November 14, 2011

Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

I really don't like recipes.  Yes, they provide a good outline for suggested proportions and such, but really?  Don't follow recipes.  Tweak them to your heart's content.  

This was one such recipe. I altered it significantly from the original and tried to remember those alterations for the recipe below.   The picture was pretty, and I like cinnamon rolls.  So I decided to try it.  Success.  And now, in a fantastic show of irony, check out this amazing recipe (!) paired with mediocre pictures.

Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Apart Bread... aka - Heaven on Earth

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread from JoytheBaker
For the Dough:
2 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
½ teaspoon salt
2 ounces butter
1/3 cup milk
¼ cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 ounces butter, melted until browned

In a large mixing bowl (I used just the bowl of my stand mixer) 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, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F.

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 for about 2 minutes.  The mixture will be sticky.  .

Place the dough is a large, greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  *I let the dough rise until doubled in size, then refrigerated it 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.

While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon  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.  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.  I used a handy-dandy pastry cutter.  Worked like a dream. 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.  

Above all, enjoy!!!

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