I'm coming to terms with the fact that kneading is just not my thing. I think I get the hang out if it, and the next thing you know my hands (and entire kitchen for that matter) are covered in sticky dough and flour. So, as you can imagine, it frustrates me that most of the best foods in life require this skill. I have yet to figure out the extent to which a dough hook can work for kneading. Anyone know?

But oh...this bread. It looked so incredible I had to give it a try. After making this four times I finally got the hang of kneading. The dough failed before I even got to roll it out the first time, the next two I finished but weren't quite perfect, and the last one was great. This recipe only has one minute of kneading, so I realize a 25 percent success rate is somewhat pathetic. Oh well. None of mine rose as much as the bread on 'Top with Cinnamon' where I got the recipe from, but it's so darn amazing I don't even mind. First of all, pull apart bread is fun. Everyone loves fun food. Secondly, every piece is like the inside of a cinnamon roll. Sometimes I feel like the outside of cinnamon rolls are wasted bites. I just want the inside, and I'm trying to quickly get the other part over with. Other examples of this: pecan pinwheels, grilled cheese sandwiches, pop tarts. It's amazing the extent to which I analyze food.

It seems like there are many steps to this recipe, and don't get me wrong, there are. However, if you aren't a terrible kneader like myself, this recipe is relatively simple and made from things you probably already have on hand. By the third loaf I felt like a pro! Enjoy!

Cinnamon Roll Pull Apart Bread
Recipe from Top With Cinnamon
and Inspired by Joy the Baker's Cinnamon-Sugar Pull apart bread

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp dried active yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cornstarch

1/4 cup butter, melted

For the Glaze
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
hot water

**I found the pictures of the process extremely helpful, but unfortunately I made this at night all three times, so phone pictures will have to do for now!

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attached, place the cornstarch, sugar, yeast, salt and 2 cups of flour.

Heat the milk and butter together in a small saucepan until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and add the water. Let this cool for about a minute, then add the vanilla, and pour all the liquid into the bowl with the flour. Stir this all together until all the dry ingredients are moistened.

Start the mixer on a low speed as you add the eggs one at a time until they're just incorporated. Stop the mixer and add 1/2 cup more flour to the bowl. Mix again at low speed for about half a minute. Add 2 more tbsp of flour and mix in on medium speed until you get a smooth, slightly sticky dough (about 45 seconds).

On a work surface sprinkled with 2 tbsp of flour, knead the dough until it's not sticky (about 1 minute). Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl and cover it with cling film. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place until it's doubled in size which should take about an hour.

While the dough rises, make the filling by combining the dark brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch in a small bowl.

Once the dough is ready, lightly flour your work surface and gently tip the dough onto it, sprinkling a little more flour on top of the dough. Roll the dough out into roughly a 40 x 40 cm square, then brush about 2/3 of the butter over the entire surface of the dough.

Sprinkle 3/4 of the filling mixture evenly on top of the butter on the dough, then roll the dough tightly into a log.

Place the log horizontally on your work surface. Take a piece of thread and place it vertically on your work surface. With the thread still vertical, place one end of the log on top of the middle of the thread. Move the thread to the left or right, so it is still under the dough, and is 1 cm in from the end of the log. Take the ends of the thread and hold them above the log. Cross them over each other once and pull them away from each other until the thread has cut through the dough completely.
**This description confused me. You are basically tying a knot over the dough and pulling it tight until it cuts through. Then you tie another knot...and another. Repeat until you've cut all the dough into 1 cm thick slices.


On a piece of baking paper, use a rolling pin to flatten each slice to 3-4 mm thick *** I used the lazy method which I like to call steam rolling. Flattened them all at once! Brush the top of each flattened slice with a little of the remaining melted butter, ans sprinkle on about 3/4 tsp of filling mixture. Place them on top of each other so you have 4-5 stacks each containing about 5 slices.

Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place your stacks of dough into the greased loaf pan, cover loosely with clingfilm, and leave to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes (I preheat the oven for a few minutes, turn it off, and then put the bowl in there with the door cracked..pictures show my before and after).

Bake the bread for 25-35 minutes when it should be golden brown on top. Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Meanwhile make the glaze by stirring the vanilla then the hot water, a little at a time into the powdered sugar in a small bowl until you get a slightly runny icing.

Run a butter knife around the edge of the pan and gently tip the loaf out onto the wire rack. Put the bread the right way round again and then brush with the glaze.


amycaseycooks said... @ January 19, 2012 at 6:09 PM

I will be making this delicious looking bread this weekend. Thanks for posting the recipe.

Sarah said... @ January 19, 2012 at 7:07 PM

Thanks for the comment! I hope you love it -- I have a pretty good feeling you will!

Brant Holland said... @ January 19, 2012 at 11:25 PM

I've never seen this method of assembly. It looks like its loaded with flavor. I'll give it a shot.

Jen@FIRR-Kids! said... @ January 20, 2012 at 1:03 PM

I thought this was going to be easier than making cinnamon rolls, but it actually looks like there is an additional step.

The bread hook does the kneading for you. If you have a hook, definitely use it!

Sarah said... @ January 20, 2012 at 6:35 PM

I hadn't either, and at first I was a bit skeptical because of the added work, but it definitely pays off!

Sarah said... @ January 20, 2012 at 6:38 PM

Unfortunately it's not quite as quick as most cinnamon rolls I've made, but once you get the hang of the process the whole thing isn't difficult at all! And thanks for the tip about the bread hook, maybe I'll try using that for these next time!

Kerryn said... @ January 25, 2012 at 1:00 AM

This is the first post of your blog that I have read. I have a feeling that reading you will be bad for my hips.... But I'm going to anyway.

Anonymous said... @ January 30, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Why not use a bread machine as it kneads the dough and you form the cinnamon rolls and bake them as shown in a loaf pan to pull apart. Just an idea if you don't want to deal with the kneading.

www.bakefest.blogspot.com said... @ February 2, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Wow that looks amazing!!

Natural-Nesters said... @ February 8, 2012 at 6:40 PM

OH my goodness.. this looks soo amazing! We are having our first ever link party.. will you link this up??

Anonymous said... @ March 10, 2012 at 1:50 PM

I'm a cooking newbie so please forgive me if this is a silly question. But why do you use thread to cut and not just a knife?

Sarah said... @ March 10, 2012 at 2:27 PM

That's not a bad question at all! This was actually the first time I've ever used this technique, but it works perfectly. When using a knife you're likely to smush the dough and mess up the pretty pinwheel shape. The thread is so thin that it allows you to slice through without having to saw at it. I used unflavored dental floss, which seems kind of gross, but it does the trick!

Anonymous said... @ September 13, 2012 at 7:02 PM

I teach high school culinary arts. I use the bread machine at home for many of my doughs-cinnamon rolls, pizza, and even breads. The unflavored dental floss works so slick and the kids have fun cutting the rolls.

Lilly said... @ September 19, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Yummy! It looks so good!

Shiloh Barkley said... @ September 20, 2012 at 10:34 PM

Wow!! Looks great!M gonna make.


mayra_ferrusca said... @ September 21, 2012 at 12:09 AM

I can't wait to try this!! I'm new at baking so I have a little question, when you say you preheat the oven for a few minutes, turn it off, and then put the bowl in there with the door cracked) do you mean the pan with the cinnamon rolls? Like you leave them in the warm oven then wait till the dough rises and then turn on the oven again and then bake them?

Sarah said... @ September 21, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Thanks, Mayra! Yes, you will preheat the oven for a few minutes and then turn it off completely and crack the door. This is just to provide an ideal environment for the dough to rise (it's not essential). When it rises, you will take it out and then preheat it again before placing the pan back in for the baking part.

Sarah said... @ September 21, 2012 at 9:51 AM

I would love to get a bread machine one of these days, maybe I'll put that on my list of future purchases!

Peque-lu y sus Cositas said... @ September 21, 2012 at 6:29 PM

Tiene un aspecto maravilloso. Probaremos a hacerlo. Un Beso. "El Sueño de Peque-le".

mayra_ferrusca said... @ September 22, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Alrighty that helped a lot! Thanks! :D

Kelly M said... @ September 22, 2012 at 9:59 PM

They are baking in the oven right now and looks delish! Can't wait to try them!

Jonathan & Aubrey said... @ September 23, 2012 at 11:26 PM

How much hot water are you supposed to use when making the glaze?

Jan C. said... @ October 3, 2012 at 4:52 PM

This looks pretty awesome. Check this recipe out, though. I think you may like it better, as it is a bit less complicated. I've been making it for 35 years (gulp!), and I get tasty results every time. My kids (I have 5), seem to think it is a top notch recipe. In fact, I think it may end up being my legacy! http://janconnair.wordpress.com/ribbon-loaf-recipe/

Mel said... @ November 19, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Yum! I've had this on Pinterest for a while, but I'm planning to make this tomorrow. Any suggestions if I don't have cornstarch?

Jennifer Kreisler said... @ December 23, 2012 at 10:48 PM

This looks amazing --must try very very soon!

Anonymous said... @ December 30, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Hi do you have to have a mixing bowl to do this recipe or could I just do it the old fashioned way?

Sarah said... @ January 2, 2013 at 3:12 PM

I'm not sure whether the mixing bowl is necessary. My guess would be that if you have experience making homemade yeast dough without a stand mixer you could use your hand mixer, but I probably wouldn't recommend that method if it's a new area for you.

Anonymous said... @ January 3, 2013 at 2:32 PM

I have been looking for a great pull apart cinnamon bun recipe for ages. This was awesome! I made the dough in my breadmaker: Used warm water and warm milk, slightly melted butter and then added in everything else... I only used 2 tsp of yeast because my machine seems a bit fussy with that sort of thing, but the dough turned out perfectly. Instead of the icing on top I saved the left over butter and sugar mixture and just loaded it on top and then baked it... YUMM!!

Leah said... @ January 5, 2013 at 7:59 PM

This was amazing, but the inside was completely raw when I took it out. Boo! I put it back in with tinfoil on the top for another 10 minutes and that helped. Anyone else have this problem?

m0mmy1225 said... @ January 25, 2013 at 9:20 PM

hooks is also for mixing heavy doughs.saves on your hands froms hand mixing.dough to heavy to mix with a mixer.

Anonymous said... @ February 6, 2013 at 10:51 PM

I have had the problem too of it being raw inside. I tried baking it on a lower heat for long but it still was raw and the top was still getting dark so i covered it with foil. its baking now so we will see how it turns out!

Anonymous said... @ March 11, 2013 at 9:45 AM

This is my favorite recipe! I've made it three times and am about to use it a fourth time for a school project. However, I do substitute you're icing for a cream cheese frosting recipe! The whole thing is delicious.

Anonymous said... @ March 12, 2013 at 9:21 AM

We just made this cake with my sister, it was so much fun and it is sooooo delicious, thank you for sharing it, it will be a regular in our family:)

Anonymous said... @ March 15, 2013 at 5:39 PM

I've made this before and its amazing

Unknown said... @ April 16, 2013 at 12:29 PM

gotta try this next weekend!..yum...my family is gonna love it..thanks so much for sharing...i made a honeybee sweet roll from bridgeford.com on easter that was also delicious..the honey made us seem like we were being healthier..haha

abarber2563 said... @ April 24, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Do you have to use a stand mixer, is it absolutely nessesary or can I use a normal electric mixer. Please let me know if there's another way to approch this!? Thanks

Anonymous said... @ May 16, 2013 at 3:28 PM

I had the same problem with the middle being liquid - but covering the loaf with tinfoil and cooking for another 10 minutes fixed the problem and it tastes wonderful!

MelissaDaams said... @ June 20, 2013 at 6:41 AM

i'm a lazy cook... i made the dough in the bread maker. it was quite soft dough, so i could see why you had trouble with it... i sprinkled quite a lot of flour on it to work with it - it was sticky! And like i said because i'm a lazy cook, i just used a serrated knife to cut it as thinly as possible and then I just flopped the whole thing into my pan - i used a bundt cake pan - cause it think circular pull apart bread is nice. I can't wait to taste it

Anonymous said... @ June 30, 2013 at 10:25 PM

I had to smile at your problems with your bread dough. I had similar problems until I discovered frozen bread dough at the grocery store. Let a loaf thaw and then go on with your rolling, filling, etc. Perfect dough every time.

Barb said... @ December 19, 2014 at 9:13 AM

My husband is a cinnamon junkie! I'd like to try this on Christmas morning for him. About how long do you think the whole process is? or can I make this ahead of time and then reheat and glaze somehow?

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