serving tray (turn the pan away from you when inverting rather than toward yourself, in case you drop it or spill any topping you won't get it on yourself). Allow to cool for 20 minutes then serve and enjoy.
¹You may substitute instant yeast. To do this, combine yeast, sugar, salt, and half the flour and then add the warmed milk and water and stir well, then stir in butter, then eggs, then stir in remaining flour as needed.²Many sticky bun recipes use honey instead of maple syrup. You can substitute honey in equal amounts for the syrup, but I much prefer the taste as written.³I use a metal baking dish (I linked to mine in the "Recommended Equipment" section above the ingredients), if you use a glass baking dish it will likely take longer for the buns to bake all the way through.