4.10.2011 Lemon Scented Pull Apart Bread

April 10, 2011 at 11:07 am 2 comments

Lemon Scented Pull Apart Bread

Oh my!

I will confess, I am not a lemon fan.  But this bread sounded so A.MaZ.iNG that I just had to give it a shot.  I am so glad I did, it is simply heavenly!!!

I was given quite a few lemons, so I went searching for some sort of “light” lemon flavored something.  When I came across the recipe for this coffee cake from Flo Baker via Leite’s Culinaria blog, I knew I finally found the perfect recipe.  While Flo calls it a coffee cake, to me it is bread since it is doughy like bread and shaped like a loaf.

This bread is amazing.  It has these lovely, light, flakey layers that you just peel apart.  You take one, then two and before you know it, half the loaf is GONE!  Yum.  I thought about skipping the cream cheese glaze because the bread is wonderful on it’s own, but decided to at least give it a shot.  It was definitely a perfect addition.  Depending on my mood (or ingredients), I may or may not add the glaze.  I really loved it both ways.

I will share the few changes I made and some tips I learned.

  • After the first rise, I put the dough in the fridge overnight.  I didn’t want to spend all day on this bread.  This is a good way to have fresh bread in the morning.  This also helped with the stickiness of the dough (and man is it ever sticky).  Highly recommend this step.
  • I only used the zest of one LARGE lemon.  I didn’t have any oranges and like I said, I didn’t want a strong lemon taste.  It was perfect for me.  I may have had 3 tablespoons total of the lemon zest.
  • I added some vanilla powder to the lemon sugar paste.  Not sure it made any difference, but it did smell lovely.
  • If you refrigerate your dough, pull it out and let it warm up before working with it.  It will roll easier.  If it keeps pulling and shrinking, let it sit 10 minutes and try again.
  • After you cut your 5 – 4 inch strips (get out your ruler, very important).  In order to stack, I would pull and lift from the long side.  If you try to pull it up from the short side it will make your strip long and skinny.  By lifting and pull from the long side, you keep the width of the strips as you stack them.
  • When you cut your 2 inch by 4 inch rectangles, be exact!  As they stack into the loaf pan they need to be even so when they rise you have an even top.  Lesson learned.  I had one stack about an inch taller.
  • I will use a larger pan next time.  I really got an amazing raise and I think it is because it was refrigerated overnight.  I’ll use a 10×5 loaf pan next time.
  • I didn’t want a glaze, so I left out the 1 tablespoon of milk in the frosting.  This created a thicker icing that I could pipe on (using a zip top sandwich bag with the corner snipped off).

Lemon Scented Pull Apart Bread

adapted from Lemon-Scented Pull Apart Coffee Cake


For the sweet yeast dough
  • About 2 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (2 1/2 fluid ounces) whole milk (I used soy milk)
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs , at room temperature
For the lemon paste filling
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (1 LARGE lemon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla powder (optional)
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter , melted
For the tangy cream cheese icing
  • 3 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/4 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Make the sweet yeast dough

1. Stir together 2 cups (9 ounces) of the flour, the sugar, the yeast, and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer; set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter over low heat just until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, add the water, and set aside until warm (120 to 130°F), about 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract.

2. Pour the milk mixture over the flour-yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Attach the bowl to the mixer, and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. Stop the mixer, add 1/2 cup of the remaining flour, and resume mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Add 2 more tablespoons flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 45 seconds.

3. Sprinkle a work surface with 1 tablespoon flour and center the dough on the flour. Knead gently until smooth and no longer sticky, about 1 minute, adding an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons flour only if necessary to lessen the stickiness. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover the bowl securely with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place (about 70°F) until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.

4. At this point you can cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  When you are ready to make the bread, remove from fridge and let rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.  Make lemon paste filling while resting.

Make the lemon paste filling

4. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, vanilla powder and lemon zest. Set the sandy-wet mixture nearby.

Make the bread

5. Gently deflate the dough. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 20-by-12-inch rectangle. Using a pastry brush spread the melted butter generously over the dough. Cut the dough crosswise into 5 strips, each about 12 by 4 inches. (A pizza cutter is helpful here.) Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture over one of the buttered rectangles. Top with a second rectangle and sprinkle it with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture. Repeat with the remaining dough rectangles and zest-sugar mixture, ending with a stack of 5 rectangles. Work carefully when adding the crumbly zest filling, or it will fall off when you have to lift the stacked pastry later.

6. Slice the stack crosswise through the 5 layers to create 6 equal strips, each about 4 by 2 inches. Fit these layered strips into the prepared loaf pan, cut edges up and side by side. (While there is plenty of space on either side of the 6 strips widthwise in the pan, fitting the strips lengthwise is tight. But that’s fine because the spaces between the dough and the sides of the pan fill in during baking.) Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place (70 °F) until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for baking.

5. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Or, lightly coat the pan with nonstick spray.

7. Bake the bread until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.  Center of bread should read around 200°F with instant read thermometer.

Make the tangy cream cheese icing

9. In a medium bowl, using a rubber spatula, vigorously mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the lemon juice until the mixture is creamy and smooth.  Place in zip top sandwich bag and cut corner off to use as piping bag.

10. To remove the bread from the pan, tilt and rotate the pan while gently tapping it on a counter to release the cake sides. Invert a wire rack on top of the bread, invert the cake onto the rack, and carefully lift off the pan. Invert another rack on top, invert the cake so it is right side up, and remove the original rack.

11. Slip a sheet of waxed paper under the rack to catch any drips from the icing.  Pipe icing over the top of the loaf.

12. Serve the bread warm or at room temperature. To serve, you can pull apart the layers, or you can cut the cake into 1-inch-thick slices on a slight diagonal with a long, serrated knife. If you decide to cut the cake, don’t attempt to cut it until it is almost completely cool.


Entry filed under: Bread.

1.24.2011 – Multi-grain 100% Whole Wheat {8.11.2011} banana muffins

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. {4.11.2011} Hippity Hop « dahlhouse designs  |  April 11, 2011 at 8:08 am

    […] can read about it on my food blog HERE if you’d like (my baking skills have advanced a little from my pancake days, ha).  I’m […]

  • 2. M & D  |  April 12, 2011 at 7:23 am



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