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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
As I sit on my couch feeling like death, I really don’t have the urge to bake.  I know, right? I would have thought it was impossible two days ago.  I don’t want to infect others, so I decided to take a break until this whole flu thing blows over.  I don’t exactly have an appetite, either.  Perhaps if I had this yummy cinnamon pull-apart bread; it might just change my mind. 

I made this recipe in January and still can’t stop thinking about it-I need to make it again soon.  As I have already confessed my love for anything with cinnamon and sugar in my post about doughnuts, I really shouldn't go on any longer.  I want to caution you- this bread does not last long. It’s best when fresh out of the oven while it’s still warm and gooey.  This recipe would be great for any special occasion, it looks impressive and tastes even better.  There is a lovely step by step tutorial from Joy the Baker that helps you visualize how to make this accordion-styled bread.  Next time I make this I will take pictures of the step by step process and update this post. But in the meantime-enjoy!!

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

For the Dough
2 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (equivalent to 1 envelope)
½ teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
¼ cup water
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until brown

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Set aside.

Whisk together the eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt together the milk and butter until just melted. Remove from heat and add water and vanilla. Stand until mixture reads 115-125 degrees F.

Add the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula. Add the eggs and stir until incorporated. The eggs will feel soupy and it will seem like the mixture isn’t going to come together-keep stirring. Add the remaining ¾ cup flour and stir with a spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be sticky-that’s just right.

Place the dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towl. 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 for use in the morning. If you’re using this method-let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes following the roll-out directions below.

While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling. Set aside. Melt the butter until browned. Set aside. Grease and flour a 9X5X3 inch loaf pan.  Set aside.

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 to 12 inches tall X 20 inches long, or as large as it will go if unable to get that size. Use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter to all of the dough. Sprinkle all of  the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Slice the dough into six equal strips (vertically). Stack the strips on top of one another and slice stacks into six equal slices once again. You will 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 to double in a warm place for 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Place a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is a dark, golden brown to ensure the centre is cooked as well.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges on the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto a clean board. Place a cake stand or plate on top of the upside down loaf, and carefully invert it so it’s the right side up.

 Source: Joy the Baker

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