Apple cinnamon pull-apart bread – a super soft coffee cake filled with apples, brown sugar and cinnamon, it is easier to make than you might think and is perfect for an indulgent brunch!
Making your own bread may seem like a slightly daunting task to the uninitiated, but actually it is quite a simple process and I think that it is one of the most rewarding things to bake. True, it does take a while, but mostly it is hands-off time where you are just letting the dough do it’s own thing and the results are far better than any shop-bought loaf.
One of the most common mistakes that people make when baking their own bread is to flour the work-surface when kneading the dough – this usually results in a dry loaf and I never flour the surface when kneading. The dough should be sticky at first but will become smooth and elastic as you knead without the need to add extra flour; flour should only be added if the dough seems wet rather than just sticky. If you want to avoid getting a bit messy then you can use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook to do the kneading for you.
This particular loaf is a beautifully soft, sweet, enriched (meaning it has added butter, sugar, milk and egg) dough filled with diced apple, brown sugar and cinnamon and is topped with a vanilla bean glaze. It pulls apart easily into pieces so is perfect for serving for breakfast or brunch where everyone can just dig in and help themselves. The shaping of the loaf is really easy to do but does get a bit messy, be prepared to get sticky! It is best served freshly baked, while still warm, but will still be soft the following day if stored in an airtight container; just re-warm it slightly (either in the oven or microwave) before serving.
Here’s what you’ll need:
For the dough:
- 3 + 1/8 cups white bread flour
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp fine table salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 3/4 cup milk, lukewarm
For the filling and glaze:
- 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 medium Braeburn or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely diced
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp dark brown soft sugar, packed
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1.Place the flour in a large bowl and add the yeast to one side and the sugar and salt to the other (if the salt comes into direct contact with the yeast it can kill it); stir together and make a well in the center.
2.Add the egg, butter and milk to the well and stir everything together to form a rough dough, incorporating all the dry flour from around the edges.
3.Turn the dough out onto an un-floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is very smooth and stretchy. It will be sticky at first but will become smooth as you knead. Only add extra flour if the dough seems wet.
4.Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and set aside in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size – 1-2 hours. (Alternatively, you can place the dough in the fridge to rise overnight instead.) Meanwhile, grease a 9x4in loaf pan and line with a strip of baking parchment.
5.Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle about 12×20 inches.Spread the melted butter evenly all over the dough. Toss together the diced apple, brown sugar and cinnamon and then scatter the mixture all over the dough.
6.Slice the rectangle in half lengthwise then into five sections vertically, I find that a pizza wheel is the best tool for this job.
7.Arrange the ten slices into two stacks of five then slice each stack into three pieces.
8.Arrange the stacks in the loaf pan then cover the top loosely with oiled clingfilm and set aside to rise for about 45 minutes until puffy. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F.
9.Bake the loaf for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the internal temperature reaches at least 200F on a probe thermometer. You may need to cover the top loosely with tin foil partway through baking if it starts to get too dark before it is baked in the middle (mine got a little dark in places – still tasty though!). If you don’t have a thermometer then a skewer inserted into the center should come out with no wet dough on it. Leave the bread to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then carefully lift it out of the tin, peel off the parchment and place on a wire rack.
10.To make the glaze, sift the powdered sugar into a bowl and add the vanilla bean paste. Gradually stir in the milk until it reaches a thick but pour-able consistency. Drizzle the glaze all over the top of the loaf and serve.