June 22, 2017

Orange-Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

My family loves pull-apart bread, and the last time I made this particular flavor was way back in April 2014.  I am way 
overdue to make it again, so I remedied that today.

Orange Sugar Pull-Apart bread is made with a wonderfully sweet yeast dough that is brushed with butter, and then sprinkled with an orange-infused sugar. After it is baked an orange powdered sugar glaze completes it. Since the pieces have been pre-cut all you have to do is gently pull a piece off to enjoy - no need for a knife.

Every time I make this bread I always realize afterwards that I should have doubled the recipe. It disappears in no time because you are always thinking, ok just one more piece, and then there are no more pieces. Let me save you from making the same mistake - double the recipe!  You could even make two different flavors - maybe one sweet and one savory?

When you look at the preparation it may look like a of of steps, but please don't let that deter you because it really is worth it, and a lot of the steps can be done while the dough is rising. This bread is so soft and pillowy, tangy and sweet, with a little crunch from the sugar that caramelizes on top as it bakes.  Do keep an eye on it as it bakes, checking it at 20 minutes and placing foil over the top if it is browning too quickly.

I ended up trimming the ends after I had stacked the strips, and there was no way I was going to waste any of the dough, so I made some mini rolls filled with the small amount of orange sugar that was left over.

Orange Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
Printer Friendly Recipe

Dough ~
  • 375g (2¾ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 50g (¼ cup) granulated sugar
  • 6g (2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 110ml (½ cup) milk
  • 55g (4 tablespoons) butter
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

Orange Sugar Filling ~

  • 150g (¾ cup) granulated sugar
  • 45g (3 tablespoons) finely grated orange zest
  • 55g (4 tablespoons) butter, room temperature

Orange Icing ~

  • 115g (1 cup) powdered sugar
  • 30ml (6 teaspoons) fresh orange juice

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine 2 cups flour (reserve the additional 100g (¾ of flour), sugar, yeast, and salt.
  2. In saucepan (or microwave safe dish) heat milk and butter until it reaches 120° - 130°F. 
  3. Add heated milk/butter and vanilla to flour mixture; mix at low speed until moistened.
  4. Beat in eggs one at a time, continuing to mix for three minutes at medium speed.
  5. Switch to a dough hook and mix in the remaining flour a little at a time, to make a soft dough, adding more or less flour as required.
  6. Knead the dough for 5 minutes.
  7. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. 
  8. Cover and let rise in warm place about 45-60 minutes, until doubled in size.
  9. While the dough is resting, make the orange sugar filling by mixing together the sugar and orange zest in a small bowl, making sure that you rub the two together to release the orange oils; set aside.
  10. Preheat oven to 165℃ (3525º F).
  11. Grease a 23cm x 13cm x 6cm (9" x 5" x 3") loaf pan, and line with parchment or foil, leaving a 2.5cm (1-inch) overhang on each long side; grease paper so that the bread will be easily removed from the pan after baking.
  12. Punch down the dough.
  13. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 50cm x 30cm (20" x 12") rectangle.
  14. Spread the butter evenly over the dough with a rubber spatula or pastry brush.
  15. Cut dough into five strips, each about 30cm x 10cm (12" by 4") with a pizza cutter or sharp knife.
  16. Sprinkle 1½ tablespoons of the orange sugar over the first buttered rectangle, using your fingers to spread it evenly).
  17. Top it with a second rectangle, sprinkling that one with 1½ tablespoons of orange sugar as well. Continue to top with rectangles and sprinkle, so you have a stack of five 30cm x 10cm (12" by 4") rectangles.
  18. Cut the stack into six rectangles (each should be 10cm x 5cm (4" by 2").
  19. Carefully transfer the rectangles of dough into the loaf pan, cut edges up, side by side. 
  20. 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.
  21. Place bread into preheated oven, and check it at about 20 minutes, covering the top loosely with foil if it is browning too quickly.
  22. Continue to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown (total baking time is 30 to 35 minutes).
  23. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.
  24. While bread is cooling, make the orange icing by whisking together powdered sugar and orange juice until smooth.
  25. Using the parchment paper, lift the loaf from the pan and flip it over onto a cutting board.
  26. Remove the parchment paper, then flip onto a rack so that it’s right side up.
  27. Drizzle icing over bread, and serve warm or at room temperature.

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