Coffee N° 5

Food, comfort, warmth and friendship

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Have you ever tasted Heaven? Even just a little slice? Each one of the slices of bread in this picture is a little slice of heaven. All of this is courtesy of Joy the Baker. With our her, this post would not exist. If you love baking (as I do), and you have an RSS or Feed reader (i.e. Google Reader) you need to follow her blog. Conveniently, I have included the link to follow her. It is…HERE! It is definitely worth it. Now, on to my adventures in making slices of heaven in my kitchen.

Although I don’t have that many pictures of my process (something I need to work on), I’ll show you what I’ve got. Let me put this out there first. There is a total of about 2 – 2 1/2 hours of down time when making this between risings and cooling down. The wait is so worth it though.

I would also recommend that you pre-stage all of your ingredients first. To bring your eggs to room temperature, set them out 30 minutes prior to starting. Or if you forgot to take them out, you can put them in a bowl of warm (not hot!) water for 5 – 10 minutes. More information can be found here. Below is the recipe I used. As I mentioned before, this is courtesy of Joy the Baker. The actual page that I pulled this from can be found by clicking on the title of the recipe. I’ve made a couple of notes in blue.

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Makes: one 9×5×3-inch loaf

For the Dough:

2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 ounces unsalted butter

1/3 cup whole milk

1/4 cup water

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned

In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted.  Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract.  Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula.  Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together.  Keep stirring.  

Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes.  The mixture will be sticky.  That’s just right.

Place the dough is a large,  greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  *The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning.  If you’re using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.*

While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling.  Set aside.  Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned.  Set aside.  Grease and flour a 9×5×3-inch  loaf pan.  Set that aside too.

Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.  

On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out.  The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long.  If you can’t get the dough to 20-inches long… that’s okay.  Just roll it as large as the dough will go.  Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough.  Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.  It might seem like a lot of sugar. 

Seriously?  Just go for it.

Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips.  Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again.  You’ll have six stacks of six squares.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book.  Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.  The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw.  A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes (I did not do this. I devoured about 1/2 fresh from the oven).   Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto  a clean board.  Place a cake stand or cake plate on top of the  upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up.  Serve warm with coffee or tea.

I think this bread is best served the day it’s made, but it can also we wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days (if it lasts that long…)

As I have mentioned, this bread is phenomenal! Some of you might think that this a monkey bread. And by definition it is. But I’m a fan of the term Pull-Apart Bread personally. Now go forth and bake!


 – Brent

Thank you to Joy the Baker for the use of her recipe. I would also like to thank Bowling for Soup for their album “Sorry for Partyin'” as it was the official music of this baking experience.



Parker House Rolls

The other day, I made a delicious tray of rolls to go with my late Christmas/New Year dinner (which was fantastic). I’ve made these rolls in the past and they have always been a hit. There are many variations of this recipe out there, but I’m biased and liked this one. Plus I found it in my Food Network Magazine. These rolls were created in Boston’s Parker House Hotel in the late 1800s. Yeah. They’ve been here for a while. This is the same hotel that invented the Boston Cream Pie. I pulled the following from

These feather-light, buttery rolls were a 19th-century staple of the Parker House, a famous Boston hotel — the same hotel that in 1855 created the first Boston Cream Pie, serving both rolls and pie to the likes of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

So what makes a Parker House roll special? Butter. A buttery fold during the shaping process (and butter brushed on after they’re baked) give them over-the-top flavor. An egg, milk, and a fair amount of butter in the dough give them fine and tender texture. All in all, this Boston-based roll is a bread-basket classic.

A note on these rolls. They are heavy and dense. I mean look at how much flour is used. These aren’t your light and fluffy Pillsbury dinner rolls. As I mentioned before, this comes from Food Network and can be found here. I’ve made notes which are denoted in blue.


1 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
7 1/2 to 8 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus softened butter for brushing
2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling


Bloom the yeast.
Measure out 1/2 cup warm water and check the temperature: It should be between 110 degrees F and 120 degrees F (comfortable bathwater temperature).
Sprinkle the yeast into a large bowl, add the warm water and whisk in the sugar.
Let sit 1 minute (it should bubble and froth slightly), then gently stir in 1 cup flour.
Set aside near the stove while you prepare the dough.

Make the dough.
Mix the melted butter and milk in a mixer with the hook attachment on low-speed. I don’t have a stand mixer, but a hand mixer with the hooks works too.
Add the eggs and mix until blended.
Scrape in the yeast mixture and mix until incorporated.
Add 6 1/2 cups flour and 1 tablespoon salt; mix until the dough forms a ball, 2 to 3 minutes, adding up to 1/2 cup more flour if the dough is too wet and sticky.

Let it rise.
Brush a large bowl with softened butter. I recommend an actual basting brush for the butter. I used a silicon brush and it took twice as long.
Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place, 2 hours to 2 hours, 30 minutes.
The dough should double in volume.

Shape the dough.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use the biggest baking sheet you have. I was only able to make 2 rows with the baking sheet that I used. If you don’t have parchment paper, a Silpat works great too.
Dust a clean flat surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it.
Flour your hands; gently press the dough into a 16-by-8-inch rectangle, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick (don’t use a rolling-pin).

Cut the dough.
With the short side in front of you, cut the dough in half lengthwise with a floured knife.
Then slice crosswise into 12 strips.

Shape the dough.
One at a time, fold each strip of dough unevenly in half so the top part slightly overlaps the bottom half, then tuck the overhang underneath.
Place the rolls seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet in 3 tightly packed rows.
(If making in advance, wrap the baking sheet tightly in plastic wrap and freeze up to 3 weeks.)

Bake the rolls.
Bake until the rolls are bursting at the seams and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes.
(If frozen, bake 25 minutes at 325 degrees F, then 10 minutes at 375 degrees F.)
Remove from the oven and brush with softened butter.
Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately. The salt really brings out the flavors. It will still be delicious with out the added salt, but not as delicious.

Keep in mind that this is a fairly long (time wise) recipe. If the air is too cool, your dough will take longer to rise, at the same time, don’t turn on your oven and leave the dough on top. It will literally bake the bread in the bowl. At least it does with my oven. If the dough isn’t rising properly, and the air temp is good, check your yeast. You don’t want to use yeast that’s expired. If you’re like me and buy yeast by the jar, keep it in the fridge. It won’t kill it, and helps preserve it.

If anyone does make this, please let me know how it turned out. Take pictures! Share it! This bread is too good not to share with the world!

– Brent

Baking Soda vs Baking Powder

I’ve kind of always been curious about the difference between baking soda and baking powder. I’ve used both in various recipes, but it was never explained to me why I use one over the other. Thanks to the wonders of Google, I was able to discover an answer fairly quickly. What follows was taken from I feel that they have done a pretty good job of breaking down the two different explanations that I read in explanation:
Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents, which means they are added to baked goods before cooking to produce carbon dioxide and cause them to ‘rise’. Baking powder contains baking soda, but the two substances are used under different conditions.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate. When baking soda is combined with moisture and an acidic ingredient (e.g., yogurt, chocolate, buttermilk, honey), the resulting chemical reaction produces bubbles of carbon dioxide that expand under oven temperatures, causing baked goods to rise. The reaction begins immediately upon mixing the ingredients, so you need to bake recipes which call for baking soda immediately, or else they will fall flat!

Baking Powder

Baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate, but it includes the acidifying agent already (cream of tartar), and also a drying agent (usually starch). Baking powder is available as single-acting baking powder and as double-acting baking powder. Single-acting powders are activated by moisture, so you must bake recipes which include this product immediately after mixing. Double-acting powders react in two phases and can stand for a while before baking. With double-acting powder, some gas is released at room temperature when the powder is added to dough, but the majority of the gas is released after the temperature of the dough increases in the oven.

How Are Recipes Determined?

Some recipes call for baking soda, while others call for baking powder. Which ingredient is used depends on the other ingredients in the recipe. The ultimate goal is to produce a tasty product with a pleasing texture. Baking soda is basic and will yield a bitter taste unless countered by the acidity of another ingredient, such as buttermilk. You’ll find baking soda in cookie recipes. Baking powder contains both an acid and a base and has an overall neutral effect in terms of taste. Recipes that call for baking powder often call for other neutral-tasting ingredients, such as milk. Baking powder is a common ingredient in cakes and biscuits

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