Monday, September 16, 2019

The BBB go Wild with Pull Apart Bread

Pull apart bread, aside from being a fun and impressive looking tear and share, is quite versatile because you can choose any filling you desire, sweet or savory!  I had many options in mind, but the final decision when the question was posed to my eldest was an unequivocal vote for savory.  Our recipe this month was a sourdough recipe, but there are plenty of commercial yeast recipes out there as well.  As it happens, I ended up having to do a combination of sourdough and a tiny bit of yeast because an emergency involving bee stings postponed my baking plans and I ended up doing a last minute bake last night.  So my recipe differs slightly from the original source, but we babes tend to forge our own paths every time anyway.  I know at least one Babe only had the chance to bake with regular yeast this month.  It's all good.  Bread just wants to be bread.

I do love how my dough turned out, it felt lovely and was easy to work with, so I would definitely do it this way again.  And I am quite happy with our choice of filling.  Caramelized onions make the house smell delicious.  Terrible having to wait for the light of day to break into this loaf after taking pictures, because it was just begging to be devoured instantly.  So many flavors of recipes for pull apart bread I have pinned to try...  Apple fritter, pumpkin maple pecan, baklava, pumpkin caramel, lemon citrus, caramel pecan, apple cinnamon streusel, cinnamon and apple... are we seeing a sweet trend here?

We would love for you to try out this recipe and join in as a buddy baker this month!  The filling is completely up to your imagination.  You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished loaf to blog from OUR kitchen by the 29th of this month. Be sure to put BBBuddy in the subject line. You will receive a Bread Baking Buddy graphic to keep or add to your post, and be included in our Buddy round up at the end of the month. New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

Here is the recipe as I made it, see our host kitchen for the original.  This version turned out a beautifully soft loaf of 30 layers, packed with fantastic flavor.  And after someone in the Facebook group mentioned spreading a little butter on it, yes, I have to wholeheartedly endorse that suggestion.  A little butter on a warm piece of this bread is totally amazing.

Semi-wild Pull Apart Bread
makes 1 loaf

300g strong flour (I used 75g fresh ground semi-pearled farro and 225g all purpose)
50g 100% hydration sourdough starter (to be honest, mine hadn't been fed in well over a week)
160g water
¼ tsp instant yeast (Increase to 1 or up to 1½ tsp if using only yeast)
¾ tsp sugar
¾ tsp sea salt
25g olive oil

My filling:
1 red onion, quartered and sliced
1 tbsp butter
pinch sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
50g cream cheese, softened
40g butter, softened
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp chopped chives
½ tbsp dried parsley (or 2 tbsp fresh)
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp poppy seeds (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine flour, starter, yeast, sugar, oil, and 150g of the water in a stand mixer and knead until a dough forms.  Let rest for 5 minutes, then knead again for 5 minutes.  Mix remaining 10g water with the salt, and add to dough.  Knead until a smooth elastic dough forms.  Cover and let rise until doubled, around 2-3 hours depending on the strength of the starter and temperature of the room.  Add in a fold or two during this time if desired.

While the dough is rising, make your filling.  Caramelize the onions with the tbsp of butter and pinch of sugar, 20-30 minutes over medium low heat, stirring occasionally.  Add in the garlic when the onions are just about done, and cook for another minute or so.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Combine onions and remaining filling ingredients in a bowl until well mixed.  Cover and set aside until dough is ready.

Turn out dough onto a well floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle, about 12x20inches.  Gently spread the dough with the filling of choice.

 Cut lengthwise into three long strips and lay the strips on top of each other.

Cut that stack in half width-wise and stack again.  Cut this final stack into five portions.  Line an 8x4" baking tin with parchment paper and lay the stacked pieces cut sides up in the pan.  Try to separate the edges somewhat, or the layers will be less easy to pull apart after baking.  You can also simply cut and stack individual squares in the pan.

(The dough should not be packed tightly or it may not bake well.  If there are too many pieces to fit, roll them into a circle and bake in a muffin tin.)  Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, 45-60 minutes.

Bake at 375ºF for 35-45 minutes.  I tented my loaf lightly with foil for the first ten minutes, then tented just the ends which were rising much faster than the middle, for the next ten minutes.  At 30 minutes, I lowered the temperature to 350ºF and continued baking in 5 minute increments for a final time of 45 minutes, when the loaf was golden brown and perfectly done in the middle, registering 205ºF on a thermometer stuck between one of the leaves.

Allow the bread to cool for at least 30 minutes before breaking into it.  The loaf may be wrapped in foil and reheated to serve warm.

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

Approximate nutrition for 2 pieces (leaves/layers) of this bread:


  1. Bread just wants to be bread! Oh how very true Kelly. And you baked a beautiful tear and share pull apart! I love the caramelized onion and the gorgeous red color you got with it! There is a reason they’re called classic flavors.
    I trust the bee sting issues are safely resolved now. Children do keep things interesting.

  2. Yep, those rotten, nasty yellow jackets! It was rather scary at the time, a friend of my daughter's who had been stung before and not reacted, but got multiple stings back by the park and ended up with a strong allergic reaction. Not anaphylactic, but still strong. Never know when a sting might affect someone!

  3. Ow! Ow! Ow! Stings are no fun! Especially from yellow jackets. I hope the swelling has subsided now and that the pain is gone.

    Your bread looks perfect! It's how I wanted mine to turn out: lofty, soft, nicely golden. And that filling sounds fabulous!


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