Monday, January 5, 2015

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

  • 2 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp. (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 oz. unsalted butter, melted until browned
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • if using the lemon-orange sugar filling, add some lemon juice, starting with 1 tbsp. and adding more until desired tartness
  1. In large mixing bowl (I used the bowl of my stand mixer), whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and set aside.
  3. In small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from heat; add water and vanilla extract. Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until mixture registers 115-125 degrees F.
  4. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and mix with a spatula.
  5. Add eggs one at a time; stirring by hand mixture until egg is incorporated into batter. The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and eggs are never going to come together. Keep stirring, or if you are using a stand mixer, use dough hook at this point.
  6. Add the remaining 3/4 cup flour and mix until incorporated. The mixture will be sticky.
  7. Place the dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Deflate the dough. At this point, you can refrigerate the dough overnight and resume in the morning, or you can tackle the dough now.
  8. While the dough rises, whisk together ingredients for cinnamon sugar filling. Set aside. If you are using the lemon or orange sugar filling, rub sugar with the zest until incorporated; set aside.
  9. Melt 4 tbsp. butter until browned; set aside.
  10. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; set aside.
  11. Deflate the risen dough. Gently knead about 1-2 tbsp. of flour into the dough, until smooth and no longer sticky. Cover with a towel and let rest for 5 minutes.
  12. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a 12×20-inch rectangle…or close to this.
  13. Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough. Then sprinkle with the filling mixture.
  14. Slice the dough vertically into six equal-sized strips (12×4-inch strips). Stack the strips on top of one another, then slice the stack into six equal slices again. You’ll have six stacks of six squares. And it’s okay if they aren’t all the same size! That’s part of the charm of the bread creation.
  15. Now layer the dough squares into a lightly greased loaf pan, like a loaf of bread. Loosely cover the pan with place plastic wrap, and place pan in a warm spot for 30-45 minutes until the dough doubles in size. If you poke the dough and the indentation remains, it is ready to bake.
  16. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Bake bread for 30-35 minutes until top is golden brown (if not a dark golden brown, the inside may be undercooked).
  17. Remove from oven and allow to rest 20-30 minutes (try to be patient!). Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread, then invert onto a plate. Carefully invert again so it is right side up.
  18. If using glaze, mix ingredients for glaze, then pour over the bread while it is still warm, about 5-10 minutes after removing from the oven and before releasing from loaf pan.

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