THEN I went to the grocery store and bought things I've never bought before cough*marshmallow fluff*cough, after which I came home, ate lunch, and made bread.
No, I didn't use my sourdough starter. But I did use cinnamon-sugar. And butter. Plenty of butter.
So, here's the thing. This Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread? Well, it didn't look so pretty. But it tasted so so good. I probably shouldn't have jammed so many of the square of dough in there because as they expanded they sort of snaked around the loaf pan instead of staying in a nice neat line.
See? What a mess. But here's the lesson- just because something doesn't come out perfectly, doesn't mean it's a complete failure (something it's taken me my whole life to learn). I mean, how can this much yeasty, buttery, cinnamon-sugary dough be bad?
I don't know what was better, the crunchy sugary top, or the gooey sweet bottom. Wait! I have it. It's dipping the crunchy top in the leftover gooey caramel in the loaf pan. Ugh, genius.
Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
Yield: one loaf
For the dough:
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp bread flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (one envelope)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
For the filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1. In a small sauce pot, combine the butter and milk over medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and add the water and vanilla extract. Let cool to 115-125 degrees F.
2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Add the warm milk mixture and mix just until the dough starts to come together. Add the eggs and 3/4 cup flour. With the dough hook, mix the dough on low speed until it is cohesive and a bit sticky, about 2 minutes.
3. Transfer the dough to a large well oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Place in a warm spot and let rise for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
4. Punch down the dough and turn onto a floured board. Add the last remaining 2 Tbsp of flour and knead into the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest while you prepare the filling. Mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and melt the butter in a small bowl (I microwaved it for 30 seconds). Grease a 9x5'' loaf pan with butter and flour or non-stick cooking spray.
5. Roll out your dough into a large rectangle, approximately 12x20''. Brush the melted butter over dough so it is covered completely. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough. Use all of it!
6. Cut the dough width-wise into 6 equal strips (so you'll have short strips instead of long ones).
Stack all the strips on top of one another.
Cut into 6 equal slices again.
Pick up each little dough square package and place them in the prepared loaf pan, cut side up.
7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the loaf pan in a warm place and cover with a greased piece of plastic wrap. Let the dough rise another 30-40 minutes.
8. Bake the loaf for 30-35 minutes, until the top edges are medium brown and the butter bubbles around the slices. Allow to cool 20-30 minutes and then unmold. Serve warm or room temperature.
- I chose to use bread flour because I have an abundance of it, but you can use all-purpose instead.
- Discard any squares of dough that don't fit comfortably in the loaf pan to avoid it expanding and mis-shaping (I probably should have left out at least 4).
- The top of the bread will cook much faster than the center so don't be afraid to allow it to get a nice deep brown. You can cover it in foil and continue to bake even longer if the center still seems raw.