It’s Friday! Oh joy! This has been an exceptionally hectic week. I have cranked out numerous projects, played one recital already (with two more this weekend), learned how to write basic piano compositions, and produced an exciting (in my opinion) first draft of a paper on Jane Austen which is wittily titled “Everybody Has Their Level:” Blurring the Lines in Emma. With finals in less than a week, there is very little I wish to do except curl up in a ball and sleep.
Although that is not quite true. One other thing I wish to do is to troll the internet for recipes until my eyes fall out. Every time I need a study break, I just turn to the internet and start searching. By this point I have unearthed what seems like millions of recipes for cookies, cakes, pies, you name it. This is going to be a truly epic spring break.
But enough about that. There are more important things on my immediate agenda. Like extolling the numerous virtues of cinnamon-sugar pull-apart bread.
This bread and I go way back, although I only ever made it once. However, I discovered the recipe last year. I promptly went to the c-store and bought all the ingredients—before realizing that I couldn’t make it because 1. I did not have a bread pan, 2. I did not trust the oven in my building, and 3. School ate my soul.
But when I started this blog, I immediately knew that I wanted to make it. Cinnamon and sugar are two of life’s wonderful pairings—they may even usurp peanut butter and jelly. As soon as I settled down to make the bread, though, I got super nervous. It just looks so fancy and fancy-looking=scary to make. Right?
Not right. I know I keep saying this in all my posts—this is so easy to make! I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true. There are a lot of steps, it’s true, but none of them is very difficult at all. Also, because it looks all pretty and fancy, you can just pretend that it was ridiculously difficult to make and nobody will ever know (unless you give them the recipe).
When I brought this bread back to school, my suitemates immediately mobbed me and soon there was no more bread. On the bright side, it is so delicious that, as long as I keep threatening to withhold it from my friends, I am assured of their friendship. Just kidding. I do not blackmail people to be friends with me. But seriously, it’s that amazingly delicious—especially when it’s still warm.
Usually I would try to think of something funny/witty to say here, but after weeks of working really hard in all my classes and reading so much Jane Austen and Bridget Jones, all I can do is think in incomplete sentences and more or less blither on about how much I love narration and cinnamon, which are completely unrelated subjects.
Because nobody wants to listen to the ramblings of an exhausted music and English major, I shall simply proceed to the recipe.
Special equipment: 9x5x3 loaf pan
Cinnamon-sugar pull-apart bread, Or, a bread that will ensure you always have friends:
2 ¾ plus 2 tablespoons flour
¼ cup sugar
1 envelope yeast
½ teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
¼ cup water
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 ounces butter, melted until browned
- Mix together 2 cups flour and the rest of the dry ingredients. Set aside.
- Whisk together eggs. Set aside.
- Heat milk and butter on stove until butter has all melted. Remove from heat and add water and vanilla extract.
- Pour milk mixture into flour mixture and combine with spoon. Add the eggs and stir until combined. It takes a while for the eggs to incorporate and it really does seem like they won’t—but they will. Just be patient and keep stirring. Once they’re incorporated, add the ¾ cup of flour and combine for about 2 minutes. The dough will be very sticky, which is perfectly fine and indeed right.
- Put the dough in a large greased bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Set in a warm space and let double in size (takes about an hour). At this point, you can either carry on making the bread, or stick it in the refrigerator overnight. I put mine in the fridge. I may not have waited long enough after taking it out to roll it, because my dough was really hard to roll. So—if you decide to refrigerate it, make sure to let your dough warm up enough.
- For the filling: combine dry ingredients and set aside. Melt butter and set aside. Grease the loaf pan.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, take it out and knead in the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour. Cover it with a clean towel to rest for a few minutes.
- Then, on a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out until it’s about 20inx12in. Mine was not this big because, as I said, my dough was very stubborn.
- Brush the dough with the butter and sprinkle on the sugar mix. I ended up not using all the sugar—there was just so much! This may have been because my dough didn’t roll big enough, or maybe there’s just a ton of sugar in the filling. I really couldn’t say.
- Slice the dough into six strips. Stack these strips one on top of the other and cut into six roughly equal squares. Layer the squares vertically in the loaf pan. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Once the dough has doubled, bake it for 30-35 minutes. The top should get very golden-brown—since the middle will bake slower, if the top isn’t golden-brown, the middle may still be raw.
- After removing from the oven, let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. To take it out, just run a butter knife along the sides and tip onto a plate.
Are you hungry yet? I promise, this bread is worth your time. Plus, there’s a ton of downtime so you can do homework or watch TV or window shop online or something. And it’s ridiculously delicious and makes a wonderful snack, breakfast, dessert, dinner…whatever!
Also: there is a distinct possibility there will be a brief weekend update, as I just found a recipe for microwaveable peanut butter cake that I desperately need in my life.
Anyways, must run, homework to be done!