I’ve been feeling pretty lousy since Thursday with flu-like symptoms. Yesterday was to be my first day back to work after the holiday break, but I kept coughing so I did my co-workers a favor by staying home. (Sidebar: I wish more people would stay home when sick so as not to infect everyone else.) As I laid in bed, coughing and generally feeling miserable, I read entries from my blogroll. Lo and behold, I came upon Joanne’s post on her blog, Fifteen Spatulas, featuring the Cinnamon Pullapart Bread. After seeing the photo and reading the recipe, a miracle happened! Suddenly, I found the energy and strength to get out of bed and check the pantry for the ingredients I needed to make this bread. Luckily my pantry is pretty well-stocked. Although it felt like I was moving in slow motion, I managed to bake this beautiful and absolutely delicious bread. It took quite some time, because I WAS moving in SLOW MOTION, and I had to stop every few minutes to give in to my coughing and sneezing fits, but I managed to pull it all off. I know you are all getting tired of reading this bit, but this is another thing I’ve never made before. I don’t know why, because I’ve seen many posts on this and it is so easy and so good!
I followed Joanne’s recipe, but made my own filling using the last of the hazelnut paste I used for the Baked Banana Wontons. The paste was a little too thick to spread evenly on the dough, and after baking, it had clumped up. Yet, it tasted just fine! I also added some orange zest to the dough and replaced the water in the original recipe with fresh-squeezed orange juice. As I’ve said here many times, I love orange and hazelnut together so I frequently use this flavor combination. I also sprinkled in some chocolate chips and chopped hazelnuts, just to send the whole thing over the edge! Why not, right? Next time I make this, however, I will take a little more care in putting the cut dough in the loaf pan so the pieces are straight as they rise. That way they pull apart straight, not curved like in the photo above.
Orange Hazelnut Pull Apart Bread
Yields one loaf
For the dough
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
zest of two oranges, or to taste
1 packet of instant quick rise yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
For the filling
Nutella or other hazelnut paste, as needed to cover the dough
1/4 to 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, or to taste
1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped, or to taste
In a food processor, pulse the sugar and orange zest until well-combined and fragrant. Set aside.
In a microwave-safe bowl or in a saucepan, heat the milk and butter together until the butter melts. Add the orange juice, then let the mixture cool to 115 degrees F using an instant read thermometer. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar/zest mixture, yeast, vanilla, and eggs and mix well at medium speed. Slowly add in the flour. Change to the dough hook, and knead in the stand mixer until the dough is smooth, about 5 -8 minutes.
Transfer the dough into a large bowl greased with butter or oil. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
Lightly flour the countertop, and roll the dough out into a rectangular shape, approximately 12 x 20 inches. Spread the hazelnut paste all over the dough and then sprinkle the chocolate chips and hazelnuts evenly on top. Cut the dough into five 12 x 4-inch strips, and stack them on top of each other. Then cut into four equal pieces. Stack these pieces up on top of each other as well. (For step by step instructions, with photos, refer to Fifteen Spatula’s original recipe. Thank you, Joanne!)
Grease a standard loaf pan with butter, and place the pieces into the loaf pan. It will look like there isn’t enough, let the dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, for at least one hour and the pan will fill in.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the dough for 20 to 30 minutes.
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