I have been eyeing on these gorgeous looking pull-apart breads across food blogs for a while now. There was no question about the taste… Hello?! Warm yeasty dough with sugar and cinnamon, what else you need? But the look was also phenomenal! I really liked how it looked in the loaf pan before baking and also later. I had to try!
Ohh man! This is a recipe for a happy fat a**. I’ve gobbled half of the loaf in no time! Then I remembered an experiment about happiness that I’ve read in an article. Subjects are asked to take a picture of themselves and surrounding when they feel happy. When researchers analyze the pictures they see that most of the happy times are pictured outside with lots of sunshine.
So I’ve been thinking if I make such a happiness diary for sure there would be a lot of food in those pictures… with sunshine or not! So you do the same- take a picture each time you’re happy! I think this would make you recognize and appreciate happiness and the things you love. Isn’t it all about awareness? Also, you can send me the pictures and I can run my own experiment!
So, I can double my P90x schedule if you want but let me eat the other half first!!
Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
(adapted from HungryGirlPorVida)
(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
1- In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside.
2- Whisk together eggs and set aside.
3- 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.
4- 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 might look sticky but don’t be temptemd to add more flour.
5- 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.)
6- While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling. Set aside. Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned- until white parts are separated from brown liquid and a nutty smell appears; watch carefully so that it does not burn. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
7- 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.
8- 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.
9- 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.
10- See pictures below. 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.
11) 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.
12) 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.
It is best to eat this bread the day it’s made, but it can also we wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days. You can rewarm before eating if you want.