Monday, September 23, 2013

Caramel Apple Pull-Apart Bread

I think I came across this recipe last fall, never made it while it was cool, and obviously wasn't going to make it this summer. It's a great "welcome to fall" bread, good for either breakfast or as a dessert. Not too hard to make, but I thought that I could have used another set of hands for the layering part. It was quite tasty!

Caramel Apple Pull-Apart Bread
from Alaska from Scratch

For the dough:

1/4 cup warm water
2-1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (plus 1/4 cup or more, if needed)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

For the filling:
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large tart apple, peeled, cored, and diced (Golden Delicious or Granny Smith recommended)

For the caramel glaze:
 2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Combine warm water and yeast in a mixing bowl. Heat milk and butter together until the butter is melted but not too hot. Add the vanilla.

Add flour, sugar, and salt on top of the water/yeast mixture in the mixing bowl. Using a dough hook, turn the mixer on low, add the eggs and stream in the butter/milk, mixing until a soft dough forms. Add the extra flour (as necessary) by tablespoonfuls until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and forms a ball. Knead for 3 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, about 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt for the filling. Set aside. Prepare the apple and melt butter just before the dough is done rising. Grease a standard 9x5 loaf pan.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and roll into a large rectangle, roughly 12x24. It doesn't need to be perfect and it will be thin.

Brush the dough with the melted butter, then spread the brown sugar mixture over the whole thing. Using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into long strips (I did four). Sprinkle the first strip with 1/4th of the apples, layer on another strip* and another share of apples. Repeat until all the layers are stacked.

Cut the stack into 4-6 squares of roughly equal size (4-5 inches). Stack the squares vertically into the prepared loaf pan. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350* and bake on the middle rack 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden and it is cooked through. If it gets too brown on top before it's done baking, cover it loosely with foil.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the caramel sauce - add the butter, brown sugar, and milk to a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Turn the bread out onto a wire rack over parchment paper. Drizzle the loaf with the caramel sauce. Best eaten the day it's made, but it still tastes good a day or two later (if it lasts that long).

*this is where I could have used another set of hands

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