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cinnamon-sugar pull-apart bread

April 20, 2011

I mean, how could this ever possibly end badly? It’s thin layers of soft, flaky, sweet bread separated by pockets of cinnamon-sugar made more complex, nuttier, and classier by browned butter and nutmeg. And to eat it, you get to pull apart those layers and peel off chunks of almost-candied sugar from the bottom of the pan.

Answer: It could never, ever end badly. In the weeks since I first saved this to my [morbidly obese] recipes folder, it’s shown up on some of my favorite blogs.

And with good reason. In addition to tasting awesome, it turns out pretty lovely-looking in its sloppy elegance every single time. And even I didn’t manage to mess it up.

Yup, it was delicious despite the fact that, after spreading the butter over the dough, I managed to shove a [glass] salt shaker off the table and shatter it. And by the time I’d gotten the vacuum, yelling at my very confused dog (not an unusual state of mind for her) not to come any closer from her tail-wagging spot in the living room, and cleaned up all the glass bits, the butter had congealed on the dough. Therefore, none of the sugar mixture really stuck to the dough itself and I wound up having to sprinkle about half of it over the top of the loaf before sticking it into the oven.

Also, it’s just as delicious four or five days later, microwaved for 20 seconds or so to its former warm glory. And yes, I’m ashamed of myself for not being able to polish off the whole loaf by myself immediately after it came out of the oven, too, but in my defense, I also had an utterly failed frittata and 1/4 of a birthday cake with which to contend that night.

Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed [I needed *a lot* more—probably 1/2 or 3/4 cup—for some reason, so no worries if it’s the same for you]
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1. To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Combine the butter and milk in a small saucepan [or the microwave] and heat just until the butter is melted. Set aside and let cool briefly, until the mixture registers 115-125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Add the milk mixture, water, vanilla, and eggs to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until a cohesive dough forms. Continue to knead until smooth and elastic, adding additional flour as needed 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and is tacky but not sticky. Knead about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat, and cover. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. (After the dough has doubled, it can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before proceeding.)
2. While the dough rises, add the butter to a small saucepan and melt until browned. Set aside. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl and mix well.
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate. Roll into a ball, cover with a clean towel, and let rest for 5 minutes.
4. Roll the dough out into an approximately 12-by-20-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the browned butter. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough in an even layer. (Use all of it! [If you have extra, sprinkle it over the assembled loaf before you put it in the oven.])
5. Lightly grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Slice the dough vertically into 6 even strips. Stack the strips on top of each other and cut again into 6 equal slices. Stack all the squares on top of each other and set into the prepared loaf pan. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place, 30-45 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Transfer the loaf to the oven and bake 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown. (If the top seems to be browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil at the end of baking.) [I ended up baking mine for probably around 40 minutes—I think it would’ve been fine at 35, but I was using a silicone pan that was bigger than the loaf and I could see that the sides were still a little squishy at that point.] Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan 20-30 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen and carefully turn the loaf out, transferring to a serving plate. Serve warm [or microwaved].

Source: Annie’s Eats


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