What is it about cinnamon and sugar that makes it such a heavenly mixture?
There was a church gathering at our house Sunday night and I provided the dessert, as always. As soon as my mom brought this pull-apart bread to the table, everyone dived in. The sweet cinnamon-y taste between thin layers of soft bread will win over anybody's heart. I made two loaves and when it was all gone, people kept asking for more, despite the fact that we had about one-third of a chocolate chip bundt cake left that a guest brought.
I know there is a lemon version of this bread, so I'm going to try that another time. I didn't use all of the cinnamon sugar mixture and it was fine, but if you like things sweet, then go for it. I also don't have a stand mixer with a dough attachment (or a stand mixer with a regular attachment for that matter), but I just used a fork to mix the dough together.
This time last year, I wouldn't have thought about making this. First of all, it involves yeast, something that I was so irrationally afraid of working with. Second, it's complicated. It involves rolling out dough and kneading and browning butter... Either I was lazy or I was just inexperienced with baking that such a long recipe seemed daunting (I'm gonna go with the latter). After a year of some fantastic adventures in the kitchen, I'm amazed at how much I've learned. Now, I look at a recipe like this and I am excited. I'm motivated to challenge myself and have fun. I've still got a lot to learn (especially about food photography), but I look forward to whatever experience I gain from it all. So happy birthday to you, food blog o' mine. And thanks to all the readers of this blog. It truly means a lot!
Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread [Makes 1 9x5 loaf]
From Annie's Eats
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
For the filling
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp 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 and heat just until the butter is melted. Set aside and let cool briefly, until the mixture registers 115-125F on an instant-read thermometer. Add the milk mixture, water, vanilla and eggs to the dry ingredients. 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 to 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once 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. Roll the dough out into an approximately 12x20-inch rectangle.
4. Brush the dough with the browned butter. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough in an even layer.
5. Lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Slice the dough vertically into 6 even strips. Stack the strips on top of each other and again 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 to 45 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 350F. Transfer the loaf to the oven and bake 30 to 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.) Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan 20 to 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.