I remember when I first fell in love with baking bread. It was 4 years ago, I was on holiday in Skiathos and obsessing over The Great British Bake Off which had just started airing. Until then I had never baked anything with yeast in it. How times change!
Four years, a food blog and four seasons of #GBBO later, I find myself in Skiathos again, baking in 38 °C heat. I decided to make a version of Pinch of Yum's Cinnamon Roll Pull Apart Bread – a recipe I pinned back in January. I had scribbled the recipe and my notes on a piece of paper but forgot to include the eggs and only discovered this two minutes before baking. Somehow my version works perfectly well without the eggs. This is a breakfast type bread – sweet but not overwhelmingly so, incredibly soft and perfect for sharing.
If you wish to make a cinnamon version use 4-8 tbsp sugar mixed with 1-2 tbsp cinnamon to fill. Replace the orange juice with evaporated (or whole) milk in the glaze and add 1/4 tsp vanilla extract.
Makes 2 medium loaves
500g | 4 cups strong bread flour (plus more for dusting and rolling)
300ml | 1 1/4 cups milk
150g | 3/4 cup sugar
75g | 2/3 stick unsalted butter
2 tsp fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp mahleb (optional)
Egg wash: 1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tbsp milk to glaze
To fill (divided between 2 loaves)
4 tbsp butter, softened
4-8 tbsp sugar (or as needed)
Zest of 2 oranges
1/2 tsp ground anise
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
To glaze (divided between 2 loaves)
10 tbsp icing (powdered) sugar
1-2 tbsp fresh orange juice
Pinch ground anise
1. Put the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, ground cardamom and mahleb (if using) in a large bowl.
2. Heat the milk and butter until butter melts. Cool until tepid before using.
3. Pour the milk/butter into the flour and mix together using a spoon until you have a loose dough.
4. Tip the dough onto a floured worktop and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is shiny, elastic and passes the windowpane test.
5. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let it rise until doubled – up to two hours.
To make in a stand mixer follow same method but knead using dough hook on low speed for 5-7 minutes.
6. Tip the dough on a lightly floured worktop and knock back. Divide into two sections.
7. Roll the dough out to form a rectangle. Spread with 2 tbsp butter (or less, as needed) using your fingers. Dust with the sugar (sparingly), ground anise and cardamom and sprinkle over with orange zest.
8. Roll from the long side as you would a swiss roll. Transfer on to a large tray lined with baking paper.
9. Use large kitchen scissors to make deep cuts along the roll. Pull sections of the bread out on alternate sides. Repeat with remaining dough. Let the loaves rise for about 30 minutes, loosely covered.
10. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Brush the loaves with egg wash.
11. Bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through if needed, until the loaves are golden. Cool on a wire rack.
12. Make the glaze by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl. If the glaze is too thin add more icing sugar until you have thick but pourable consistency. Drizzle over the loaves and serve.