This apple cinnamon sugar pull apart bread is made completely from scratch and tastes like apple pie! It comes together quickly and would the perfect fall weekend or holiday breakfast. Feel free to drizzle it with a glaze, but it’s absolutely delicious as-is!
Are you ready for a fantastic, melt-in-your-mouth, tastes-exactly-like-fall recipe?
Yes? Awesome, let’s go!
The weather absolutely refuses to cool down here, with highs still in the mid-70s, but I’m over it and I’m all-in on everything fall right now, cool temperatures or not. I can’t think of a more perfect fall recipe than the one I’m about to share with you – this apple cinnamon sugar pull apart bread is absolutely everything that fall mornings should be… warm, cozy, and good for your soul.
I first made a version of this bread over six years ago after seeing it on Joy the Baker; it was a simple cinnamon sugar pull apart bread, and while it was delicious, I thought that the addition of apple would send it toppling over the edge, and my gosh was I right. It absolutely MAKES this bread and it’s a super simple addition – all you need to do is peel and chop up an apple!
While it may look intimidating, this is a straightforward recipe that you’ll have no trouble executing.
The dough mixes together really easily (no need for a stand mixture, just use a bowl and spatula!) and is super forgiving. After its first rise, it gets rolled out, brushed with butter and covered in an apple/cinnamon/sugar mixture. The dough is sliced into tons of squares and rectangles, then stacked up and loaded into the loaf pan.
One last rise, then into the oven it goes!
You want it to bake up really deep golden brown to ensure it’s baked the whole way through (an instant read thermometer is great for knowing exactly!), but don’t fear those super dark spots on top. The truth? They taste like pie crust. Seriously. And at the bottom of the bread is a pool of cinnamon-sugar apple syrup that tastes like apple pie filling.
What kind of apple should you use? Your favorite! With so many people going apple picking right now, whatever you have in excess or that you particularly love would be perfect. I used honeycrisp because they’ve been on sale and they are my absolute favorite to eat, so I’m keeping them stocked up in the house.
I could NOT get enough of this loaf of bread; totally addicting!
I chose not to glaze it with anything, and I honestly still don’t think it needs anything, but if you’d like to add one, you could do a simple powdered sugar glaze, a cream cheese glaze, something with maple, or even the glaze from my apple fritter doughnuts, especially if you plan to serve it warm.
Now I challenge you not to keep pulling off piece after piece until there are only crumbs left, because I can’t possibly be the only person who does that, can I?
Prepare the Dough: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and set aside.
Place the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, and heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter has just melted. Remove from the heat and add the water and vanilla extract. Let mixture stand until it registers 115 to 125 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.
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 ¾ cup of the remaining flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture will come together but be slightly sticky.
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. (Make Ahead!>> 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.)
Prepare the Filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon, then stir in the chopped apple until evenly coated. Set aside.
Assemble the Bread: 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 into a 12 x 20-inch rectangle. Brush the melted butter across all of the dough. Spread the apple/cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly all over the dough (if there is any accumulated juices, drizzle that over the dough too).
Slice the dough (I use a pizza cutter!) into six equal-sized strips in both directions for a total of 36 squares/rectangles (they might not all be the same size/shape and that's okay). Create six stacks of six layers each. Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan cut-side up. (You can do them all in one direction or alternate them like I did.) Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes, or until almost doubled in size.
Bake the Bread: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover a sheet pan with foil and place on the lowest oven rack to catch any drips. Place the bread in the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is very golden brown, and an instant read thermometer placed into the center of the bread reads at least 190 degrees F. (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 remove to a cutting board or serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature. The bread is best served the day it’s made, but it can also we wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.