April 01, 2014

Orange Pull-Apart Bread ~ #TwelveLoaves

The aroma of oranges always makes me think of sunny mornings, and having breakfast outside. There is just something so refreshing about the smell of an orange.  So it was such a pleasant surprise to find out that the challenge for Twelve Loaves this month would be Oranges.

Ever since I saw this amazing pull-apart bread I have been determined to try making one, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. My bread-baking skills have definitely improved since I joined the group, and I am feeling more confident every month.  A pull-apart bread definitely looks harder than it actually is and it is such an impressive-looking loaf of bread.  After deciding on a recipe I quickly set out to get the dough made and ready to be baked.

Once I had everything measured out and ready to go, the dough came together pretty quickly. Although there seemed to be a lot of steps in the recipe I did not feel intimidated. I almost made the rookie mistake of adding all of the flour at once to the bowl, but I quickly realized it and remembered to reserve ¾ cup of the flour to be added at a later stage. After the first rise the dough is rolled out into a large rectangle, sprinkled with the orange sugar, and then cut a few more times to create the layered look of the bread.  After a final rise off it went into the oven to be baked to a beautiful golden brown. Whilst the bread is cooling, you can make the icing that will be drizzled over the top.  As I was making the icing I did make a rookie mistake.  Upon realizing that I did not have exactly the amount of powdered sugar the recipe called for, I decided I would just add a little less juice.  Unfortunately I read the liquid measure as tablespoons, rather than teaspoons, so my icing was definitely too runny.  It really did not affect the taste at all because it poured into all of the nooks and crannies of the bread, but it did affect my photos.

My advice would be to run to the kitchen right now and get everything ready to make this bread. Honestly it took all of my willpower to take some photos before I grabbed a slice to enjoy.  One bite is an amazing mouthful of textures - the crunch from the outside of the bread, the soft, pillowy interior, the sweet tang of the orange sugar, and the sweetness of the icing. One slice lead to another - quality control is what I told myself - then I made sure I saved the rest for later.  Later ended up being about 10 minutes later when my girls discovered it.  This bread has the distinction of being the baked good that has disappeared the quickest from my kitchen - and yes, all that was left was a few itty-bitty crumbs :)

If you would like to know more about #TwelveLoaves and see what the others made for the Oranges theme please scroll down below the recipe.

Orange Pull-Apart Bread
(Printer Friendly Recipe)

Dough ~

  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

Orange Sugar Filling ~

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Orange Icing ~

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 teaspoons fresh orange juice

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine 2 cups flour (reserve the additional ¾ of flour), sugar, yeast, and salt.
  2. In saucepan (or microwave safe dish) heat milk and butter until it reaches 120° - 130°F (butter does not have to be completely melted).
  3. Add heated milk/butter and vanilla to flour mixture; blend 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. Knead the dough for 5 minutes.
  6. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. 
  7. Cover and let rise in warm place about 45-60 minutes, until doubled in size.
  8. While the dough is resting, make the orange sugar filling by mixing together the sugar and orange zest in a small bowl; set aside.
  9. Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Grease a 9x5" loaf pan, and line with parchment or foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang on each long side; grease paper so that the bread will be easily removed from the pan after baking.
  10. 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.
  11. Cut dough into five strips, each about 12" by 4" with a pizza cutter or sharp knife.
  12. Sprinkle 1½ tablespoons of the orange sugar over the first buttered rectangle (use your fingers to spread it evenly). 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 12" by 4" rectangles.
  13. Cut the stack into six rectangles (each should be 4" by 2"). Carefully transfer the rectangles of dough into the loaf pan, cut edges up, side by side (if there is extra room around the edges don't worry because the bread still needs a second rise and will expand during baking). 
  14. 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.
  15. Place bread into preheated oven, and check it at about 20 minutes, covering the top loosely with foil if it is browning too quickly. Continue to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown (total baking time is 30 to 35 minutes).
  16. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.
  17. While bread is cooling, make the orange icing. Whisk together powdered sugar and orange juice until smooth.
  18. Using the parchment paper, lift the loaf from the pan and flip it over onto a cutting board. Remove the parchment paper, then flip onto a rack so that it’s right side up.
  19. Drizzle icing over bread, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe slightly adapted from Barbara Bakes

#TwelveLoaves April: Oranges

The month of March was filled with gorgeous strawberry breads! We have chosen Oranges for our April theme and would love for you to join in the fun. Your bread of choice recipe must include one or more of the following in the recipe: oranges, orange marmalade, orange zest. In addition to being in the dough, it could also be added to a glaze. Whatever you bake, (yeasted, quick bread, crackers, muffins, braids, flatbreads, etc) have fun and let's have a delicious month of bread with Oranges. Let's get baking! If you are looking for inspiration check out all of the amazing recipes below ~

If you’d like to add your bread to the collection with the Linky Tool this month, here’s what you need to do!
  1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone's posts. Please make sure that your bread is inspired by the theme!
  2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog. It must be a bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme.
  3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this April, 2014, and posted on your blog by April 30, 2014.

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess. #TwelveLoaves runs so smoothly thanks to the help of the lovely Renee from Magnolia Days and Heather from girlichef.


  1. I've never made pull-apart bread before, Felice. Can you believe it? You and Deepti have convinced me today though! What a fabulous loaf you've baked!

  2. Pull-apart loaves are a favorite in this house - and I was so close to making an orange one this round. And now I need to get on that, because yours looks stellar, Felice!

  3. I LOVE pull apart bread...and you executed this perfectly!!! Beautiful loaf!!!!

  4. Every time I see pull-apart bread I think I have to make it and yet I haven't so far. This beautiful loaf may just be the one to give me the nudge to get baking one. Wonderful bread. Truly wonderful.

  5. I can see why this bread was such a hit, it looks very tempting. I'm happy that your family liked it so much. If we stayed nearby, we could have had a swap over of at least few slices if not the entire bread :)

  6. Felice!!! this pull apart bread is gorgeous!!! I can taste it from here!!! loved this month's theme. . I must bake this ASAP! I think everyone has to bake at least one pull apart loaf in their lifetime. . I've done the cinnamon one but pinned this and will definitely make!!! so gorgeous!

  7. My luck! Two pull-apart breads this month! Nice baking with you this month for #TwelveLoaves!

  8. YUM!!! I love the idea of pull apart bread with orange!

  9. Oh! MY!! Goodness!!! That bread is simply fantastic!!! Your photos belong in a magazine. I have to make this!!

  10. This looks divine ... I have seen this type of bread before, but never have I been nervy enough to make it ... yours is surely tempting!

  11. G'day! looks delicious! Great photos...sharing the love today!
    Cheers! Joanne

  12. Sounds like your rookie mistake was a happy mistake! This bread is gorgeous and sounds delicious!

  13. Those layers! I'm swooning! I'm pinning this and plan on trying it as soon as possible. Thanks for sharing this recipe and your story. You rocked it!
    Renee - Kudos Kitchen

  14. Oh, Felice! When I saw you were making a pull-apart, I wanted to make one too! SO love that you make this and I can just taste and smell the orange flavor-amazing!! So beautiful...thank you for sharing with our group!!

  15. oooohhhh!!! Gorgeous! I can't wait to make this in orange or lemon too!

  16. I bean looking at this picture for days, and I just want to grab a peace every time :D

  17. This looks insanely delicious! I am very yeast challenged so how about you send me a couple slices of this lovely loaf!

  18. This looks amazing! I can almost smell the orange aroma from here!! :)


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