One of Pete’s favorite childhood desserts was “monkey bread,” little balls of bread dough rolled in sugar and cinnamon, layered in a pan, and covered with a sticky caramel. After baking, it’s turned out like a pineapple upside down cake — a kind of inside out sticky bun with a lot more sticky than bun. Served hot out of the oven, steaming bits of bread are pinched off and devoured.
This Pumpkin Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread is a (slightly) more grown up and sophisticated version. The addition of pumpkin makes the dough incredibly tender and helps you feel like you’re eating something nutritious. In fact, we were able to use all whole wheat, (with the exception of 1 cup), because of the pumpkin’s moisture.
What says fall like pumpkin and cinnamon?
PUMPKIN CINNAMON PULL APART BREAD
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 1 1/2 T instant yeast
- 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 5-6 c flour (white whole wheat and unbleached)
- 1 c milk
- 4 T butter
- 1 1/2 c pumpkin puree* (or 15-ounce can)
- 2/3 c packed light brown sugar
- 2/3 c granulated sugar
- 1 T ground cinnamon
- 3/4 t fresh ground nutmeg
- 4 T butter, melted
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or if you’re hand kneading, just a large bowl — or pot, if you’re like my mom), combine the salt, yeast, sugar and 4 cups of the flour.
In a small saucepan, warm the milk and butter until the butter is just melted and the mixture is warm to the touch. If it feels too hot, let it cool until it is at warm room temperature.
Gradually incorporate the milk/butter mixture and pumpkin into the flour. Continue mixing, adding additional flour as necessary, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It should still be slightly sticky.
Knead the dough until smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a large, lightly greased bowl and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, (about an hour, depending on the temperature in your kitchen).
While the dough is rising, make the filling by combining the sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Set aside.
When the dough has doubled in size, lightly punch down and divide into two pieces. Cover and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
Lightly coat two 8 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ bread pans with oil.
Roll out one of the pieces on a lightly floured countertop to about 20-inches by 12-inches. Brush the dough with 2 T butter and spread half of the filling mixture evenly over the top, lightly pressing it into the buttered dough.
Cut the dough into 6 long strips (each strip should be about 2″ x 20″). Stack the strips like a layered cake.
Cut the stack crosswise into 6 even sections. Lay each section on its side in the bread pan (so you can see the layers from the top). Pressing them up against each other so they all fit into the pan.
Repeat with the remaining half of dough and filling ingredients.
Cover the pans with lightly greased plastic wrap and let the bread double in size until very puffy (about an hour).
Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30-40 minutes, until the bread is browned and cooked through.
Remove pans from the oven. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then loosen the edges with a knife and turn the bread out onto a cooling rack set over a piece of parchment or wax paper. I probably don’t need to tell you to pinch off pieces of warm bread and eat.
Apparently it can be microwaved to reheat. We wrap loosely in foil and reheat in the toaster — if there’s any left.
*if you make your own pumpkin puree, squeeze out excess liquid before pureeing
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe recipe. Check out Mel’s step by step photos for rolling the dough. She also uses a vanilla glaze, which we omitted. I thought this was sweet enough without it.