It’s the perfect time of year for the warm, comforting feeling that the smell of cinnamon provides… Having recently remodeled the kitchen, it was due time to take those fancy new counters for a whirl. While this bread is at least medium labor-intensive, it is totally worth it.
Think cinnamon roll, in loaf form. Every bite is like biting into the inside of a cinnamon roll. And let’s face it, the middle is the best part of a cinnamon roll. Who needs that dry outside? The only thing I would do is add a cinnamon roll glaze to drizzle over the top, or to dip the slices in. Pure cinnamon bliss.
Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread
For the dough:
- 2¾ C all-purpose flour
- ¼ C sugar
- 2¼ tsp instant (rapid rise) yeast
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/3 C milk
- ¼ C water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
For the filling:
- 4 Tbs unsalted butter
- 1 C sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook.
- Combine the butter and milk in a small saucepan (or microwave) and heat just until the butter is melted. Set aside and let cool briefly, until the mixture registers 115-125˚ F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Add the milk mixture, water, vanilla and eggs to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until a cohesive dough forms. Continue to knead until smooth and elastic, adding additional flour as needed 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and is tacky but not sticky. Knead about 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and cover. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. *
- While the dough rises, add the butter to a small saucepan and melt until browned. Set aside.
- Combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl and mix well.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate. Roll into a ball, cover with a clean towel and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Roll the dough out into an approximately 12 x 20-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the browned butter (don’t be stingy). Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough in an even layer. Dump it all on there, a lot will fall off while you’re working anyway.
- Lightly grease (and/or line with parchment) a loaf pan. Slice the dough vertically into 6 even strips. Stack the strips on top of each other and again cut again into 6 equal-ish slices. Stack all the squares on top of each other and set into the prepared loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place, 30-45 minutes.
- While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Transfer the loaf to the oven and bake 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown. (If the top seems to be browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil at the end of baking.) Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan 20-30 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen and carefully turn the loaf out. This bread is best served warm!
*After its first rise, the dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight. Let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding
*I was a little stingy on the butter, which meant a lot of my cinnamon fell off- so don’t worry about it. The extra little bit of butter isn’t going to kill you, and it’s totally worth more ooey-gooey deliciousness.
*I might add brown sugar to the filling next time, since I love to put it in my cinnamon rolls – it lends a slightly more complex flavor and texture to the filling.
[Adapted from Annie’s Eats]