I have very high standards for my cinnamon sugar toast. First of all, the bread must be white bread.
Second, it must be toasted only to the point of just turning golden so that it is still soft on the inside.
Third, there must be enough butter to soak up a mass amount of that delicious sugar mixture. Also, it must have so much cinnamon and sugar that it coats my mouth after I bite into it.
See also: Almond and Cherry Blondies
Another must is the perfect cinnamon sugar shaker. My grandma has this awesome one that has this goofy lion on the front and back. It was circus colors and totally retro. I love it. I wonder if she’d consider parting with it….
This pull apart bread brings me back to non stop cinnamon sugar toast days. You know, the days when it didn’t matter if you shook the sugar mixture out onto the bread over the sink or not.
The days when sticky fingers meant a good meal. The days were you would run around while trying to lick the rest of the butter and sugar off of your face. Yea. Those days.
This pull apart bread is super soft on the inside and has a beautifully crunchy top. It’s buttery and sweet. It’s everything you are imagining it to be.
Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter, cut into smaller cubes
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned
Whisk yeast into 3 tablespoons of warm water to activate. Water should be warm but not hot.
Test it with your finger: if you can’t hold your finger in the water, it’s too hot. Add a pinch of sugar to the mixture.
Let it rest for about 5 minutes, or until frothy. If the mixture does not foam and froth, dump it out. Then try again.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups of flour, the sugar, and salt. Set aside.
In a different bowl, whisk together eggs. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, add butter and milk. Heat until butter has melted all the way. Remove from heat and let sit for a couple of minutes, to cool down just a tad.
Add vanilla extract, the 1/4 cup of water, and yeast water.
Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix together with a spatula until completely combined.
This will take a little bit of time but don’t give up! That soupy mixture will come together. Keep mixing. Add 3/4 cup of flour and stir for about 2 minutes longer. This will be a very sticky dough.
Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl. Cover and set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 60 to 90 minutes.
While you wait for the dough to rise, whisk together the cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg. Set aside. Grease and flour a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
Keep over heat until butter turns brown and has a nutty fragrance, stir continuously. Keep an eye on it because once it’s brown, it will burn within seconds. Set aside.
Once the dough has doubled, deflate and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured counter, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough.
It should be about 12 inches tall and 20 inches long. If it doesn’t quite get that big, don’t worry about it. Just roll it out as far as it will go.
Use a pastry brush to spread the browned butter on top of the dough. Sprinkle the top with that cinnamon sugar mixture, all of it. You’ll thank me later.
Slice the dough vertically into six equal size strips. Stack the strips on top of each other and cut 6 more equal strips. Layer the dough squares into the pan like a book.
Place a towel over and place in a warm place to rise for 30 to 45 minutes, until almost doubled in size.
Place a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat to 350 degrees.
Place loaf on the rack and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The top should be a deep golden brown. If the top is a light brown, the middle is probably not cooked and may be raw.
Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for 20 to 30 minutes.
Run a butter knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Invert onto a clean board or some foil. Carefully flip over loaf onto a cake plate or serving platter so that it is right side up.
Bread is best served the day of but can be kept, wrapped up on the counter, for two to three days.
After the dough has risen for the first time, you can deflate, and then refrigerate overnight to be made the next morning/day. Be sure to let the dough sit out on the counter for 30 minutes before rolling out.