what is everyone doing this weekend? Since we are celebrating Christmas early this year, there will be no formal breakfast. Instead, serve a pot of good coffee and a slice of navel orange with the pomegranate. Alexandra Staffordcinnamon sugar pull apart bread. I love it because I can just assemble a ball of dough in the skillet the night before and bake the whole thing in the morning and have it in a warm and cozy place for my kids and others to eat casually. Ali’s recipe goes very well with this type of cooking. Simple yet special, not intimidating for the average baker. How delicious does it look?
Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread
Serves 4, recipe: Alexandra Stafford
From Ali: “The key to making sweet and savory bread is to treat the dough as minimally as possible. That’s part of the charm of the dough: as the pieces of dough rise, those imperfections melt away into cobbles of cinnamon-sugar-encrusted puffs. Note: You can make the dough ahead, put the balls in the skillet, cover, put in the refrigerator, and bake the next morning. A key to keeping the dough from drying out is plastic wrap or reusable beeswax wraps.”
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour and ¼ cup for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon and ¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
softened unsalted butter, for grease
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
half cup confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons milk, more if needed
Whisk together 2 cups flour, salt, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, and instant yeast in a medium bowl. Add water. Using a rubber spatula, mix until the liquid is blended. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the dough has doubled in size.
Place rack in middle of oven and preheat to 375°F. Coat an 8-inch or 9-inch cast-iron skillet, or a round or square baking pan, with softened butter. Stir in cinnamon and remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon mixture on bottom of prepared skillet.
Spread ¼ cup flour on clean surface. Using two forks, pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl and toward the center to remove air. He rotates the bowl 1/4 turn as it deflates, turning the clumps into coarse balls. Using a fork, lift the dough onto a clean prepared surface. Using as much flour as needed from the surface, dust your hands and the outside of the dough, and shape the lumps into balls as best you can. into equal sized pieces.
Using as much flour as needed to prevent sticking, shape each piece into a rough ball and immediately transfer to a greased pan at even intervals. Let rise for 20-25 minutes. The balls may not fit completely in the pan, but they will puff up as they bake.
Brush each ball with melted butter and pour over the rest. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon and sugar mixture. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Meanwhile, make the glaze. Place sugar and milk in a small bowl and whisk until pourable, adding more milk if needed. Remove the pan from the oven and allow him to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before flipping the pan onto a plate and again onto the serving platter. Apply glaze. Serve immediately.
PS Ali’s Simple Same Day Peasant Bread and Ode to Ritual.
(Photo courtesy: Alexandra Stafford.)