Hi. Did you miss me? Sorry for the absence there. I spent Labor Day weekend up on my garage, replacing the roof. The entire weekend. Along with my Father in Law, Dad, and brothers. Poor guys, they didn’t know what they were guilt tripped into volunteered for. But a big thank you to them, because without their help I’d probably still be up there hammering in shingles!
The roof must have been at least 30 years old, if not older, and was leaking like a sieve when it rained, so this was kind of urgent. I swear I didn’t replace the roof just to protect that vintage 1940’s fridge I recently got (but it may have been partly responsible!).
I suppose I could have hired a professional to replace it (like I did the roof on the house a few years ago) but besides wanting to save money, it feels good to do the work yourself. I redid Baby Boy’s room before he was born (thanks again to my Father in Law, what a good man). It’s quite satisfying putting hammer to nail and walking away knowing you did that. Kind of like baking or cooking, only longer lasting (though not as tasty).
I was so beat up from the roofing work, what with my out of shape, desk jockey body, that I didn’t want to cook or bake all week. I just wasn’t inspired. So easy cheesy meals it was. But come the weekend I was feeling better, and Rachel was feeling hungry for some cinnamon and sugar goodness. And because I’m such a good husband, I happily obliged when my usually not excited about food pregnant wife asked for this delicious looking recipe from Brown Eyed Baker.
This cinnamon sugar pull apart bread takes a little bit of time to prepare, definitely not something you can just whip up for breakfast. I made the dough on Saturday night and after it rose I put it in the fridge for Sunday morning. I then let it sit out for about an hour to let it come to room temperature before continuing on with the recipe.
Now, the recipe says to let the cinnamon sugar pull apart bread to sit and cool before digging in and eating. Hah. Yea right. This thing lasted all of 5 minutes out of the oven before it was cut into. And I think that’s just fine, as it was fantastic nice and hot right out of the oven. We destroyed half the loaf before sealing it in a ziploc bag and taking it to my parents’ house, lest we eat the whole thing ourselves.
This definitely is one of those “special treats”. It’s kind of got a lot of sugar and butter going on. But after such a tough previous weekend I said the heck with it, and went for it. You should go for it too, even if you don’t replace a roof first. 🙂
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
In a mixing bowl 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. 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.
Place the dough in 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.