Lemon Pull-Apart Bread
If you search Pinterest for pull-apart bread, you’ll find a gazillion of different bread photos and recipes – basically, it is a sweet yeasted quickbread, with several layers of flavored dough (although there are savory versions out there as well).
The trick of the trade is to cut your dough into long strips, add a thin smear of soft butter, and sprinkle a flavored sugar on top of that, before you stack the slices, cut them in pieces, and place these stacked pieces into a loaf pan, cut side up.
For a great step-by-step explanation (with photos) of the process, have a look at the blog post by Barbara Bakes, whose recipe I have used here.
This is what my unbaked loaf looked like
Lemon pull-apart bread
adapted from Barbara Bakes / Pinterest
Yield: 1 loaf
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 package instant yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 tablespoons ubtter
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons lemon zest, finely grated
- 4 tablespoons butter, very soft
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 5 teaspoons lemon juice
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.vIn saucepan or microwave safe dish, heat milk and butter until warm (120° – 130°F; butter does not have to be completely melted). Add liquids to flour mixture. Add vanilla. Blend at low speed until moistened. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed. Switch to the dough hook and mix in the remaining flour a little at a time, to make a soft dough, adding more or less flour as needed. Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place about 15 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, make the lemon sugar filling. Mix the sugar and lemon zest.
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan, and line with parchment or foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang on each long side; butter paper. (For easy removal of the bread from the pan.) Punch down the dough. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 20″ x 12″ rectangle. Spread the butter evenly over the dough with a rubber spatula or pastry brush.
Cut dough in to five strips, each about 12″ by 4″ with a pizza cutter. Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the lemon sugar over the first buttered rectangle. Top it with a second rectangle, sprinkling that one with 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon sugar as well. Continue to top with rectangles and sprinkle, so you have a stack of five 12″ by 4″ rectangles, all buttered and topped with lemon sugar.
- Cut the stack into 6 rectangles (each should be 4″ by 2″) Carefully transfer the rectangles of dough into the loaf pan, cut edges up, side by side. You might have some extra room around the edges but the bread will rise and expand during baking. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until puffy, 30 to 50 minutes. When you gently press the dough with your finger, the indentation should stay.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes until the loaf is golden brown. Cover the top with foil if it’s browning too quickly. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. While bread is cooling, make the lemon icing. Whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth.
- Use the parchment paper to help remove the loaf from the pan. Flip the loaf over onto a cooling rack, remove the parchment paper, then flip onto another rack so that it’s right side up. Drizzle icing over bread. Serve warm or at room temperature.
My changes: I have substituted vanilla extract with finely ground vanilla (which is what I had on hand), used fresh baker’s yeast (again, because I had some that needed to be used), and I have zested my lemons with a Microplane zester and only needed 3 lemons for about 5 tablespoons of zest – which may be due to larger lemons or simply the magic of the Microplane 😉
This makes a perfectly fluffly, yummy, lemony loaf – my new favorite breakfast (especially with tangy homemade red-currant jelly). And it makes a killer French toast as well!