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Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Oh you guys. Imagine a cinnamon bun in loaf form, with soft, pillowy sheets of cinnamon-sugar doused dough you can pull apart with your fingers – no need for a knife. You won’t believe how great your house smells as this bakes, and how happy it will make anyone within nibbling distance as it comes out of the oven. It’s a simple yeast dough, made with eggs and soft butter – keep it tacky and resist the urge to add more flour if you want it soft and pillowy when it’s baked. The dough is rolled, buttered and sprinkled with sugar, then cut into strips, stacked and cut into squares to go into the pan like a deck of cards. The result is wonderful, soft cinnamon-sugar dough you can eat with your fingers – without the commitment of an enormous cinnamon bun.

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  • Proofing the yeast to ensure it’s alive! 1 of 14
    Proofing the yeast to ensure it's alive!
  • Mix until your dough is smooth and sticky-add more flour if it’s really sticky. 2 of 14
    Mix until your dough is smooth and sticky-add more flour if it's really sticky.
  • The dough will be tacky-resist the urge to add more flour. 3 of 14
    The dough will be tacky-resist the urge to add more flour.
  • Let it rise until doubled in bulk. 4 of 14
    Let it rise until doubled in bulk.
  • Pat it out – it should be nice and soft. 5 of 14
    Pat it out - it should be nice and soft.
  • Roll it out and brush it with butter. 6 of 14
    Roll it out and brush it with butter.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. 7 of 14
    Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
  • Cut into strips, lengthwise. 8 of 14
    Cut into strips, lengthwise.
  • Pile the strips into a stack. 9 of 14
    Pile the strips into a stack.
  • Cut the stack of sugared dough into squares. 10 of 14
    Cut the stack of sugared dough into squares.
  • Butter a loaf pan. 11 of 14
    Butter a loaf pan.
  • Stick the stacks of sugared dough into the pan. 12 of 14
    Stick the stacks of sugared dough into the pan.
  • It will rise too – and again in the oven. 13 of 14
    It will rise too - and again in the oven.
  • Bake until crusty and golden and your house smells delicious. 14 of 14
    Bake until crusty and golden and your house smells delicious.

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Recipe adapted from HungryGirlPorVida by way of Joy the Baker

Dough:
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra as needed
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs

Filling:
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted

In a large bowl, stir together the milk, water, yeast and a pinch of the sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes until it gets foamy – if it doesn’t do anything, toss it and get fresh yeast.

Add the flour, the rest of the sugar, salt, butter and eggs and stir until well combined. Stir (use a dough hook and your stand mixer if you have one) until you have a soft, sticky dough. Add more flour if you need to, but the dough should be tacky.

Shape the dough into a ball and put it in the mixing bowl. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for an hour or two, or until doubled in bulk. (At this point you can cover and refrigerate it overnight to slow the rise, then continue in the morning. Just let the dough sit on the countertop for 30 minutes to come back to room temperature.)

Stir the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and butter a 9″x5″ loaf pan.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about a 12″x20″ rectangle. Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar. (Yes, it will be lots.)

Slice the dough lengthwise into 6 strips and stack them on top of one another. Cut them crosswise into 6 pieces. Layer the stacks of dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book, cover with a tea towel and let rise for another 30-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F with the rack in the middle. Bake the loaf for 20-30 minutes, until dark golden. (It will need to be dark to ensure it’s cooked through.) Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

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