Pull-apart sugar cinnamon and apple bread

This bread has power over people. You see it. You need it. The sugary goodness stays with you long after you’ve left the page.

Pull-apart cinnamon and apple bread

We have a tradition in my little house (er, flat) of having breakfast together once a week before we run out to our separate lives. This often equates to my boyfriend just making breakfast for me. I’m actually pretty good in the morning… once I get out of bed. And I’m terrible at that.

After a few weeks of not contributing at all to these breakfasts I was wondering if I could completely make this bread the night before, and then just get up half an hour early and pop it in the oven.

This breaks all kind of bread making rules. Usually if you’re going to pause bread making you stop after the first rise. But I made the whole lot and then just stuck it in the fridge overnight. And it worked. The proof is in the pictures.

Yay for cheating!

Most of the instruction and recipe below is adapted from Joy the baker. I have just added in my tweaks and the imperial to metric conversions, so full credit to her.

So let’s do this.

First step is to make the dough as per instruction below, with all the necessary kneading and waiting for it to rise.

Then you roll it out flat, 30 cm (12-inches) wide and about 50 cm (20-inches) long.

1. Roll our your dough

Cover it with your browned butter and all that sugary cinnamon goodness. All of it.

2. Cover with butter and sugar cinnamon mix

Then slice the dough, vertically, into six long strips.

Start with one strip and put your thinly sliced apple on it.

Then put a strip on top. More apple. Strip. Apple. Strip. Apple. Until it’s all done!

Cut up, put on apple slices, and stack up

Slice up your stack again about the same size as your loaf pan, about six pieces.

Then you carefully put the stacked dough into the greased and floured 20x 12 cm (9×5-inch) loaf pan.

I ended up having to put some on the side as well. Math was never my strong point. The aim is to have them the same width as your pan.

Then you let it rise again in a warm place to let the yeast do its thing.

Place in your bread tin

After it had increased in size, I wrapped it up tight in cling film, and stuck it in the fridge.

Then, at 6am I tore myself out of bed and placed it in the oven for 30 minutes. The smell was unbelievable.

I carefully took the bread out of the pan while still warm. It sunk and oozed just a bit, but it was so delicious warm. Incredible. Warm pull-apart yeasty sugar dough. I don’t know what other words you want me to say.

Cinnamon sugar and apple pull-apart bread

Makes: one 20x12x7-cm (9x5x3-inch) loaf


For the dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
50 grams (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
50 grams (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted until browned
1 green apple, peeled and sliced thinly

Note from original recipe, (and I did this too as I very much wanted the yeast to activate considering I’d be putting it in the fridge overnight): This is the original recipe I tested and use. Some bakers have found that the dough doesn’t rise, because the yeast is not first activated in warm water. As a fail-safe, feel free to activate your yeast first. To activate yeast, whisk yeast into 3 tablespoons of warm water. The water should be between 40 and 45 degrees C (105 and 115 degrees F). Add a pinch of granulated sugar and allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is foamy and frothy. Your yeast is ready to go! If the mixture does not foam and froth, toss the yeast and try again with another package of yeast. Add the activated yeast when you combine the wet and dry ingredients.


  1. In a large mixing bowl (I just used the bowl of my stand mixer) whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together eggs and set aside.
  3. 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 46 to 51 degrees C (115 to 125 degrees F).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 20x12x7-cm (9x5x3-inch) loaf pan. Set that aside too.
  7. 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 30 cm (12-inches) tall and about 50 cm (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.
  8. Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another, putting your apple slices in between each layer, 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. This is the point I wrapped it in cling film, and placed it in the over overnight.
  9. Place a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 180 C (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 centre may still be raw. A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the centre is cooked as well.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. 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.

Storage: 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. I also froze some to take to work, which was lovely.

20 comments on “Cinnamon sugar and apple pull-apart bread”

  1. Heaven. Just heaven on earth. I can’t wait to give this a try and it’s so great to know that we can cheat and put it in the fridge the night before. That makes it much more do-able. Why are your hands red?!!! Morph suit? Red gloves? Fun Red Halloween style lighting effects? Must know! 🙂

    • Ah, you see, these photos were taken at night time in crappy artificial light. To make them look half decent I put some filters over the top of them to make it look all golden-y. The kick on effect is red hands 🙂 hehe. Maybe I should of just said it was for halloween 🙂

  2. Oooh, this sounds great! I’ve never made pull-apart bread but every time I see pictures of it I want to. Yours came out great…nothing wrong with being able to pull it from the front OR sides 😉

  3. I love your rolling pin Aimee! And I’m so with you – I’m good after I get out of bed. It’s just that getting out bed part. Thankfully Mike is a great morning person. I think it’s one of the reasons our marriage works so well. 😉 As for this bread – I’m all for cheating when it comes to bread making and there’s no way I could resist this.

    • My boyfriend is also great at getting out of bed – it’s good if us non-morning people pair up with morning people I think 🙂 The rolling pin is a god sent, the tapered out ends make it 10 times easier!

Comments are lovely