A whole lot of the Pull-Aparts I saw were sweet and involved a lot of butter and eggs. While I have nothing against eggs (well not too many of them at one go) I thought baking egg-free might be nice since I know many of those who are baking this bread don’t eat eggs. Also given that December was all about sweet stuff I decided to make my Pull-Apart Bread savoury and filled it with mixed herbs, grated Cheddar cheese, crushed cumin seeds and black pepper.
My personal experience with this bread is all good. It looks great and is really quite easy to make. Best of all, its soft and so good that it will have disappeared within an hour of baking/ serving it! This is a very versatile dough/ bread in that you can play around with the filling, and even make a sweet version. If you would like to go with a sweet filling, just omit the garlic in the dough and add 1/4 cup sugar to the dough while kneading.
If you don’t have a loaf tin, you can make this as small rolls with the slices of dough stacked in a muffin cups or maybe in a bundt pan or even a cake tin. Or make them as traditionally shaped cinnamon bun style rolls. Whichever way you shape them, this bread is worth baking. If you don’t believe me, ask all those who bake along with me.
Herb & Cheese Pull-Apart Bread
For the Dough:
1/2 cup warm milk 1 tsp sugar 2 tsp active dry yeast 2 3/4 to 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp salt 25gm butter, soft at room temperature 3/4 to 1 tsp garlic paste 3/4 cup milk (+ a couple of tbsp to brush over the bread)
For the Filling:
15 to 20gm melted butter 2 tsp dried Provencal or mixed herbs* 1 tsp crushed cumin seeds Crushed pepper/ red chilli flakes to taste 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
As almost always, I used my food processor but you may knead the dough by hand. In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and the yeast in the 1/2 cup of warm milk. Keep aside for about 5 minutes till the yeast mixture bubbles up. Put 2 3/4 cup of flour, salt, softened butter, and garlic paste in the food processor bowl (or a large bowl) and pulse a couple of times to mix. Then add the yeast mixture and the 3/4 cup of milk and knead till you have a soft, smooth and elastic/ pliable dough which is not sticky. Add a little extra flour if your dough is sticking, but only just as much as is necessary. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it completely with oil. Cover and let it rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until almost double in volume. Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Deflate the dough, shape it into a square and roll the dough out into a larger square that is about 12’ by 12”. Brush the surface of the square with the melted butter. Evenly sprinkle the herbs, pepper/ chilli flakes and the cumin seeds and then the grated cheese. Use a rolling pin to very lightly press the topping into the dough to ensure the topping doesn’t fall off when you are stacking the strips (#1). Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough from top to bottom into 6 long and even strips – they do not have to be perfect. Lay each strip on top of the next, with the topping facing upwards, until you have a stack of the strips (#2) You can put the 2 strips cut from the sides in the middle of the stack so it looks neater. Using a pastry scraper or a sharp knife, cut straight down through the stack dividing it into 6 equal pieces (6 square stacks). Grease and lightly flour a 9” by 4” (or 5”) loaf tin. Butter and lightly flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Layer the square slices, cut sides down into the loaf tin (#3). Cover the loaf tin dough with a towel and allow the dough to rise for an hour. Lightly brush some milk over the top of the loaf (#4). Bake the dough at 180C (350F) for about 30 to 40 minutes until it is done and the top is golden brown. This recipe bakes one 9” by 5” loaf (#5). The collection of links below will take you to the individual posts of all those who baked with me this month. There's quite a variety of Pull-Apart breads with the most interesting fillings, some sweet and some savoury.
Do come back, in a month's time to see what we all bake in February. In the meanwhile, happy browsing! This bread is also being YeastSpotted !