Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
Yield: One 9x5-inch loaf
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
For the Dough:
2¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
¼ cup granulated sugar
2¼ teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
½ teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
¼ cup water
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
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 ¾ cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be sticky. That’s just right.
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 and cinnamon for the filling. Set aside. Melt 2 ounces of butter in a saucepan until browned. Set aside. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Set that aside too.
7. Deflate the risen dough and knead the remaining 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. Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough. Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
8. 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.
9. Preheat oven 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.
10. 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. Serve warm with coffee or tea.
11. The bread is best served the day it’s made, but it can also we wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.
(Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker)