Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Apart Bread


I've been eyeing this cinnamon-sugar pull apart bread recipe for a long time but kept holding out for a special occasion. When my husband finished up a long rotation, it was not only a reason to make homemade cheese-its but also a great excuse to finally make this pull-apart bread.  It also sounded like an ideal recipe because he just so happens to love the cinnamon-sugar combination (but who doesn't?).

Part of the reason I was saving this recipe for a special occasion was because it's definitely a treat breakfast (sugar + butter + flour). Additionally, there are several steps involved in making the bread.  None are hard, but, typical of any yeast bread recipe, two separate rises are needed.  However, I loved that I could prep part of the recipe the day before, refrigerate the dough overnight, and then finish the recipe the next morning.

This bread was everything I had expected. It was incredibly soft and delicious and I think it tasted like the inside of a cinnamon roll.  The top of the bread does get a little crunchy and I loved the texture contrast.  Also, it's just fun to eat with your fingers, too.  We ate this for breakfast for 3 mornings straight (warmed slightly in the microwave). 

We've already decided this cinnamon-sugar pull-apart bread will be our new Christmas morning breakfast tradition!

Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
Taken from: Joy the Baker (she also has some pictures of how to make the recipe so feel free to click on the link)
  • 3  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup warm water (should be between 100-110 degrees F)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Filling:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  1. To activate yeast, whisk yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl, then add the warm water. Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is foamy and frothy.  
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted.  Remove from the heat and add vanilla extract.  Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F.
  4. Pour the milk mixture and activated yeast mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula.  Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together.  Keep stirring.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes.  The mixture will be sticky.  Add remaining 1/4 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, only if needed.  
  5. Place the dough is a large greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  *The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning.  If you’re using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 15-30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.
  6. While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling.  Set aside.  Melt 4 tablespoons of butter.  Set aside.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.  Set that aside too.
  7. Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out.  The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long.  If you can’t get the dough to 20-inches long… that’s okay.  Just roll it as large as the dough will go.  Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough.  Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.  It might seem like a lot of sugar but it's amazing that way.
  8. Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips.  Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again.  You’ll have six stacks of six squares.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book.  Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
  9. While dough is rising, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.  The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw.  A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.
  10. Remove from the oven.  The instructions say to rest for 20-30 minutes but let's be honest, I didn't do that. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto a clean board.  Place a cake stand or cake plate on top of the  upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up.  Serve warm with coffee or tea.
  11. I think this bread is best served the day it’s made, but it can also be wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to 2-3 days (we just reheated parts on low heat in the microwave and enjoyed this for breakfast for 3 days).


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