One of the great things about yeast doughs—aside from the fact that they’re way easier than they’re made out to be—is that they all seem to have multiple uses. My Kolache dough makes kickass Cinnamon Rolls, my Babka dough is really just a filled brioche, and my quickest sweet roll dough can be used for King Cake, Monkey Bread and these Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Aparts!Love a multitasker ❤ ❤ ❤ If you’ve never heard of pull-aparts, they’re basically a loaf of bread made of individual pieces layered with a filling (sweet or savory) and baked so that the whole can be pulled apart with your fingers instead of sliced with a knife.Achieving this is really simple. The process begins like you’re going to make cinnamon rolls. Make a dough, make a cinnamon-brown sugar filling. Roll that dough out and top it with the filling. Nothing you haven’t (probably) done before.Then, though, things get a little wacky. Instead of rolling the filled dough into a cylinder, it’s sliced into 36 squares, which are then piled into six stacks of six and arranged in a line(-ish thing) down the center of a loaf pan. The assembled loaf is allowed to rise for about an hour and then baked for 40 minutes, until deeply browned on top and cooked through in the center.Let your pull-aparts cool for 20 minutes or so before removing them from the pan. Put the loaf on a serving platter and then blow it a kiss goodbye because it’s going to be quite literally pulled apart in front of your eyes. And it will be glooooorious.I mean, it’s basically the center of a cinnamon roll’s swirl cut into squares and baked into a loaf shape so that it’s soft and gooey on the inside and crisp and brown on the outside and how could that be anything but glooooorious?
makes one 9×5” loaf
2 2/3-3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on the long sides for easy removal. Grease again. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and butter until hot to the touch, about 110F.
Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold milk mixture into dry ingredients , followed by beaten eggs. Add more all-purpose flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead 5-6 minutes before forming into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes (you may do this in a bowl, but I just do this on my surface).
Prepare the filling. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14×14-inch square. Drop filling over the dough by the spoonful. Brush exposed dough with melted butter, leaving a 1/4-inch border on all sides. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll floured rolling pin lightly over filling to adhere.
Use a pizza cutter or sharp chef’s knife to cut square in 6 strips. Then slice it in 6 strips in the opposite direction, resulting in 36 squares. Pile squares, filling-side-up, in stacks of 6 (you’ll have six stacks of six).
To assemble, take one stack and place in the pan with the plain side (the bottom of the stack) against one of the small ends of the pan. Place 4 more of the stacks in the same position against each other. Turn the remaining stack in the opposite direction so that its plain side (bottom of the stack) is against the remaining small end of the pan.
Cover pan with a clean, dry tea towel (not terrycloth) and let rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 60-90 minutes, until doubled in bulk. You know it’s ready when you poke it with your finger and it doesn’t “bounce back.”
Preheat oven to 350F. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until well-browned. If you are concerned about it being done in the center, a thermometer should register at 190F.
Let cool 15-20 minutes. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the pan to release, then use the parchment to lift the loaf onto a surface. Peel off parchment, set on a serving platter and enjoy.
Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Aparts are best served warm or room temperature on the day they are made. Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for up to 48 hours.