cinnamon pull apart bread

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I love long weekends.

Besides the fact that you have 3 days off in a row without having to take any vacation days, when you return to work, it's still only a short work week. We're only 4 days away from another weekend.

Long weekends also give you excuses to have parties on Sundays. Thanks to the geniuses over at CBC and NBC, our weekend hockey game was on noon. Right smack in the middle of our Sunday. Not my most favourable time to watch hockey but when life throws you a curve ball, you have a brunch party.

Brunch parties have to be my favourite. First off you get to eat breakfast foods in the middle of the day, I'm always a fan of that, you get to drink mimosas or caesers, or both whatever and you also get to eat things that are too ridiculous to eat everyday.

That is where cinnamon pull apart bread comes in. Sticky, gooey, chewy, sweet, warm, cinnamon breakfast bread goodness. If we didn't have people over, I probably would've just eaten that. On my own. No sharing.

brown butter flecks of deliciousness

Maybe it's a good thing we had a party, forced me to share.

My pants are tight enough.

Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread
[ from Joy the Baker ]

This bread is very simple to make, even the most novice baker can tackle this yeast dough. You don't need a stand mixer, everything is done by hand and the dough can be refrigerated overnight after the first rise. Which makes lazy Sundays even better since you're that much closer to warm, cinnamon love.

2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup white sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 ground nutmeg
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted until browned

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Set aside. Whisk eggs in a small bowl, set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat butter and milk over medium-low heat until butter has just melted. Remove from heat, add water and vanilla extract and let cool for a few minutes. Should be cool but still warm enough that you could burn yourself if you touch it. Learned this lesson the hard way.

Pour milk mixture over flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until flour is moistened. Add the eggs and stir until incorporated to the batter. Note: in the original recipe it says "eggs will feel soupy and it will feel like the dough and eggs will never come together", I didn't have that problem and my dough turned out fine. So if you do come across this problem, totally normal. Just keep stirring. Add remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir, as best you can, for 2 minutes. Finished dough will be extra sticky.

Turn out dough into another large, greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft free area until doubled in size, about 1 hour. After the dough has risen you can put it in the fridge overnight, just make sure you let it come to room temperature before trying to roll it out.

Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in medium sized bowl and grease a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan, set aside. Melt 1/4 cup butter until browned. Set that aside too. We need all that room for rolling.

Punch down your dough and turn out onto the counter. Knead in the last 2 tablespoons of flour. Dough should be smooth. Cover dough with kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.

After the rest, flour your work surface and roll out the dough into a rectangle, about 12-inches tall and 20-inches wide, I didn't bust out the ruler or anything, just make sure it's around that.

Brush all of the browned butter on the dough and then sprinkle all of the cinnamon sugar mixture on top. It's going to be a ridiculous amount of sugar and you're going to be thinking, this Jen, she's nuts. But trust me, do it.

Using a small knife or pizza cutter, cut dough vertically into 6 strips. Stack those strips on top of each other, cinnamon-sugar sides up. Cut the stack into 6 equal squares. You should have 6 stacks of 6 slices. Place those stacks into the loaf pan kind of like a flip book. It may get a little tight towards the end, just jam them in, it'll still look pretty. Cover loaf pan with a kitchen towel and let sit in a warm place for 35 to 45 minutes or until doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once the dough has doubled, place in oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is very golden brown and each piece looks as if it's going to explode out of the pan. Remove from oven and let sit for 20 minutes. Run a butter knife along the edges and invert on to a plate or cake stand. Serve warm to other hungry Canucks fans and tiny 13 month old girls with an appetite for sugar.