What exactly is pull-apart bread? At its most basic, it means a loaf of small pieces of bread that separate when pulled apart. The dough is rolled, spread with a filling (often, butter-based) then cut into strips. The strips are stacked on top of each other then cut into squares. The squares are stuffed into a pan and baked. When cooked, you have small pieces of bread that are stuck together but which can easily be pulled apart because they are separated by the filling.
Pull-apart bread is fun to make, fun to eat and there’s the added convenience that you don’t need any additional filling to enjoy them because they were baked with an integrated filling. The filling can be anything. In this post, I divided the dough into two portions to make two pull-apart breads — one with cheese, garlic and parsley; the other with cinnamon and sugar.
Recipe: Pull-apart bread
- one basic bread recipe
- flour, for dusting
- oil, for greasing the pans
For the cheese filling:
- 1 c. of shredded cheese
- 1/4 c. of butter, softened
- 1 tsp. of grated garlic
- 2 tbsps. of chopped parsley
For the sugar-cinnamon filling:
- 1/3 c. of butter, softened
- 1/4 to 1/3 c. of sugar (white or brown will both work but your choice will affect the color of the filling after baking)
- 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. of ground nutmeg
- Prepare the dough following the basic bread recipe. After the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface and divide into two portions.
- Lightly brush the inside of two 8″x4″ loaf pans with oil. Sprinkle with flour and shake off the excess. Note that this step may not be necessary if using non-stick baking pans.
- Make the cheese pull-apart bread. Mix together the butter, garlic and parsley.
- Roll out one portion into a rectangle about a quarter of an inch thick. Spread the butter mixture on the surface of the dough. Sprinkle the cheese evenly on top.
- Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into three equal strips. Carefully lift one strip and place on top of the second strip. Lift the third strip and place on top of the two.
- Again using a pizza cutter, cut the stacked strips of dough into six squares.
- Take one of the two prepared pans. Holding the pan with one hand at a 45-degree angle, take one portion of the stacked dough and lay on one end so that the dough is “standing” on its side with one cut side touching the bottom of the pan and the opposite cut side pointing upward. Take another portion and lay beside the first portion. Repeat until all the dough is in the pan.
- Make the cinnamon-sugar pull-apart bread. Roll out the second half of the dough into a rectangle a quarter of an inch thick. Spread with the softened butter. Sprinkle the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg evenly over the butter. Cut, stack, cut and arrange in the second prepared pan following the same procedure as the cheese-filled dough.
- If the dough portions appear loose and do not fill the entire pans, do not worry. The dough will rise a second time before the pans go into the oven and, after the second rising, the rough will snugly fill the pans.
- So, allow the dough to rise a second time for about 45 minutes.
- Fifteen minutes before the second rising time is up, preheat the oven to 350F.
- Bake the pull-apart breads at 350F for about 45 minutes.
- Cool in the pans for about five minutes then invert and transfer to a plate.
- Pull-apart bread is best served white still warm.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s), excluding the rising time for the dough
Cooking time: 40 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2 loaves