Monday, May 20, 2013

Kitchen Adventures; Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

I was home this weekend. I know I told you I was so excited about it, but I feel like I neglected to mention that this was not a "free weekend". I was not home, relaxing poolside, nose buried in horrible easy-reads where you hate all the characters but you keep reading because you just want to see how the dang thing ends. 

I was at a workshop - an AMAZING workshop, just so you know - but because it was an hour away and 4 hours long each day, it didn't exactly leave me with a lot of down time. On top of that, we decided to start cleaning out the garage this weekend so that we can tear everything down next weekend, and I was completely wiped out. 
I guess somewhere on Sunday afternoon I got a second wind because I decided that I was finally going to try my hand at cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread.

There are almost an annoying amount of steps in this recipe - mostly because it required some reading ahead. 
I have a similar problem with the America's Test Kitchen recipes. When it comes down to it, they're not that difficult, they just take a lot of explanation. 

And I don't know about you, but when I want to make a cake, I don't necessarily feel like reading a novel about cake making first.

I guess in that respect, this recipe was good because I had a lot of breaks. 

"Oh, I get to let it rise for another 30 minutes? Excellent, I can use that time to read the next part of this essay."

Something else kinda funny about this recipe is that you can use your standmixer bowl, but its all mixed with a spatula. 

Dude, next time I'm using the dough hook. I'll let you know if it screws everything up. 

Dough rolling out and covering with cinnamon sugar was kind of fun. 

Messy, but fun. 

And then I might have maybe considered eating it in this phase. It looks totally edible. Admit it. 

And I'm not exactly sure what happened, but I had a really hard time fitting all the squares into the pan. So, when I left it to rise, it was already exploding out of the top. 

Which meant when I baked it, it did this...

It looks pretty awesome though. Don't lie. The way the pieces pushed each other out of the way. It's like they're trying to get to the front of the line to get eaten first. One of them couldn't even wait until it was out of the oven. 

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
recipe very very slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

3  cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 oz butter
1/3 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 oz butter, melted, browned, and back to room temp

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat 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 until it has cooled a little.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix.  Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  WORDS OF JTB, "The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together.  Keep stirring." Add 3/4 cup of flour and stir   The mixture will be sticky.

Place the dough in a large,  greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel.  Allow to rest until about doubled in size. Should be about 1 hour.  

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, and set aside.  Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned.  Set aside and allow to cool.  Grease a 9x5  loaf pan. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.  Then roll the dough out.  Try and get it to about 20" x 12".  Brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough.  Cover evenly with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture. It's going to seem like too much, but it's really not. 

Slice the dough vertically, into six equal strips. I used a pizza cutter. It worked great, but I somehow only got 5 strips. Shrug.  Stack the strips on top of one another and cut the stack into six equal slices once again.  Pizza cutter wouldn't cut it here. Then you'll have 6 stacks of 6. I had 7 stacks of 5, but whatever. It worked.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan  Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan leave it along for 30 to 45 minutes. 

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.  

After you take it out, let it rest for a few minutes (as long as your patience allows, 20 minutes is good), then carefully go around the edge of the pan with a butter knife, and gently turn the loaf out onto a clean board, flip it over. 

Then break off pieces and devour to your heart's content. 

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