Lemon Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread {splurge}

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I don't even know where to start.

For one, I solely ate half of this loaf within an hour of it out of the oven.

For two, time stopped while this was happening.

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This recipe is everything and more I look for in a {splurge} dish.

It smells like a bakeshop: yeasty, sugary, cinnnamon-y.  And the lemon zest just permeates it all.

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The pull-apart aspect of this dish is, also, extremely satisfying.

Just your thumb and index finger.  Grab the golden-brown, sugar-carmelized top and peel away.

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Then, in my case, repeat over and over.

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This takes some time since it needs to rise twice, but it really isn't a difficult dish.  Thank you notes can go in the comments section.

INGREDIENTS: (makes 1, 9x5 loaf pan)

Recipe adapted from epicurious.com

For the dough:

  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice (use fresh lemons/zest them first)
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (plus more if needed)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 ¼ t. instant yeast
  • ½ t. salt
  • 2 large eggs

For the filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 t. ground cinnamon
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

-Preheat oven to 350° F.
-Add the butter and milk to a small saucepan and heat just until the butter is completely melted. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice, water and vanilla to the pan. Let the mixture cool until it registers about 115-120 F on a thermometer.
-In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
-Add eggs to the mixer bowl and turn mixer to low.
-Stream milk mixture into the mixer bowl and continue to beat until dough comes together.
-Add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and knead until dough clears the sides of the bowl. You want the dough tacky, but not so sticky that you can't handle it.
-Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead briefly then form dough into a ball.
-Put dough in a sprayed bowl and cover with plastic wrap; set aside in a warm place. Let rise about 1 hour.

-Make the filling by whisking the sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest in a small bowl.
-Add butter to a small saucepan and melt over medium-low heat.
-Whisk the melted butter into sugar-lemon zest mixture and thoroughly combine; set aside.

-Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Press to deflate then let rest for 5 minutes.
-Roll dough into a rectangle about 12x20 inches (the dough will be quite thin).
-Evenly sprinkle dough with the sugar filling mixture.
-Use a knife to slice dough rectangle vertically into six equal strips.
-Stack the strips on top of one another and again cut into four equal stacks.
-Spray a 9x5 loaf pan. Layer dough squares on top of one another and transfer to the prepared pan, putting on their sides (like a row of dominos).
-Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for 30-45 minutes, or until dough is puffy.
-Bake the loaf for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. If the top starts to brown too much, you can tent it with aluminum foil.
-Let cool for about 20 minutes and preferably serve warm.

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