I am totally smitten with this. Consumed. Overwhelmed. Carried Away. Which is good, because I could use a little food distraction so I don’t dwell on the fact that I’m going back to work today after three and a half years of winter break. I love my job, you guys. But I at the moment I love my comfies and my bed just a leetle beet more.
This bread makes me think of happier times that did not involve me trying to start my sub zero temperature car in a very sub zero temperature garage. In heels. Cute.
It reminds me of the happy/warm time when Bjork and I went to a baking class led by the lovely Bea Ojakangas, expert in Scandinavian baking and author of several award winning cookbooks. Can I just say? What a doll.
One of the things Bea taught us how to make was called Pulla. Or Pulla bread. Pulla loaves? I guess I’m not really sure how to say that, but I am sure that this bread was unique because it’s mildly sweet with crushed cardamom seeds and it’s 190% delicious. She had us make a whole big batch of Pulla dough and then divide it into three sections, to make three kinds of loaves with it. But I only remember one, and that was this cinnamon roll pull apart bread loaf. It actually had a really fancy, official Scandinavian name that I don’t remember. Carb brain freeze.
I’m just calling it Homemade Cinnamon Roll Pull Apart Bread, half because it’s easier to remember and half because it has the word “Pulla” in it. And half because it doesn’t have cardamom in it so it’s not technically Pulla, which is why I didn’t want to actually name it Pulla.
In case you forgot: I am not a bread baker. Please see this if you need confirmation.
Here’s the thing about yeasted bread – it takes fooooooooooor evvvvvvvverrrrrrr. And then when it doesn’t turn out, I obviously handle it like a normal person and I never cry and pout and pull my hair out because I’ve been waiting all morning for a large slice of warm, soft, fluffy bread soaked in honey butter. What, me? No, never.
I definitely didn’t get this right on the first try and there may or may not have been hair pullage.
But then by some frosted cinnamon roll miracle, I got it right. Soft, cinnamony, and fresh out of the oven right.
At our class, Bea taught me that you really have to rely on your sense of feeling (like literally, your touch) and your good judgement to make bread just right. When we were baking with her, I would touch the dough and it would become a nightmare. Totally unworkable and sticking all over my hands. And then she’d take it from me and give it some gentle TLC and it would turn into silk in about 5 seconds. Some people just have the touch.
The takeaways were a) don’t overflour (apparently I am a complete flour hog) and b) be gentle with the dough and let it rest when it becomes crabby; it will respond well.
Oh, and c) a KitchenAid mixer reeeeally helps.
The bread is just meant for perfectly cozy mornings where school is canceled (but I won’t dwell in the past anymore, promise) and you’re inside with a blanket and a hot mug of coffee and a little ambition.
And a hungry tummy.
I’ll just say these last two words to you: HONEY BUTTER.
- 1 package (2½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- 2 cups mik, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 8-9 cups sifted white flour (lean towards 8)
- ½ cup melted butter
- 4 tablespoons solid butter
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1½ cup sugar ** see notes
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk or cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Make the Dough: Dissolve the yeast in the warm water; it should be frothy. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add mix the milk, sugar, salt, eggs, and 2 cups of flour and mix on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add 3 cups of the flour and mix at a slightly higher speed; the dough should be quite smooth and glossy in appearance. Add the melted butter and stir in well. Mix again until the dough looks glossy. Stir in the remaining flour until a stiff dough forms.
- Rest and Knead: Turn out the dough onto a surface dusted with flour. Gently toss it around a few times so it becomes lightly coated with flour. Place back in the mixing bowl, cover, and let the dough rest 15 minutes. Knead (with your mixer if possible) until smooth and satiny. KitchenAid says you should the dough hook on Speed 2 for four minutes for kneading bread, which is what I did. Place in a lightly greased mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until doubled in bulk. It should be very soft and workable, like the picture in the post.
- Roll and Cut the Bread: On a floured surface, divide the dough into 2 parts to make 2 loaves. For each loaf, take one part at a time and roll it into a large rectangle. I didn't ever measure mine but it was probably 9x13, about ½ inch thick. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together. Spread 2 tablespoons butter onto each dough rectangle, sprinkle with just enough cinnamon sugar to cover, and roll into a log starting on the long side (short works too - just depends on how you want the loaf to be shaped and how long your baking sheet is). Place seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut diagonal slices like pictured in the post, almost down the bottom of the log. Arrange the cut sections so that they lean to alternating sides. Let rise for about 20 minutes to puff up a little bit. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Bake: Brush the loaves with the beaten egg. Bake for 20-30 minutes on a baking stone or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Do not overbake or the loaves will be too dry. Remove from the oven when a light golden-brown. Let cool slightly. Whisk the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla together to make a glaze. Pour over the loaf and let set. Slice or pull apart and serve. Yummy!
Amount: This recipe makes TWO loaves. Here is more information on delaying baking. They don't recommend freezing, but I did freeze half of the kneaded and risen dough, and then thawed it on the counter overnight and it worked beautifully.
Hey hey. Fun math equation on how many hours went into this post, just for my fellow nerds who like to know about these kinds of things.
3 hours learning about it and making it at the class + 3 hours for my first (failed) attempt at home + 3 hours for my second (successful) attempt at home + 1 hour to photograph + 1 hour to import, edit, upload, and tag photos + 2 hours to write recipe and text =
13 hours spent on this post.
And I love you goodbye.