Every once in awhile I make something that completely baffles my husband. Like this bread. It’s supposed to be like monkey bread, except in a loaf pan, right? My dear, sweet husband thought I had taken store-bought bread, sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar, and then baked it. When I tried to explain to him that it was just monkey bread in a different shape, I was met with a blank stare. Because he had no idea what monkey bread is. No idea what monkey bread is. Tell me, how does someone go 25 years without ever even seeing monkey bread?!
Regardless, he loved this bread. All my boys did actually. It didn’t stand a chance in this house and was gone before the day was over! It’s the softest bread you can imagine on the inside but the bottom crust gets a little caramel-y from the sugar settling at the bottom of the pan and the top crust gets nice and toasty. In other words, the most perfect piece of bread you can imagine.
It’s also shockingly easy to make. The dough is not sticky at all which made rolling it out and cutting it very quick. The only thing I would change would be to double it next time around. You’re going to regret it if you don’t!
(Yes, I will be making monkey bread this weekend.)
Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
For the dough:
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
For the filling:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- To make the dough, 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, 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 into a ball, cover with a clean towel and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll the dough out into an approximately 12 x 20-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough in an even layer.
- 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.