I booked-marked a recipe for lemon pull-apart bread over two years ago, and I’ve been dreaming of it ever since. Why didn’t I make it sooner? One word: yeast . . . and another word: laziness. Yeah, yeast intimidates me (which I’m finding out isn’t so uncommon). But then last week, fate struck: Anna sent me the exact same recipe for pull-apart bread, saying she couldn’t wait to try it! Choosing to see this as a sign, I decided it was time to man up.
We decided to make orange pull-apart bread, rather than lemon, as our take on orange rolls. (Possibly our best idea ever!?) This bread was every bit as delicious as I dreamed it would be. The best part? It’s not nearly as difficult to make as I anticipated. The dough comes together easily, so if you’re looking to conquer your yeast phobia too, this orange roll pull-apart bread is the perfect place to start!
2 1/2 c flour, divided, plus additional for kneading
1/4 c sugar
2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbls milk
4 Tlbs butter
1/4 c water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, room temp
Orange Paste Filling
1/2 c sugar
4 Tbls orange zest, from 2-3 oranges
4 Tbls margarine, softened
2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbls butter, softened
1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 Tbls orange juice
1 tsp milk, or more as needed
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, the yeast and the salt. Set aside.
Put 4 tablespoons of the butter and all of the milk in a small bowl. Microwave, stirring occasionally, just until the butter melts. Allow to cool about 1 minute, then add the water and vanilla.
Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and, using a spatula or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir until evenly combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring until fully incorporated before continuing. If using a stand mixer, replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour and mix until smooth. If the dough seems to sticky, add 2-3 more tablespoons of flour. Knead until smooth, about 5-10 minutes in a mixer or by hand on a well-floured surface.
Place the kneaded dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. In the meantime, grease a standard-size bread pan and prepare the orange paste filling by mixing the sugar and orange zest until damp.
After the dough has risen, roll it out on a well-floured surface into a 20 x 12 inch rectangle. Spread the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over the entire surface, then evenly sprinkle over the orange paste filling, pressing gently to adhere. Cut the dough into five 4 x 12 inch strips, then stack them all on top of each other so that you have alternating layers of dough and filling. Cut the stack into six smaller 2 X 4 inch pieces. Take the cut stacks and place them in the prepared bread pan with the just-cut 4-inch sides facing up. Use your fingers or a butter knife to fan out the layers a little, if necessary.
Cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap and set aside to double in bulk, about one hour. While you are waiting, preheat the oven to 350F.
Bake the loaf for 25-33 minutes until the top is golden brown. (If top browns too quickly, cover it loosely with foil while it finishes baking.) While the bread is baking, prepare the frosting by creaming the cream cheese and butter together, then slowly adding in the powdered sugar, and finally adding the juice and milk.
Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and allow to cool completely. Drizzle with frosting and devour!