I’m always looking for the next great breakfast recipe – and if it’s portable, it’s even better.  I know I just posted about this fabulous NY crumb cake: perfectly portable in and of itself, right?  However, while it pairs like peanut butter and jelly with a cup of Joe in the morning, I see crumb cake as the “can we stop by this afternoon?” sort of cake sort of cake.  But I digress. 

This cinnamon pull-apart bread is the sort of thing that makes you excited to get out of bed on a Saturday morning.  It’s butter, cinnamon, and sugar sandwiched between horizontally stacked pieces of yeasted bread.  Needless to say, it’s amazing.  And aside from being totally portable (cool, remove from pan, place on a plate, and wrap it up), you can whip up the dough the night before you need the bread and let it sit in the fridge overnight.  I love getting up early on a weekend morning and working with dough that’s ready to go – no fussing with measurements through bleary, sleepy eyes is always a plus! I ended up bringing this loaf to my girlfriend’s busy newborn- and toddler-filled house for breakfast along with a fruit salad a couple of weekends ago and it was a really nice way to catch up with a great friend.

Note: The instructions below may seem a little complicated as you read them so be sure to check out either Annie’s or Joy’s tutorials in case you need a visual!

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Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
source: Annie’s Eats and Joy the Baker as adapted from Hungry Girl por vida

For the Dough:
2¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
¼ cup granulated sugar
2¼ tsp  instant yeast
½ tsp  salt
4 tbsp  unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
¼ cup water
1 tsp  vanilla extract
2 large eggs

For the Filling:
4 tbsp  unsalted butter
1 cup 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 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 in bulk, about 1 hour.  (After the dough has doubled, it can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.  Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before proceeding.)

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 the dough into a ball, cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.

Roll the dough out into an approximately 12 x 20-inch rectangle then brush the dough with the browned butter.  Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough in an even layer.  (Don’t skimp here – use all of the mixture because you’ll lose a little as you move through the next couple of steps.)

Lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch 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 slices.  Stack all the squares on top of each other and set into the prepared loaf pan.  Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place, 30-45 minutes.

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, transferring to a serving plate.  Serve warm.

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