Joy the Baker

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

March 7, 2011

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I’m sorry.  I know it’s Monday morning and you probably came here for some pretty pictures of food that you could glance at, and then move on with your day… and here I go thrusting warm, soft cinnamon sugar bread in your face.

It’s not fair.  I know it’s not fair.  I know that now you’re craving cinnamon rolls, and cream cheese frosting and chili fries and hot dogs.  I am too… and I already ate half of this warm bread.

You don’t deserve this sort of torture.

This bread hits all the comfort spots in my soul.  It’s yeasty and soft.  It’s filled with cinnamon and sugar.  AND!  You pull it apart in sheets.  And you eat it… all.  Eat it all.  Make this.  Make it and eat it all.  Make it and eat it all all all all all… then the torture will be done.

I’m sorry and you’re welcome and I love you.

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Let’s start at the beginning.  We’re making a yeasted dough, rolling it out flat, covering it in butter, cinnamon and sugar, and slicing it into little squares.  The squares are then stacked into a loaf pan and baked.

I did this all without the use of a stand mixer and dough hook.  I stirred and kneaded by hand… it was way easy.

This dough can be made and left to rise , then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning.  The cold dough is a bit easier to roll out than room temperature dough… but I made this recipe without chilling the dough overnight, and I had success.

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This is the dough just before it’s left to rise.  It looks a little wet, right?  Yea… this is a bit of a sticky dough.  Try to resist loading the dough up with a ton of flour… it should be sticky.

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After the dough has rested and risen for an hour, I knead it in a few tablespoons of flour.  It’s soft, and no longer sticky… and just a little pillow of heaven.

This is the part in the bread process where you can wrap the dough and place it in the fridge to rest overnight.  Once you’re ready to work with it, let the dough sit on the counter for about 30 minutes before rolling out.

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I worked with my dough right away.  I rolled it 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long.  Then I slathered it with browned butter, cinnamon, and sugar.

I can’t even deal.

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I sliced the dough, vertically, into six long strips.  I stacked em.  I sliced em into six little stacks of dough squares.  I drooled a little.

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This is the dough stacked into a greased and floured 9×5-inch loaf pan… then I prayed for the patience to wait for this dough to rise again.

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After 30 minutes in the oven… oh man…. bread heaven.

I carefully took the bread out of the pan while still warm.  It sunk and oozed just a bit, but it was so delicious warm.  Incredible.  Warm pull-apart yeasty sugar dough.  I don’t know what other words you want me to say.

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Makes: one 9x5x3-inch loaf

Recipe adapted from HungryGirlPorVida

Print this Recipe!

For the Dough:

3  cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 ounces unsalted butter

1/3 cup whole milk

1/4 cup water

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

2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned

**This is the original recipe I tested and use.  Some bakers have found that the dough doesn’t rise, because the yeast is not first activated in warm water.  As a fail-safe, feel free to activate your yeast first.  To activate yeast, whisk yeast into 3 tablespoons of warm water.  The water should be between 105 and 115 degrees F.  Add a pinch of granulated sugar and allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is foamy and frothy.  Your yeast is ready to go!  If the mixture does not foam and froth, toss the yeast and try again with another package of yeast.  Add the activated yeast when you combine the wet and dry ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl (I used just the bowl of my stand mixer) whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted.  Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract.  Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F.

Pour the milk 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.  That’s just right.

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 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.

While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling.  Set aside.  Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned.  Set aside.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch  loaf pan.  Set that aside too.

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.  Seriously?  Just go for it.

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.

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.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.   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.

I think this bread is best served the day it’s made, but it can also we wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.


1,698 Comments Add A Comment

  • Oh Joy, I’ve been busy and haven’t read your posts in a while, but this bread definitely got my attention, and I have to say I have missed your posts. I promise I won’t be too busy to read anymore :) And of course I will try this bread very very soon!

  • This looks ridiculously good. Thanks for the step by step photos! I have to make this next weekend fo realz.

  • Hooray for not using a standing mixer! I never do, mostly because I don’t own one…or have the money to buy one and it’s definitely the superior way to go about bread-making. Hand-kneading for the win (I initially typed that as ‘wine’…).

  • i’ve never actually heard of or seen pull apart bread! it looks truly amazing and like a LOT of fun to make :)

  • (Heart!) I will be making these bad boys this week for sure. My friends will love me for sharing. Thank YOU for sharing!!

  • oh. my. gosh.

  • My old jewish grandmother used to make something very similar called ‘babka’, naturally I took the first opportunity I could to learn how to make it. The only difference I can see is that I’ve always rolled two sheets of dough into long sausages and then twisted them together to bake them. Also, the darker the sugar for the filling, the better.

  • everything about the post is gorgeous. lately your photos in general have been insane. :)
    as far as this recipe?
    i am a sweet monster so i limit my sweet baking to very special things – this pretty much qualifies. plus when i was little my mom used to make toast with butter and then spread cinnamon sugar over the top – so this is double comfort food for me! -thanks joy!

  • love seeing new twists on old favs. Makes me think of cinnamon toast crunch…only with more butter and… homemade of course! :)
    love,
    cathy b.

  • I will definitly torture myself next week end!!!!

  • mmm, tasty.
    what purpose do the eggs serve? how would it go if i left them out?

  • You’re right! You TEASE on a Monday morning! This looks just heavenly…definitely Saturday morning-worthy. It reminds me of the cinnamon-sugar Monkey Bread my mom used to make when I was younger :)

  • I’m supposed to present at our weekly meeting at my work this week, and I was trying to think of some delicious treat to bring with me. I think you’ve just provided the perfect option :)

  • Well I was going to cut down on calories and start the dreaded life of learning how to eat to live, not live to eat. But as Scarlett said from “Gone with the Wind” Tomorrow is another day. I’ll start tomorrow. Paulette

  • Wow this looks amazing! I really wish I had some of this bread right now for breakfast. Love your photos and looks delicious!

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