Is it me, or have recipes for pull apart bread been popping up all over the place?
Regardless of the origin, they all look delicious and I had been dying to make a loaf for myself.
I first came across a recipe for it on Joy The Baker’s site, she makes a mouth watering cinnamon sugar pull apart bread, which is what I based my recipe on. Except, what I keep thinking off is that this just looks like babka, all it needs is some chocolate and a streusel topping.
Babka is a yeasted dough with swirls of chocolate or cinnamon (sometimes both) and topped with streusel. The dough itself isn’t very sweet, you get it from the fillings and toppings and because it is twisted before being baked in a loaf pan, it lends itself to that pull apart bread trend we are currently loving. I love the stuff, grew up eating but it is terribly hard to find a decent loaf.
So now, back to our current recipe. Let’s talk yeast, this dough uses it, don’t be afraid of it. Yeasted dough just needs a little love, a little patience, and a warm kitchen!
Truth be told, rolling dough out troubles me more than working with yeast. I can never get it to the correct length or shape. That’s probably why I always stick to drop cookies and pies that use a cookie crust! If you are like me and can’t roll dough to save their lives, do the best you can here, my squares didn’t fill my entire loaf pan, but once fully baked it was no longer a problem.
Recipe:Adapted from Joy The Baker 2 3/4 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour 1/4 cup granulated sugar 2 1/4 teaspoons or 1 envelope active dry yeast 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 ounces unsalted butter 1/3 cup whole milk 1/4 cup water 2 large eggs, room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract For the filling: 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, shaved 1 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted For the topping: 1/4 cup all purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 cup brown sugar 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Place aside.
Whisk the eggs and place aside.
In a small pot, melt the butter and heat the milk together, until it just begins to simmer around the edges. Remove from the heat and stir in the water and vanilla extract. Let stand until it reaches 115 to 125 degrees F – even if it goes as low as 110 degrees F, it will still be warm enough for the yeast to activate.
Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together, add the eggs until evenly incorporated. You are welcome to use your stand mixer, but I did everything by hand. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir until everything comes together, the mixture will be very sticky.
Place the dough into a well greased, large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm space (I like the inside of my oven) and rest until doubled in size, about an hour. At this point, you can continue on, or cover and refrigerate over night for use in the morning. If you are going to do this, just let the dough sit out on the counter for 30 minutes before rolling out.
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling and toppings. I find using a larger microplane grater is best for the chocolate, but a box grater will also work. Whisk the sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and set that aside. Melt the butter and cool and finally mix together all the ingredients for the streusel topping in a small bowl and set aside. This is also a good time to grease and flour a 9X5 inch loaf pan.
Deflate the risen dough and knead the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour into it, this will take some of the sticky-ness away. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and rest for 5 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 12 inches tall and 20 inches long. If you are like me and have trouble rolling your dough, take a break and try again, if it still won’t roll any longer that’s fine. Using a pastry brush, spread the melted better across the dough. Sprinkle all the cinnamon sugar over the top (yes it is a lot, but use it all) and the finally sprinkle the shaved chocolate on top.
Slice the dough vertically into six equal sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the strips into six equals slices again. Layer the squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book. If you lose some of the filling, just toss it into the loaf pan with the dough. At this point, we need to do one final rise with our dough, so back to our warmest spot in the kitchen, place a clean kitchen towel over the dough and let sit for another 30-45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen, sprinkle with the streusel topping and place in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown.
This is the hardest part, by the 25 minute mark your home is going to smell really good. When it comes out of the oven, you are going to want to eat your reward. After all, you have spent a long time making this bread. But you can’t. . . not yet. . you have to let the bread sit in the pan for another 20-30 minutes before removing. If you remove it too soon, everything will fall apart.
So, if you are like me and cook before showering in the morning, go take that shower and when you get out and still smell the amazing aroma of that bread follow these last few instructions to dig on in.
Take a plate and place on top of your loaf pan, carefully invert it and then place another plate on the other side and flip it over so it is right side up. Serve and enjoy!
It will keep well for 2-3 days after, and I suggest warming it up in the toaster oven before digging into the leftovers, that’s assuming you have any.