Monday, April 25, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread

Okay, wow. This is why I don't usually make bread-type things unless I am making it for some specific occasion. I just realized I said "this is why" as if you already know what I'm talking about. So what am I babbling about?

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread by freshfromthe.com

The length of time it takes to make said bread. Said bread. It's a rhyme. Don't mind me. I'm clearly losing my mind. I blame being on my fifth week of sharing a conference room as an office with a bunch of other people, and finding out that my actual space isn't going to be much better. Oh goody goody gumdrops.

I digress. The bread. Back to the bread.

This bread takes a while to make. Facts is facts, yo. But, I am assured, that it was tasty and worth the effort. The fact that it was nearly devoured by an Easter brunch crowd should speak to its merits, yes? Yes. However, I think it would've been tastier with some kind of frosting, sort of like a bread version of cinnamon rolls. But I didn't have time to make some by the time the bread itself was done. And I didn't think about it until that point, naturally. Oh well!

Without further ado...

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread

Makes: one 9x5x3-inch loaf
For the Dough:
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons 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

In a large mixing bowl 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, to cool down a little.

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.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes.  The mixture will be sticky. 

Place the dough in 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.  

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. 

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.

In pictures:

 Flour and other sundry dry ingredients. Like yeast and stuff.

Melting together the butter and milk.

Mix the two together, and what do you get? Dough-looking stuff.

With the eggs mixed in. Yellow yellow hello hello.

With the last 3/4 cup of flour added in. It's sticky. That's how it's supposed to be.

Wrap it in plastic and pop a kitchen towel on top. It doesn't have to be a dorky one like mine. But also, a tip. If you don't have a warm spot to put it, I turned my oven on low and set it on top. Worked great.

Meanwhile, you will make this cinnamon-sugar stuff.

About an hour later. Look! It rose!

After kneading in a couple more tablespoons of flour. Use your hands, please. It will give you a sense of accomplishment.

Mine is not quite the right length and size, but as I don't actually have a rolling pin, this is the best I could do. How did I roll it if I didn't have a rolling pin? I used a salt container and wrapped it in parchment.

This is too much cinnamon-sugar. Maybe if I had gotten it to the actual right size, it would not have been way too much like this.

The strips all stacked on top of each other. Look at all of that extra cinnamon-sugar!

After you cut the long slices into six stacks, put them in the pan like so.

After you've had to wait another interminable amount of time with it covered with your handy dandy dorky kitchen towel, the dough should've risen, like so.

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread by freshfromthe.com
Out of the oven! Now you have to let it rest some more!

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread by freshfromthe.com
Wa-bam!

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread by freshfromthe.com
Ka-pow!

My bread may or may not have split down the middle when I was taking it out. But guess what! It's okay, because hey, it's a pull-apart bread. It's supposed to come apart. Maybe not when you first take it out. But still. Shh.

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